Saturday, 23 November 2013
Here we go...
This then is the promised news:
Following the showing of the segment on the Antiques Roadshow regarding the Keef family collection of figures and revealing a previously unknown chapter in the history of early wargaming, I have been working with the family on a transcription of the Journal The History of the Army of George 1 which describes the campaigns and battles fought between 1873 and 1894.
Originally this had been with the intention of possibly serialising the Journal here on Vintage Wargaming, but on reflection and with the approval of the family it seemed it deserved a web presence all of its own. This is really a web site using blogger as a platform, rather than a traditional blog, and it remains to be seen to what extent it will be added to in the future. I would hope some further historical notes on the collection itself and more photographs of some of the figures as they are today will be added over time.
The campaigns and battles in the Journal are profusely illustrated with maps and plans.These have been reproduced within the posts on the blog. However, as the Journal is foolscap in size it is not easy to scan on a standard A4 scanner, and I have been working from photographs of pages rather than scans, so these are not as well defined as I perhaps would like. Over time it is hoped that these pictures can be replaced with higher resolution scans, but they are included as they are to provide visual interest and illustration.
As Graham Lay, the expert on the Antiques Roadshow, pointed out the importance of the collection is that it substantially predates what is generally thought of as the first documented example of wargaming with figures, the Lloyd Osbourne article "Stevenson at Play" in Scribners Magazine of 1898, describing Robert Louis Stevenson's wargames.
Additionally, it is remarkable not only the extent to which it is documented, but the extent to which this documentation, along with the collection, has survived, thanks to a family which never threw anything away. In addition to the Journal there are a number of other sources of information including the letters home of George Keef while overseas on military service, and notes written by other members of the family.
The full text of the Journal is now available in a series of posts on the new blog, The History of Georland (click to follow the link). Visit it, bookmark it, comment on it, and keep an eye on it to see if further material of interest is added in the future.
I would particularly like to thank the Keef family for their willingness to make all this material available to a wider audience and the considerable trouble they have taken to make this possible.