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Elinor Glyn

Date made: 1917

Description: A glazed and framed watercolour portrait miniature of Elinor Glyn painted by William M. Hantschel, P.o.W. no. 10,897 of Camp 3, Compound 1, Knockaloe Aliens Camp, April 1917. The portrait is a copy of a famous portrait of Elinor Glyn, society beauty of the Edwardian period and Hollywood writer of the 1920s, by the artist Philip Alexius De Laszlo.

The closest match on the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) database would appear to be William Moritz Hentschel [sic] who also appears on the 1911 Census: occupation photograveur/retoucher, born Germany, living at 26 Hawthorn Rod, Willesden Green, London. His ICRC bureau number was 36749. Interned first at Stafford.

During the First World War (1914-1918) the Isle of Man was used as an internment base for civilian ‘enemy aliens’. They were held in two camps, a requisitioned holiday camp in Douglas and a purpose built camp located at Knockaloe near Peel on the west coast of the Island. These held at their peaks over 4,000 and 23,000 men in some cases for nearly five years between opening in 1914 and final closure in 1919. Over 30,000 men passed through Knockaloe between 1914 and 1917, more than the population of Douglas. Other historic names referring to the camp include Knockaloe P.O.W. Camp, Knockaloe Prisoner of War Camp and Knockaloe Alien Detention Camp. The confinement of the prisoners led to specific behavioural issues known as ‘barbed wire disease’. Receiving its name from the aimless promenading of inmates up and down the barbed-wire boundary, other symptoms included moroseness and avoidance of others. It was decided that providing practical stimulation would help. The Friends’ Emergency Committee (a Quaker organisation) based in Great Britain was invited to the Island from 1915 onwards with the aim of providing books, tools, equipment and materials for the inmates to work and establish workshops.

Measurements: artwork: 10.3 cm x 8 cm; overall: 14 cm x 10.3 cm x .5 cm

Materials: glass, paper, wood

Object name: portrait miniature

Collection: Art Collection

ID number: 2008-0080



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