Illustrating Empire tells the history of the British Empire through the ephemeral images used to promote, record, and celebrate its development. The narrative is told through more than 200 striking and original images accompanied by illuminating story captions which unlock the history and meaning behind the illustrations.
Following a general introduction which provides an overarching discussion of Empire and its many facets, the book is structured around eight major themes associated with the British Empire and Britain's encounter with non-Europeans: emigration and settlement; imperial authority; exploration and knowledge; trade and commerce; travel and communications; popular culture; exhibitions and jubilees; and politics. Each chapter opens with an introduction which sets the overall context for the visual narrative to follow.
The book examines the significance of a range of media in purveying ideas about empire and the non-European world. It also provides a clear summary of scholarly debates regarding the significance of empire in terms of British culture. This book represents a significant contribution to the literature on culture and empire, and will be an engaging and useful source for scholars as well as students and general readers.
Ashley Jackson is Professor of Imperial and Military History at King's College London and the author of numerous articles and five books on British imperial history. David Tomkins is Project Manager of the JISC-funded projects Mapping Crime beyond the John Johnson Collection and Electronic Ephemera: digitised selections from the John Johnson Collection, both based at the Bodleian Library, Oxford.