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The Walton Collection

Roger Casement - 1916 Lithograph drawn on stone from life (Limited Edition)

Roger Casement - 1916 Lithograph drawn on stone from life (Limited Edition)

Exceptionally rare  limited edition reproduction of a Roger Casement original  lithograph (itself a 350 limited edition) drawn on stone from life in 1916 by Professor L Fanto and signed by the printer and collector Colm O'Lochlainn.

Roger Casement , Irish: Ruairí Dáithí Mac Easmainn (1 September 1864 – 3 August 1916), known as Sir Roger Casement, CMG, between 1911 and 1916, was a diplomat and Irish nationalist executed by the United Kingdom for high treason, for his involvement leading up to the 1916 Rising, during World War I. He worked for the British Foreign Office as a diplomat, becoming known as a humanitarian activist, and later as a poet and Easter Rising leader. Described as the "father of twentieth-century human rights investigations", he was honoured in 1905 for the Casement Report on the Congo and knighted in 1911 for his important investigations of human rights abuses in the rubber industry in Peru.

Casement was born in Dublin to an Anglo-Irish family, and lived in very early childhood at Doyle's Cottage, Lawson Terrace, Sandycove, a terrace that no longer exists, but that was on Sandycove Road between what is now Fitzgerald's pub and The Butler's Pantry delicatessen. His father, Captain Roger Casement of the (King's Own) Regiment of Dragoons, was the son of Hugh Casement, a Belfast shipping merchant who went bankrupt and later moved to Australia. Captain Casement had served in the 1842 Afghan campaign. He travelled to Europe to fight as a volunteer in the Hungarian Revolution of 1848 but arrived after the Surrender at Világos. After the family moved to England, Roger's mother, Anne Jephson (or Jepson), of a Dublin Anglican family, purportedly had him secretly baptised at the age of three as a Roman Catholic in Rhyl, Wales. However, the priest who arranged his baptism in 1916 clearly stated that the claimed earlier baptism had been in Aberystwyth, 80 miles from Rhyl, raising the question as to why such a supposedly important event should also become so misremembered.

Roger's mother died when he was nine. His father took the family back to Ireland to County Antrim to live near paternal relatives. When Casement was 13 years old, his father died in Ballymena, and he was left dependent on the charity of relatives, the Youngs and the Casements. He was educated at the Diocesan School, Ballymena (later the Ballymena Academy). He left school at 16 and went to England to work as a clerk with Elder Dempster, a Liverpool shipping company headed by Alfred Lewis Jones. On leaving this job he started work for the British Foreign Office as a diplomat, becoming known as a humanitarian activist, and later as a poet and Easter Rising leader. Described as the "father of twentieth-century human rights investigations", he was honoured in 1905 for the Casement Report on the Congo and knighted in 1911 for his important investigations of human rights abuses in the rubber industry in Peru. His exploits during this time have been the subject of many remarable books.

 After retiring from consular service in 1913, he became more involved with Irish republicanism and other separatist movements. In July 1914, Casement journeyed to the United States to promote and raise money for the Volunteers among the large and numerous Irish communities there. Through his friendship with men such as Bulmer Hobson, a member both of the Volunteers and of the secret Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB), Casement established connections with exiled Irish nationalists, particularly Clan na Gael.

Elements of the suspicious Clan did not trust Casement completely, as he was not a member of the IRB and held views that they considered too moderate but others, such as John Quinn, regarded him as extreme. Devoy, initially hostile to Casement for his part in conceding control of the Irish Volunteers to John Redmond, was won over in June, and Joseph McGarrity, another Clan leader, became devoted to Casement and remained so from then on. The Howth gun-running in late July 1914, which Casement had helped to organise and (with a loan from Alice Stopford Green) , further enhanced his reputation.

In August 1914, at the outbreak of World War I, Casement and John Devoy arranged a meeting in New York with the western hemisphere's top-ranking German diplomat, Count Bernstorff, to propose a mutually beneficial plan: if Germany would sell guns to the Irish revolutionaries and provide military leaders, the Irish would revolt against England, diverting troops and attention from the war with Germany. Bernstorff appeared sympathetic. Casement and Devoy sent an envoy, Clan na Gael president John Kenny, to present their plan personally. Kenny, while unable to meet the German Emperor, did receive a warm reception from the German ambassador to Italy Hans von Flotow, and from Prince von Bülow.

In October 1914, Casement sailed for Germany via Norway, travelling in disguise and seeing himself as an ambassador of the Irish nation. While the journey was his idea, Clan na Gael financed the expedition. During their stop in Christiania, Adler Christensen, a homeless Norwegian immigrant Casement had met in New York and made his valet and alleged lover (unawares he had a wife and daughter), was taken to the British legation, where a reward was allegedly offered if Casement were "knocked on the head".British diplomat Mansfeldt Findlay, in contrast, advised London that Christensen had "implied that their relations were of an unnatural nature and that consequently he had great power over this man".

Findlay's handwritten letter of 1914 is kept in University College Dublin, and is viewable online. This letter—written on official notepaper by Minister Findlay at the British Legation in Oslo—offers to Christensen the sum of £5,000 plus immunity from prosecution and free passage to the United States in return for information leading to the capture of Roger Casement. That amount would be approximately £2,616,000 in 2014.

In November 1914, Casement negotiated a declaration by Germany which stated:

The Imperial Government formally declares that under no circumstances would Germany invade Ireland with a view to its conquest or the overthrow of any native institutions in that country. Should the fortune of this Great War, which was not of Germany's seeking, ever bring in its course German troops to the shores of Ireland, they would land there not as an army of invaders to pillage and destroy but as the forces of a Government that is inspired by goodwill towards a country and people for whom Germany desires only national prosperity and national freedom.

Casement spent most of his time in Germany seeking to recruit an Irish Brigade from among more than 2,000 Irish prisoners-of-war taken in the early months of the war and held in the prison camp of Limburg an der Lahn. His plan was that they would be trained to fight against Britain in the cause of Irish independence.American Ambassador to Germany James W. Gerard mentioned the effort in his memoir "Four Years in Germany":

The Germans collected all the soldier prisoners of Irish nationality in one camp at Limburg not far from Frankfurt . There, efforts were made to induce them to join the German army. The men were well treated and were often visited by Sir Roger Casement who, working with the German authorities, tried to get these Irishmen to desert their flag and join the Germans. A few weaklings were persuaded by Sir Roger who finally discontinued his visits, after obtaining about thirty recruits, because the remaining Irishmen chased him out of the camp.

On 27 December 1914, Casement signed an agreement in Berlin to this effect with Arthur Zimmermann in the German Foreign Office, renouncing all his titles in a letter to the British Foreign Secretary dated 1 February 1915. Fifty-two of the 2000 prisoners volunteered for the Brigade. Contrary to German promises, they received no training in the use of machine guns, which at the time were relatively new and unfamiliar weapons.

In addition to finding it difficult to ally with the Germans while held as prisoners, potential recruits to Casement's brigade knew they would be liable to the death penalty as traitors if Britain won the war. In April 1916, Germany offered the Irish 20,000 Mosin–Nagant 1891 rifles, ten machine guns and accompanying ammunition, but no German officers; it was a fraction of the quantity of the arms Casement had hoped for, with no military expertise on offer.

Casement did not learn about the Easter Rising until after the plan was fully developed. The German weapons never landed in Ireland; the Royal Navy intercepted the ship transporting them, a German cargo vessel named the Libau, disguised as a Norwegian vessel, Aud-Norge. The British had intercepted German communications coming from Washington and suspected that there was going to be an attempt to land arms at Ireland, although they were not aware of the precise location. The arms ship, under Captain Karl Spindler, was apprehended by HMS Bluebell on the late afternoon of Good Friday. About to be escorted into Queenstown (present-day Cobh), County Cork on the morning of Saturday 22 April, Captain Spindler scuttled the ship by pre-set explosive charges. 

Casement departed Germany with Robert Monteith and Sergeant Daniel Beverley (Bailey) of the Irish Brigade in a submarine, initially the SM U-20, which developed engine trouble, and then the SM U-19,shortly after the Aud sailed. According to Monteith, Casement believed the Germans were toying with him from the start and providing inadequate aid that would doom a rising to failure. He wanted to reach Ireland before the shipment of arms and to convince Eoin MacNeill (who he believed was still in control) to cancel the rising. Casement sent John McGoey, a recently arrived Irish-American, through Denmark to Dublin, ostensibly to advise what military aid was coming from Germany and when, but with Casement's orders "to get the Heads in Ireland to call off the rising and merely try to land the arms and distribute them". McGoey did not reach Dublin, nor did his message. (His fate was unknown until recently. Evidently abandoning the Irish Nationalist cause, he joined the Royal Navy in 1916, survived the war, and later returned to the United States, where he died in an accident on a building site in 1925.)

In the early hours of 21 April 1916, three days before the rising began, the German submarine put Casement and his two companions ashore at Banna Strand in Tralee Bay, County Kerry –  Suffering from a recurrence of the malaria that had plagued him since his days in the Congo, and too weak to keep up with Monteith and Bailey, Casement was discovered by a sergeant of the Royal Irish Constabulary at McKenna's Fort, an ancient ring fort in Rahoneen, Ardfert now renamed Casement's Fort. When three pistols were discovered hidden nearby, the RIC arrested Casement on a charge of illegally bringing weapons into the country.

Casement was eventually to face charges of high treason, sabotage and espionage against the Crown. The Kerry Brigade of the Irish Volunteers might have tried to rescue him over the next three days, but its leadership in Dublin held that not a shot was to be fired in Ireland before the Easter Rising was in train and therefore ordered the Brigade to "do nothing" – a subsequent internal inquiry attached "no blame whatsoever" to the local Volunteers for failing to attempt a rescue. "He was taken to Brixton Prison to be placed under special observation for fear of an attempt of suicide. There was no staff at the Tower [of London] to guard suicidal cases."

Casement's trial at bar opened at the Royal Courts of Justice on 26 June 1916 before the Lord Chief Justice (Viscount Reading), Mr Justice Avory, and Mr Justice Horridge. The prosecution had trouble arguing its case. Casement's crimes had been carried out in Germany and the Treason Act 1351 seemed to apply only to activities carried out on English (or arguably British) soil. A close reading of the Act allowed for a broader interpretation: the court decided that a comma should be read into the unpunctuated original Norman-French text, crucially altering the sense so that "in the realm or elsewhere" referred to where acts were done and not just to where the "King's enemies" might be. Afterwards, Casement himself wrote that he was to be "hanged on a comma", leading to the well-used epigram.

During his trial, the prosecution (F. E. Smith), who had admired some of Casement's work before he went over to the Germans, informally suggested to the defence barrister (A. M. Sullivan) that they should jointly produce what are now called the "Black Diaries" in evidence, as this would most likely cause the court to find Casement "guilty but insane" and save his life. Casement refused to agree to this and was subsequently found guilty and sentenced to be hanged.

 Before and during the trial and appeal, the British government secretly circulated some excerpts from Casement's journals, exposing Casement as a "sexual deviant". These included numerous explicit accounts of sexual activity. This aroused public opinion against him and influenced those notables who might otherwise have tried to intervene. Given societal norms and the illegality of homosexuality at the time, support for Casement's reprieve declined in some quarters. The journals became known in the 1950s as the Black Diaries and are still in the British National Archives.

Casement unsuccessfully appealed against his conviction and death sentence. Those who pleaded for clemency for Casement included Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who was acquainted with Casement through the work of the Congo Reform Association, poet W. B. Yeats, and playwright George Bernard Shaw. Joseph Conrad could not forgive Casement, nor could Casement's longtime friend, the sculptor Herbert Ward, whose son Charles had been killed on the Western Front that January, and who would change the name of Casement's godson, who had been named after him. A United States Senate appeal against the death sentence was rejected by the British cabinet on the insistence of prosecutor F. E. Smith, an opponent of Irish independence.

Casement's knighthood was forfeited on 29 June 1916.On the day of his execution by hanging at Pentonville Prison, 3 August 1916, Casement was received into the Catholic Church at his request. He was attended by two Catholic priests, Dean Timothy Ring and Father James Carey. The latter, also known as James McCarroll, said of Casement that he was "a saint ... we should be praying to him [Casement] instead of for him". At the time of his death he was 51 years old.

Casement's body was buried in quicklime in the prison cemetery at the rear of Pentonville Prison, where he had been hanged, though his last wish was to be buried at Murlough Bay on the north coast of County Antrim, in Northern Ireland. During the decades after his execution, successive British governments refused many formal requests for repatriation of Casement's remains. For example, in September 1953, Taoiseach Éamon de Valera, on a visit to Prime Minister Winston Churchill in Downing Street, requested the return of the remains. Churchill said he was not personally opposed to the idea but would consult with his colleagues and take legal advice. He ultimately turned down the Irish request, citing "specific and binding" legal obligations that the remains of executed prisoners could not be exhumed. De Valera disputed the legal advice and responded:

"So long as Roger Casement's remains remain within British prison walls, when he himself expressed the wish that it should be transferred to his native land, so long there will be public resentment here at what must appear to be, at least, the unseemly obduracy of the British Government."

De Valera received no reply.

Finally, in 1965, Casement's remains were repatriated to Ireland. Despite the annulment, or withdrawal, of his knighthood in 1916, the 1965 UK Cabinet record of the repatriation decision refers to him as "Sir Roger Casement". Contrary to Casement's wishes, Prime Minister Harold Wilson's government had released the remains only on condition that they could not be brought into Northern Ireland, as "the government feared that a reburial there could provoke Catholic celebrations and Protestant reactions".

Casement's remains lay in state at the Garrison Church, Arbour Hill (now Arbour Hill Prison) in Dublin city for five days, close to the graves of other leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising, but would not be buried beside them. After a state funeral, the remains were buried with full military honours in the Republican plot in Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin,alongside other Irish republicans and nationalists. The President of Ireland, Éamon de Valera, who was then in his mid-eighties and the last surviving leader of the Easter Rising, attended the ceremony, along with an estimated 30,000 others. The capstone on his grave reads "Roger Casement, who died for the sake of Ireland, 3rd August 1916".

(The original collector of this incredible lithograph, Colm Ó Lochlainn,  established the Candle Press in 1916 which was the winner of a bronze medal for bookbinding in 1924.nHe founded his own press, At the Sign of the Three Candles Press, in 1926. Ó'Lochlainn gave the aspiring piper Seamus Ennis his first job at this press, and Ennis collaborated with him on the Irish Street Ballads books.  Ó'Lochlainn succeeded Seamus Ó Casaide as volunteer editor of Irish Book Lover in 1930 and was an assistant in the Faculty of Modern Irish at University College Dublin from 1933 to 1943, where he later became professor of Irish Language and Literature. He was also associated with the founding of An Óige)

This exquisite reproduction of the original 1916  lithograph on stone, 'drawn from life',  on which Ó'Lochainn's signature can be clearlt read,  is a truly remarkable collector's item. Printed on 210 gsm satin art paper, and beautifully mounted on a mottled green suede background it is set behind glass in a handmade, aged dark mahogany finish frame with a gold gilt sightline.

Each of these 250 limited edition  prints comes with a numbered certificate from The Walton Collection. 

Regular price €395,00 EUR
Regular price €395,00 EUR Sale price €395,00 EUR
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All prints and frames are Made in Ireland. Price includes VAT.

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