Crespin - The Denshawai Hangings
Charles Crespin (Belgian 1892-1953)
Watercolour and pastel on paper, signed
Image : 38 x 28.8 cm (15" x 11" 3/8)
With frame : 42 x 33 cm (16" 1/2 x 13")
The Denshawai hangings: in 1906 British soldiers quarrelled with locals in Denshawai, a small village in Egypt.
Lord Cromer, the British viceroy in Egypt called for a military tribunal: four villagers were condemned to hang; two men were given a life sentence of penal servitude; twenty-six villagers flogged and ordered to hard labour and the Egyptian police official who testified against the British was sentenced to two years imprisonment and fifty lashes.
«They had room for only one man on the gallows, and had to leave him hanging half an hour to make sure [he was dead] and give his family plenty of time to watch him swinging, thus having two hours to kill as well as four men, they kept the entertainment going by flogging eight men with fifty lashes each.» George Bernard Shaw in the preface to his play John Bull's Other Island.
Wilfrid Scawen Blunt wrote in his diary (24 December 1907): «... (the episode) has done more towards shaking the British Empire in the East than anything that has happened for years... its sound has gone out into all lands, into India, Persia, and throughout Asia».