We’re always unearthing curious artefacts here at St Bride’s and this week is no exception. A mysterious poster by Alfred Leete has left us a little bemused – even Sherlock Holmes might have his work cut out on this one.
Many will be familiar with the artist’s infamous WWI recruitment poster for London Opinion, with Lord Kitchener’s finger-pointing challenge to inspire young men into signing up to fight for their country. The self-taught comic illustrator and artist had his other work appear in various publications, including the Daily Graphic, the Pall Mall Gazette and the Bystander, with his first accepted submission coming at the ripe age of 16!
A piece by Leete held by St Bride Foundation shows a different side to the artist, with a blood-stained staircase in front of a dark green door with eyes peering through the letter box. Elsewhere in the image, a policeman stares in shock, or perhaps horror at the staircase. Adding confusion to possible interpretations is the paint can sitting at the bottom right corner of the door, which begs the question as to whether it is really blood at all. The word Berlud! is printed at the top of the frame, which we believe is an alternative spelling for the word ‘blood’, which would fit with the painting.
The questions we’ve been asking ourselves about the poster are for whom, why and for what was this poster made? If you have some information that could help us decipher this puzzle, then please put yourself in touch with us via our Twitter account. St Bride needs you!