Tablecloth, printed linen, 'The Absent Minded Beggar', maker unknown, Australia, 1899-1905
A decorative colour-printed Boer War propaganda tablecloth which features the poem by Rudyard Kipling: 'The Absent Minded Beggar.' There is a cream central square with rounded corners. Central to this square stands a soldier, with a label 'The Absent Minded Beggar,' he is wearing his battle uniform, except for his helmet which is on the ground beside him. His head is bandaged and he is holding a bayonet. He is surrounded by six smaller green and white figures of soldiers, including Lord Kitchener, representing the various divisions of the armed services.
Along each side of the square are four rectangular cartouches containing handwritten excerpts from the poem. Surrounding this square is a deep, highly ornamental border featuring roses and Rococo style scrolls in pink, green, brown, and yellow on a pale yellow, brown and green background. In each corner is a medallion containing a head and shoulders portrait of different officers. A shield with the Union Jack and other motifs is placed at the midpoint of each edge immediately above these. The tablecloth has a green, brown and cream border. Near the feet of the central soldier is the artist' signature, R Caton Woodville and 1899.
Text from the 'Absent Binded Beggar' printed in four sections around border. Signature under beggar in centre 'P. Caton Woodville / 1899'.