Wednesday, April 7, 2021

SearchResearch Challenge (4/7/21): Can you find the original source of this picture?


The other day... 

...  I was reading a well-known magazine / newspaper when I saw this remarkably graphic image that ran as part of the story: 

I was struck by the image--What is going on here?--and by the lack of attribution.  This led me to this week's Challenge.  Can you figure this one out? 

1. What is this an image of?  (What's going on here?) 

2. Where and when did this image first appear?  

3. Can you find an online version of the original publication?  

As always, tell us HOW you found the answers.  

(This took me about 25 minutes.  Can you do it in less time?)  

Search on! 


  1. I searched by image your image. Results were kind of strange in Chinese. I opened one and had a name. I re-tried to share my process and opening the links didn't give me the result I found before. Searching by image this time gave me similar Images recommended sometimes and none others

    This was the link found after searching by image the photo that came from the first search by image.

    The Mensur A German student's duel at Gottingen. Illustrated London is showed as the owner

    After that [ Mensur] and [the mensur germany]

    Academic Fencing

    [Illustrated London] and ["illustrated London" "mensur"] just gave me same photo from beginning.

    [German duel Gottingen]

    German Student Duel Gottingen Cricket Match Sport: 1880

    1. With ["the graphic" 1880 august 21] says they have it and they offer a free 7 day with registration. I'll try to find another option

    2. I have a question about Q3. Can you clarify more what we are looking for? Dr. Russell, please. I was thinking maybe we aren't looking for The Graphic.

      About it, on Wikipedia, external links, we can find where The Graphic is available. However 1880 isn't available.

      Out of topic, I was verifying a quote attributed to Pope Francis. Searched using "". And learned something new. Google "only" searches for the first 32 words. 32 is a lot of words!

      Finally, Google today published a new tool with : A Year in lockdown Google Search. It's available on Google's Blog. It is very interesting. It is made only with US Data. Maybe in some days, a worldwide is presented?

  2. I found the image on stock photo websites. First in Adobe via TinyEye reverse image search: and then searching for [German student's duel at Gottingen] on other stock photo websites.

    Apparently, it firstly appeared on 'The Graphic' newspaper:

    Which can be found a bit scattered all over the internet:

  3. By Miguel Viterbo:

    Whenever I want to find the source of a picture, or similar ones, I use the dessant's extension Search by Image (available here), which I use to search an image simultaneously on reverse image search engines by Google, Bing, Yandex and TinEye.

    TinEye got me all the answers I needed for this challenge, directing me to the uncropped image at Adobe Stock, which directs me to Mary Evans Picture Library.

    The title they gave this engraving is "German Student Duel/1880". Its description reads "A German student's duel at Gottingen. The Mensur, as practised by German fraternities, is a fast yet rarely-lethal affair with cuts accepted as marks of honour." Then, on Mary Evans (Picture No 10137709), they add the following:
    Source: Unattributed engraving from The Graphic 1880
    Credit: © Illustrated London News Ltd

    This is weird, because The Graphic and Illustrated London News were rival magazines, according to Wikipedia.

    Using the same image search extension on the uncropped picture, Yandex finds it at Shutterstock in 1500x1029 resolution.

  4. I searched by image and found the illustration at
    I tried Flickr with no luck.
    Then I searched for the caption 'german students duel gottingen' and took me to
    This page told me the illustration was from The Graphic.
    So I searched for "the graphic" german students duel and got to the British Newspaper Archive. I found an article from 21 Aug 1880 but despite scrolling through pages of thumbnails of illustrations couldn't spot the image. The site only lets you have 3 free page views.
    Then I found the image as an ebay auction:
    This has the whole page view showing the Graphic, 21 Aug 1880, page 181. Interestingly the BNA site showed the paper only had 24 pages, so I think the ebay print may have been from a bound annual version.

  5. When I saw the image I said to myself "That looks like Mensur" and I was right! I don't really have anything to add to what people have said above. I'm trying to see if I can find a date for when the image appeared but so far no luck.

    In the links provided by Pe, I tried searching the text of those publications, but I know that often image captions don't get indexed and I didn't get any hits on any words from the title/description of the piece nor when searching just for Mensur.

  6. Finding the image and what it is took about 5 minutes. Finding an online version of the original publication - much longer and I still haven't found it in one place.

    So question 1 - first I tried pasting the image using Bing Images - but this came up with too many different results, so I then went to TinEye - and got several results straight away - Ebay, The Economist (but that took me nowhere) and as an Adobe Stock Photo. This called it "German Student Duel 1880" and referred to the Mary Evans Picture Library. Searching that title in gave more detail including a source and year. The picture description is "A German student's duel at Gottingen. The Mensur, as practised by German fraternities, is a fast yet rarely-lethal affair with cuts accepted as marks of honour." with source "Unattributed engraving from The Graphic 1880"

    So the next search is for "The Graphic" from 1880. That took me to several places but only one had 1880 issues - the British Newspaper Archive. Unfortunately I could only get 3 pages of this without subscribing. The first gave the text going with the image - itself quite interesting and the date 21 August 1880 and page 190. BUT no image. I wanted to confirm the image was in this issue. I suspected it was - but suspicions aren't always accurate. The next page didn't have the image - so didn't want to risk my last free page. (I got this far in around 10-15 minutes total).
    So more searching - looking for the original and page. I found that at an ebay listing - along with an image of a cricket match. Although the listing had ended, the image and page details were still there at confirming that it was in the 21st August 1880 issue of The Graphic. The image was page 181 while the article was page 190. As each issue in the newspaper archive seems to have 24 pages I thought stepping back 9 pages would give me the image. Unfortunately the newspaper archive version didn't show this - but instead the frustrating message "This page is missing from the print copy used for digitisation...."

    So I still haven't found a complete version of the original publication. Lots of places that have offline copies but that wasn't the question - and I'm looking forward to where the full version could be found. (Not in Google Books, or the usual suspects, although it also seems present in - another pay to view source!)

    A number of lessons:
    1) Not all searches are free. Even if there is a free version, the time spent on a work related / important query to find a potential free source is wasted time - often better to bite the bullet and pay for the information.
    2) TinEye is great for a specific image whereas Yandex, Google, Bing may give similar images and so muddy the waters.

  7. Right Click on Search Google images. Add duel to the search. And there it is. 3 versions even: Title is "A German Students' Duel at Gottingen" Date C1880. Another click takes me to but first we also learn that the engraving original edition is from The Graphic. British Newspaper Archive has the article associated with this engraving on page 15; 21 August 1880. The illustration in question is on the following page or two. But both are missing before digitization.

    The South London Press, same date, page 3 has a much more detailed explanation of what is going on. In short he calls it voluntary vivisection. Right arm has to stay up blade always has to point down. The only object is slash the other guys face--duelling scars being highly desirable. But naturally there is no image with it. The lads watching are wearing their colourful fraternity caps. claims to have The Graphic in its collection but I did not pay for that.

    I am too embarrassed to tell you how long it took me to right click on the image and add on duel to find 3 copies of this image.

  8. It did take me a while but after eliminating various possibilities, I came up with the fact that this was probably a fencing school. Then I discovered that there were academic fencing schools in Europe in the 19th century and into the 20th. I finally found it when I decided to include 'googles' in the search since both fencers were wearing them. I found the image and the site: That is where I am at the moment.

  9. Found your image on page 7 of Graphic 21 August 1880. First publication date maybe. Via British Newspaper Archive.

  10. I had previously looked past the article thinking the pix would be there but not and pages missing. Then I had a second thought--look forward and there is as I mentioned.

  11. I ran searches in British Newspaper archive from Jan 1875 but did not find any earlier pix than the the 1880 one