I am in the middle of trying to construct a post about the afterlife of World War One posters, which is too complicated and thus taking me longer than I thought. But in the meantime this has popped up at auction.
It isn’t a poster, but the original (and somewhat battered) oil painting for a poster. And it arrives accompanied by several others.
What particularly tickles me, though, is that the auction house is resolutely describing them as though they were normal oil paintings. 20th Century English School. Oil on unstretched canvas. A description which might lull you into a false sense of security, and even bidding given that they are all estimated at £50-100 each.
Because unlike an ordinary oil painting, these are huge. Gigantic in fact. The two below are each more than two and a half meters high.
Most of the rest come in at well over two meters. It’s insanity.
But it would be a great shame if these disappeared for next to no money, because while they are not the most beautiful images I have ever encountered (I may be understating things here), they are rare survivals and thus important documentation about how advertising worked between the wars. To my mind, rather than being knocked down for next to nothing because no one has the wallspace for them, these paintings belong in an archive or a museum. Let’s hope they get there.