Vote poster

Stuff, life, has kept me away for a bit – apologies – and now that I am back there appears to be an election on.  This blog doesn’t usually have too much overlap with the political arena, but there is one thing I wanted to point out.

Labour party post war poster reversion as tea towel

It’s not a poster – well it was once upon a time, but now it is a Labour Party fundraising tea towel.

Obviously tea towels based on vintage poster designs are a great idea, but that’s not the only reason I’m showing you this.

What’s interesting is that this is a poster that I’ve never seen before, another part of the unknown known.

There are a very few political posters that have become part of our visual furniture.

labuor-not-working

But the rest – well, they’ve just disappeared.  And there’s no central repository, no archives to browse through and see which parties produced which messages and designs.  So to all intents and purposes they didn’t exist. Until, that is, the Labour Party goes through their own records and pulls one out for us to buy.  For which I am of course very grateful, although it would be even more interesting to see the other ones too.

(The Labour Party archive does live, it seems, in the People’s History Museum in Manchester, but only a small proportion of the posters are digitised.  Although this one does seem to come from the same series as the tea towel.)

Labour party 1950s political poster

But in the end, all of this acts as a reminder that it’s almost impossible to make any kind of sweeping statement about the history of posters, for the simple reason that we just don’t know enough.  The posters that are out there, kept in archives, curated, digitised, seen, are just a small and rather less than random sample of the totality of what was produced.  And every so often we get a reminder of this fact, which can only be a good thing.

Oh, and if you wanted to get a tea towel, the bad news is that they were a limited edition and have just sold out.  But you can always buy one of ours instead.

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3 Comments

  1. Noel Anderson
    Posted March 9, 2015 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    Welcome back. Are you aware of http://www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/cpa/collections/posters-collection? One party has made its many [all?] of its posters available digitally; if you click on ‘browse the collection’ it will sort by date. I have not been able to find poster archives of any other party, though.

    Noel

  2. crownfolio
    Posted March 9, 2015 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Ah, that is interesting, thank you. I will go through them when I have a moment.

    I think – although am not entirely sure – that some or all of the Labour archive is in the Peoples’ History Museum linked to above. But very little of that collection is digitised though.

  3. David Bownes
    Posted March 16, 2015 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    Have you noticed the similarities between the (ahem) ‘iconic’ 1979 Saatchi ‘ Labour Isn’t Working’ poster and the 1915 Parliamentary Recruiting poster ‘Step Into Your Place’ ?

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