Henley Archaeological & Historical Group

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Lecture Report – British Graphic Posters in the 1920s and 1930s

The Golden Age of British Posters

The popular speaker Dr Graham Twemlow gave a talk to the Group on 1st June, about British graphic posters in the 1920s and 1930s. His talk was illustrated with spectacular images – the Zoom medium was particularly well-suited to this.

Before the late 19th century, posters with letterpress type had been used for centuries. Following the development of lithographic printing, it became possible to include images with the words which enhanced the visual impact of the poster. The use of this technique took off in Paris in the 1880s and 1890s in posters advertising entertainment.

In the UK, poster art developed in the 20th century with iconic images such as Kitchener (“Your Country Needs You”) and Skegness (“… is so Bracing”). By the 1930s, a modernist style predominated, especially in the promotional travel posters produced for railway companies, such as that featuring Henley. The format attracted famous artists who had become established in other media – such as Graham Sutherland, Rex Whistler and John Nash.