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Art for art’s sake?
“If for a moment it could be supposed that pictorial posters had no advertising value, their decorative value alone would justify their production”. So the Railway Gazette of 7th December 1928 reported an address to the Hull Advertising club by Francis Goodricke of the London & NE Railway (LNER) advertising department.
At this time the railway companies sent the artwork out in lorries and set up mobile exhibitions for public viewing. I do not know how far Francis Goodricke’s view extended throughout the railway industry or even beyond, but generally speaking for the man-in-the-street who had never set foot inside an art gallery, the street bill hoarding, magazine advert or packaging around the home was an everyday contact with the work of artists.
Posters of the pre-grouping period were cluttered with words and multiple images. The railway companies of the post-1923 groupings took the decision to reduce this accordingly and allow the picture to do the talking. It set a standard that was followed up to and through the BR period.
It is interesting to look at adverts and packaging beyond the railways and from both sides of the Atlantic to see how this is applied through the decades. Have a look around at other images on The Ephemera Album sites.