Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Cigarette Advertising

Here's hoping you've all had a great Christmas and are enjoying your extra day off today.

One of my favourite things to do when I have a little extra time is to look for interesting pictures online, the brilliant Archive.org being a major source of fab book and magazine illustrations and adverts.

I was looking at magazines this afternoon and came across one entitled Coraddi which was an American magazine published by the students of the Women's College of the University of North Carolina back in the 1930s, 40s and 50s.

Whether it's a sign of one of the main interests of college students at that time or that perhaps the magazine was sponsored by a tobacco company, interestingly the only adverts that appear in this magazine are for cigarettes.

As it's the festive season I thought I'd show a couple of the Christmassy adverts:-

It seems rather perverse today that Santa is seen here smoking, doesn't it!

Now I hate smoking, never done it, never even had a puff. I think that's because both my parents smoked heavily and I thought it was pretty disgusting from an early age - but I find ads for cigarettes interesting from a social history point of view. There would be outcry today if Santa were seen to be smoking in any kind of ad or film. Back in those days, there was no proof that smoking was linked to lung cancer and other diseases although various studies seemed to indicate it.

Surprisingly, it wasn't until the early 80s that it was proved definitively that this was the case. Shocking!

My mum started smoking in the 40s because it was glamorised by beautiful, elegant actresses in the Hollywood movies. And as the major pastimes then were dancing and cinema, many teenagers were influenced in this way.

Even the adverts portrayed beautiful women smoking:-

It's perhaps not surprising that so many teenagers took up smoking back then.

Thankfully now we know the truth about the stinky weed and advertising has now been banned, but I do wonder what we advertise today that the people of the future will find politically incorrect!

Friday, 16 December 2011

Remember by Christini Rossetti

When my mum died in 1992, one of her friends gave my step-father a sympathy card that contained a poem by Christina Rossetti. At the time I'd never heard it before and although my step-father couldn't bring himself to read it at the time, I've always been touched by it and have given it in cards to others who have lost someone, just as my mum's friend did.
Christina Rossetti (1830-1894) was a prolific poet and lyricist and is best known for not only this poem but also writing the the Christmas Carol 'In the Bleak Midwinter'.

One of the books that I hanker after (and that would probably be way too expensive for me!) is a Christina Rossetti poetry book that was illustrated by Florence Harrison.

It contains absolutely loads of Art Nouveau style colour illustrations that are just beautiful! Here are some of them:-
When this book comes up on Ebay, it's usually at least £200.00. You never know, Christmas is only next week......

Friday, 2 December 2011

Walter Tittle

Every now and again I come across a new artist that I haven't heard of before and Walter Tittle is one of these. I just love the (art history A-level training coming through here) luminosity of Walter's paintings - his wonderful use of colour and light really brings the pictures to life.
Walter was born in Springfield, Ohio in 1883 and after completing his formal art training, he came to sketch celebrities such as Charlie Chaplin and Mary Pickford, as well as four US Presidents (William Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Calvin Coolidge, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt).

Tittle met with Franklin D. Roosevelt so many times that he published a book in 1948, Roosevelt As An Artist Saw Him, containing the transcripts of his conversations with the 32nd President.

Tittle died in 1966 and although he is little known today, his wonderful illustrations remain.