Thirty-seven years in business selling Vintage Posters


Paul Nash Estimate £1000-1500





It has been a busy time at Onslows this spring with many new and wonderful poster discoveries coming to light. A rare group of posters relating to the Western Islands and Skye discovered on the island they had been collected by the late owner over the last forty years, they include two romantic MacBrayne’s posters for Steamer services and a striking quad design for The Coolins estimates range from £500 to £1200.


The next find is a group of early London Electric Railway posters from around 1915, they were discovered rolled up in old canvas amongst the stock of a long-closed antiques shop on Merseyside, the star lots are three rare posters by the anglicised American artist Edward McKnight Kauffer the best one depicts a Japanese styled bridge on the river Colne at Watford and is expected to sell for more than £1500. A customer in Dundee was fortunate to have hung onto a valuable poster which he had forgotten he had rolled up in a draw, the poster is none other than the A M Cassandre’s classic and highly sought-after poster for the ocean liner “Normandie” of the Cie. Gle. Transatlantique, the poster is in untouched original condition and is estimated to sell for over £6000. Terence Cuneo’s posters have appeared at auction regularly over the years, but not the wonderfully technical Forth Bridge design we are delighted to be offering in the auction, the artist had to harnessed to the bridge when he did the preparatory sketches for the painting, it is the most sought after of all his posters and is estimated to sell for £5000-7000.

Over the years Onslows have gained a reputation for achieving extraordinary prices for rarely seen posters. A good example was the £27500 paid in 2014 for the iconic WW1 poster by Alfred Leete  “Britons Lord Kitchener Wants You” Until now we have never seen or heard of the existence  the poster that spawned the most famous poster in history, the illusive missing link is the 1914 London Opinion News Stand poster which was the first time the Leete image of Lord Kitchener had been used to advertise the weekly magazine, it was quickly commandeered by the Government Recruiting committee to be used as an official recruitment advertisement. We are now very excited to announce that this rarity has at last turned up amongst a superb private collection of WW1 posters. We are being cautious about how to value such a unique item of true ephemera so pitching the estimate at £2000-4000 will give collectors and museum’s a sporting chance of securing it, to maybe place it next to the famous one, that is if you are lucky enough to have it. We think the news stand version is even rarer than the handful of know examples of the icon poster.






Alfred Reginald Thomson (1894-1979)

"Take Me by the Flying Scotsman".

Gouache on paper, 69 x 43 cm 1932


The golden age of British railway travel is evoked in this original artwork for a poster advertising the Flying Scotsman.  The painting in the Art Deco style, emphasizing the huge scale and sleekness of the Gresley A1 Class locomotive that bore the name of the famous London to Edinburgh service.  The painting appeared on a London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) poster from 1932 titled with the slogan "Take Me by the Flying Scotsman".  The design, which shows a young girl looking up in awe at the driver of the train is a pastiche of an earlier Southern Railway poster.


This is the second time we have sold the painting, in 1988 Onslows discovered it amongst a major collection of LNER posters and artworks at the former Royal Station Wolferton in Norfolk, the collection had been saved by former LNER man Eric Walker.   He had purchased the station and reopened it as a small railway museum, the artwork was never displayed and was found in a cellar under the Royal Waiting rooms.  It was bought by an Art Deco collector for the then staggering sum of £5,000.  In 2020 thirty-two years later we were delighted to have been able to secure a private sale to the National Museums of Scotland for £40,000.  The purchase was made possible by a generous grant from the Art Fund.  The painting becomes one of a small number of objects to represent both the iconic locomotive and the rail service that still runs to this day.




Andy Warhol (1928-1987)

"Mick Jagger"

Screen print in colours, on Arches Aquarelle paper, 1975, signed in pencil, and black felt tip by subject, edition 111/250

Printed by Alexander Heinrich NY, Seabird Editions London, 111 x 73.4cm.


"The thing that he seemed to be able to do was to capture society, whatever part of it he wanted to portray, pretty accurately.  That's one of the things artists do, is show people later on what it was like.  If you want to be reminded of a certain period, you can look at what Andy was doing then.  He was very much in tune with what was going on..." - Mick Jagger on Andy Warhol.


Our auction business has been turned upside down since March 2020, with sales postponed or cancelled.  Because of our large client base opportunities have arisen where we have been able to continue with the business by adapting, by moving into private sales and the brokerage of works of art other than just posters.  Early last year we were asked if we could find a buyer for this modern masterpiece of Pop art.  Back in the 1970's the owner of the print had launched a lush magazine DELUXE, only two issues were printed with cover artwork by Peter Blake and Allen Jones, the magazine sadly ran out of funding.  A new backer Baron Stephen Bentinck was found, and the magazine relaunched as BOULEVARD with a glamorous launch at Abbey Road studios, only six issues were printed.  The founder was paid for his work with the magazines in Warhol prints, a quantity of which had been sitting around in the magazine offices, Bentinck had also been a backer of the series of Warhol Mick Jagger prints.  Luckily for our client he kept one of the prints, giving away the rest over the intervening years.  Onslows was able to place the print with a specialist West End Gallery who was able to return the required sum of £45,000 to our client.





Tom Purvis (1888-1959)  Yorkshire Moors LNER 1925

Estimate £3,500-4,500

Sold for £6,300


Our November 26 auction including a superb connoisseur collection turned out to be one of our best ever, the live online auction had originally been planned to take place back in May, we felt it was the right call to postpone it until the market stabilised following the announcement of the pandemic in March.  It tuned out to be a wise move because in the intervening period many additional poster were consigned, and buyer's confidence had not been damaged by the lockdowns and closure of room auctions.  In fact the success of the auction showed that collectors had more time to enjoy browsing and bidding online.  A great number of clients registered to bid as well as many leaving commission bids on many of the lots on offer.  During the live event we had in many instances several bidders on each lot, this did slow proceedings down but made for an exciting few hours as lot after lot was snapped up, many exceeding expectations.  The single owner collection made in excess of £200,000 including the premium.  Great prices were achieved for so many, here are some of the most notable railway poster By Night Train to Scotland LNER by Zec £20,500, Nord Express by Cassandre £11,000.



Sold for £3,000, £3,00, £7,900


A good number of the Skiing posters were sold within estimate, Swiss resorts bringing the stroungest prices, Hilde Smith's Harald & H.J. Smith Ski Fabrik, St Moritz of 1905 at £2,100, and Wilhelm Friedrich Burger's Engadiner Skirenen St. Moritz of 1914 made £4,000.  Amongst other notable posters from the special collection were the William McDowell giant Cunard White Star hoarding poster for RMS Queen Mary selling to a French dealer for £9,800, Pierre Zenobel's Blue Train to the Cote d'Azur 1928 sold for £3,100, Jules-Alexandre Grun's Monaco 1905 £3,950.


Sold for £700


There were so many great posters in the auction from other vendors, some are worth mentioning John Gilroy's Dig for Plenty Guinness for Strength at £750, MacDonald Gill's Mail Steamship Route's GPO £1,600, H. S. Williamson's Loading Mails Croydon Airport 1934, and Docks 1934 £1,450 and £1,000 respectively.  Some late entry American World War I posters did very well, all in exceptional condition, worth recording is Howard Chandler Christy's 1 want you for the Navy which sold for £1,025.



Sold for £350 and £1,025


All the British railway posters were hotly contested with many rare examples making strong prices, worth a mention are Andrew Grainger's Fort William LNER £2,300, Cornwall GWR by Leonard Richmond £3,900, Bamburgh LNER by Russell Flint £9,200;  we had first sold this very rare poster back in 2005 for £5,000 the owner had never taken out of the postal tube, a particularly charming poster by Kenneth Steel of Constable's Country Willy Lott's Cottage BR (ER) made £1,300 against an estimate of £600-800.





Present A Special Auction of a Superb

Connoisseur's Collection of Classic Posters of the 20th Century

Live Online Thursday 26 November at 2.00 pm



The collection of wonderful posters we have been privileged with the task to sell include some of the greatest travel and motoring posters of the last century.  The quality of the posters on offer represent the crème de la crème of the masters of poster design from the golden age of advertising luxury travel, automobiles, and aviation.  All the great designers are represented with a dazzling display of different posters  Notable is no less than eleven A M Cassandre's including Nord Express, Etoile du Nord, Normandie, L'Oiseau Bleu, Wagon Lits and Fleche d'Argent.  The range of estimates for these is £1500 to £12,000.  The poster depicted above is one extraordinary, rare poster, due to its large size it is likely to be the only known one to have survived.  The poster is not signed but we feel it is most likely to have been designed by Walter Thomas (1894-1971) whose signed posters fro Cunard are well documented.  It would have been displayed either in the Southampton or New York Ocean Liners terminals.  In the right setting the poster would look outstanding, imagine it in a New York apartment overlooking the Hudson River or in a beach house setting on Long Island, the estimate is £10,000 to 15,000.



The auction will include around twenty-four ice cool skiing posters, amongst the selection are posters for the top resorts St Moritz and Gstaad, with several wonderfully evocative posters by the masterful French travel artist Roger Broders (1883-1953) including Winter Sports Ski and Bobsleigh in the Alps, Bathers at Antibes and Bandol, these are estimated to sell for between £3,000 and £12,000.


The British selection of railway posters are mouth-watering in rarity and quality, take Tom Purvis's LNER design Yorkshire Moors or H G Gawthorn's night time at the Forth Bridge or the art deco By Night Train to Scotland by the Philip Zec British born of Russian parents these posters on the rare occasions that they appear for sale have made record prices, we are expecting the trio to sell for a high estimate of £37,000.


The auction is being held in two parts, the first half comprises of two hundred and fifty posters covering product advertising, General Post Office, Bus and Coach, Shell, Travel, Airlines and propaganda of the two World Wars the majority of these are offered for sale without reserve.  The second part "The Connoisseur's Collection" is going to be a landmark offering in the poster collecting world, the collection of one hundred and forty posters was assembled over the last thirty years is without doubt one of the best collections we have handled in thirty-five years of vintage poster auctions and is likely to be our highest grossing sale of all time.










Often when you sell an item for an item for a spectacular price it brings another onto the market and so was the case with the World War One recruiting poster Britons Kitchener Wants You!  Having sold one of only three known copies for a record price of £27,000 in 2014 on the 100 Anniversary of the outbreak of the Great War, a client from Cumbria contacted us saying he had found what he thought might be a reproduction of the poster amongst his late wife's family chattels, on closer inspection we were able to confirm it was indeed an original and in better condition than the 2014 poster.  It went onto sell to an Australian collector for a premium inclusive price of £17,000.  The poster has now gone on loan to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.


Another great rarity surfaced for the auction, better know as "The Blond Bombshell", Abram Games's 1940 poster "Join the ATS", the controversial poster came under scrutiny by Parliament and was withdrawn from exhibition shortly after printing, with 10,000 copies being pulped.  The example we sold was particularly special as it still had the pasted down Colchester recruiting office label attached as well as having three of the corners missing due to it being pulled down from display, a true piece of ephemera of historic interest.  It was estimated conservatively at £3,000 to 5,000, several bidders contested the lot with the hammer falling at £9,000 the London buyer having seen some publicity about the poster in the Daily Express would have paid double to win it.  The poster had been bought from Onslows in 1989 for the princely sum of £390.




Not a record price but a stunning result for the set of six LNER posters printed in 1931 and designed by Tom Purvis, titled "East Coast Joys", the possibly unique complete series was discovered in the 1980's by the great Suffolk poster dealer Leslie Sherlock, they sold in the the auction for £19,500 to a US collector.  The posters, in wonderful condition had not recently been displayed by the vendor who had acquired them from Sherlock.  They are without doubt some of Purvis's finest work for the railway company.  It should be noted he was paid £300 for the six works, £18,000 in today's money.





The Master of Advertising Art

He became one of the first Royal Designers for Industry in 1936.

Before the exciting news of the sale by auction of possibly a unique collection of art deco posters we need to give a little of the background of the artist. 

Tom Purvis was known as the “King of the Hoardings” and perhaps is now regarded as one of the greatest commercial artists of the golden age of railway posters. Tom Purvis was born in Bristol on 12th June 1888, the son of a master mariner who became a marine artist. Purvis assisted his father in his studio, seeing that his son had an early talent for drawing he financed a first term at the Camberwell School of Art, he studied there for three years by winning scholarships. Purvis went onto to study under an elderly Degas and then Sickert. His first work was with the advertising agency Mather & Crowther spending six years learning the art of advertising and then two at the Avenue Press mastering the practical side of lithographic printing. His first independent poster was for Dewar’s Whisky in 1907 when he only nineteen. Edwin J Embleton who knew him through work at Odham’s Press from 1926 and later as head of the art department at the Ministry of Information during the Second World War said of “his unique gift for absorbing a complicated problem and then simplifying it down to its very essence both in a penetrating analysis of salesmanship and then in treatment” After the First World War where he had served as a captain in the Artist’s Rifles he went onto design covers for London Magazine and Passing Show and much other advertising artwork. He was now making his name as a poster artist, his design for Edwards Soup with the slogan “They’re all in it” lead to further poster commissions from The Empire Marketing Board, Shell, Austin Reed and the Daily Herald. He gradually developed his distinctive style of flat areas of brilliant colours laid next to each other without any dividing line.

Tom Purvis in his studio designing a LNER poster for Harrogate c. 1929

In 1926 Purvis started working for the London and North Eastern Railway. The forward-thinking company was ahead of its time and cleverly employed five of the leading poster designers of the day each with three-year contracts, they became known as the “The Big Five” the others being Fred Taylor, Frank H Mason, Frank Newbould and Austin Cooper. They agreed to confine their work to the LNER with exception of the London Underground. Purvis designed the LNER totem which was used on all the posters from 1927. From 1927 to 1929 he was guaranteed commissions to the value of £450 per annum. For the years 1930 to 1932 the contract increased to £500 for each year.  

In 1988 Onslows sold the greatest collection of LNER posters to have ever appeared on the market, the quantity and quality has never been repeated at auction. The collection had come from the British Rail advertising department offices at Marylebone Station in the 1960’s and had been saved from destruction by a quick-thinking railway employee, he also saved the lever arch files containing the priceless pre-war artists contracts and correspondence between the railway and artists and vice versa.  From this unique archive of which Onslows hold copies we able to tell the fascinating story of the wonderful set of posters “East Coast Joys”.

“The Big Five” Dinner at the New Lauriers Jermyn Street 3rd April 1928

L-R Frank Newbould, Austin Cooper, Tom Purvis, Frank H Mason, Fred Taylor

Possibly celebrating appointment of Cecil Dandridge as Advertising Manager of LNER (first on right)

And W M Teasdale Assistant General Manager LNER (second on right)

In a letter dated 23rd June 1930 to Purvis from Cecil Dandridge advertising manager of the LNER and headed “Pictorial Posters for 1931” Dandridge confirms that Purvis has agreed to consider designing “six double royal posters of the East Coast giving special attractions in the direction of sports etc”. The contract for 1931 confirms that Purvis was paid £300 for the six designs, £18,000 in today’s money. The original designs for the posters were exhibited in the LNER Ninth Exhibition of Poster Art at the New Burlington Galleries London in March 1931. We have a copy of the 1931 exhibition catalogue showing the designs were hung in Gallery No. 1, and not the printed posters. The catalogue also states that copies of most of the posters on exhibition were available to buy for 2/6 for the DR size and 5/- for the larger QR size.  From Purvis’s own press cuttings, we can see that the newspaper reviews were glowing with appreciation for his work.  The Times reported “In one case, East Coast Joys, the six posters, though each can be looked at separately, are ingeniously combined in a single design, with a delightful wave movement running through the whole”. The Morning Post went on to say, “None has made more use of his opportunities than Mr Tom Purvis has done with the splendid design illustrating “East Coast Joys” This is easily the best poster in the show. The Railway Gazette liked them too, “Quite delightful as regards treatment, technique and colouring is the set “East Coast Joys, the “joys” relate to walking tours, sun and sea bathing, and sea sports. Placed alongside each other the set forms one continuous picture – a beach scene- but each poster is designed to stand alone. The brilliant blue of the sea in this series is something to marvel at” The learned journal also reckoned the poster would be a hit with the LNER holiday patrons.


Catalogue to the LNER Ninth Exhibition of Poster Art, New Burlington Galleries, March 1931

The posters were acquired by the vendor in the 1980’s from the well-known poster dealer the late Leslie Sherlock, from the continuity of the excellent condition of the posters it is likely the set had always been together rather than been “assembled” by the dealer. Research indicates this is the first time a complete set has appeared for sale by auction. Onslow’s sold three of the set in the great LNER poster sale in 1988 mentioned earlier. The posters will be offered as a set with a pre-sale estimate of £20,000 to 25,000.  

They will be included in our Summer Vintage Posters auction and will take place on 12th July 2019.


Record Breaking Buy British Posters

Auction 14th December 2018



This not seen before collection of twenty-six posters published at the time of the Great Depression in 1931 made double the expected total. The poster campaign had been led by the then Prince of Wales who encouraged the public to buy goods made in Britain or from countries in the Empire. The themes and slogans of some of the brightly coloured advertisements strangely resonate with the current Brexit scenario. One of the best posters is by little known artist R Granger Barrett features the record-breaking Flying Scotsman, Blue Bird, Miss England and the Schneider Trophy Seaplane the poster estimated £300-400 made £3300 to the Museum of Brands, there were six under bidders; another by Harry Riley showing a rugby match and titled Buy British It is the team spirit that gets there went for double the estimate at £850. A delightful design showing a boy and girl at a shop counter asking “I want the kind my daddy makes” fetched £760, the collection sold for a premium inclusive £10,000.


Other notable prices were £4240 for Jack Merriott’s Cornwall published by British railways in 1949, a rare Southern Railway poster published in 1927 “The Gateway to the Continent” listing Famous Expresses and luxury trains including Venice Simplon doubled the estimate selling to a German collector for £2400. a set of three large Warhol Marilyn screen print pink green and blue portraits tripled the estimates and made a total of £4448. A Second World War Guinness poster by John Gilroy found a buyer at £490.




A rare collection of posters not seen at auction before are being offered for sale by Onslows Auctioneers on December 14.  The group of twenty-six colourful posters were printed towards the end of 1931, the numbered advertisements were issued one a week leading up to Christmas of that year, each promoting a different theme on Buying British goods.  With the collection is an explanatory text only poster relating to a broadcast message of November 16, 1931 made by HRH The Prince of Wales, later King Edward VIII, the King who abdicated. In the broadcast the future King talks about the importance of buying British goods or products from the Empire.


Buy British collection of posters 1931 Estimates range from £100 to £400



Cassandre's Pullman Train £9,000-12,000 and Wadsworth's British Graphic Exhibition 1923 £20,000-25,000


British Railway posters 1926 and 1928 £600-900, £700-1000 and £800-1200

Edward Wadsworth (1889-1949) Englische Graphik is the rarest poster in the auction and could be the most valuable lot ever sold by Onslows and has only appeared in auction on a handful of occasions over the last thirty years.  Its appeal crosses over into the market for rare prints as well as being a poster that was highly regarded immediately collectable after it was published in 1923.  In 1916 Wadsworth had taken up positions in Liverpool and Bristol with the Admiralty supervising the application of dazzle camouflage to allied shipping.  This inspired his cubist woodcuts of the dazzle camouflage, which had been influenced by the Vorticists a short-lived group that celebrated the modern machine-age of which he was a member and close friend and collaborator of Percy Wyndham Lewis the founder of the movement.


The poster was the first designed by Wadsworth and adapted from his 1918 woodcut "Camouflaged ship in dry dock" the poster was used to announce the Board of Trade and British Museum exhibition of English graphic art held at the Wolfsberg Gallery, Zurich in 1923.  It was said that "where the work of other commercial artists had been mangled into posters, here was a case of the "fine art" out-postering the poster".  Another Dazzle poster designed by Wadsworth in 1936 had been commissioned by Frank Pick of London Transport was used to promote travel to the Imperial War Museum.  The poster is estimated to sell for £20,000 to 25,000.


Other notable posters in the auction include A M Cassamdre's Etoile du Nord 1927 estimate £9,000 to 12,000, Cuneo's On Early Shift 1950 £1000-1500, T D Kerr's Famous Expresses 1927 estimate £800-1200 and a rare tourist poster from circa 1940 for Kilimanjaro Tanganyika Territory by P Ginner is expected to exceed the estimate of £300-400.


This auction takes place live online only on December 14, 2018 at 2.00pm UK time.  For further details contact Patrick Bogue, email



Spanish Civil War Posters at Onslows find new collectors


Some strong prices were achieved in our winter auction of vintage posters on December 15th.  The railway posters including examples from the Underground performed well, most notable the rare and small size panel poster for the Centenary of the Boat Race dating from 1929 sold for a premium inclusive £1860.  Helen McKie's wonderful poster showing Waterloo Station in Peace Time which was published in 1948 being one of the last posters printed for Southern Railway just prior to the Nationalisation of the big four railway companies made £4340.  Lili Réthi, the Austrian artist who fled Germany to avoid working for Hermann Göring designed two posters for the London Midland & Scottish Railway and several for the GPO, we offered the stunning poster "Crewe Works" Building Coronation Class Locomotives it sold post sale for £2300.


R T Cooper The Boat Race Centenary 1929 - £1500 December 2017

Helen McKie (1889-1957) Waterloo Station 1848 1948 - £3500 December 2017

Lili Rethi (1894-1971) Crewe Works 1937 - £2300 December 2017

The rare collection of ten Spanish Civil War posters were as expected much sought after by a small band of buyers from London, Ireland and California, all but two of the collection found buyers selling for a total of £6400.

Cimine  (Read anarchist books and be a man) Spanish Civil War 1936 - £930 December 2017

The Dig for Victory collection of posters and related ephemera attracted a lot of interest, helped no doubt by some publicity we got on the collection in The Times the week of the auction.  This brought some new buyers out resulting in the famous garden trug poster doubling the price that a similar poster had made in an earlier auction.  The collection was split into a number of lots making a total of £2875, the vendor had saved the collection from the waste paper basket when working at an agricultural research organisation in 1975.

Norman Wilson Dig for Victory Now 1940 - £650 December 2017



Rarely Seen Spanish Civil War Posters

In the same family's ownership since 1937


Over the past thirty years Onslows have only sold a handful of posters from this conflict, examples of the posters are represented in public collections including the Victoria and Albert Museum, Imperial War Museum and in institutional collections in the United States and Spain. So, it is a rare privilege to be able to offer for sale by auction a representative group of the propaganda posters   The collection we are to sell originally held twelve posters, however the family who have owned them since the conflict decided to present five examples to family members, in memory of their relative who had collected them whilst in Spain in the 1930’s where he was supporting the Republican cause of the Civil War.




1. Engrave on your heart, To Attack is To Win £600-800

2. Against the military bullying, the invincible force of the Proletariat £600-800

3.The hordes attempt to invade our land Anti-Fascists! £800-1200 

The commitment of artists to the Republican and anti-Fascist cause made the Spanish Civil War posters vigorous. Revolutionary conditions prevailed and in Valencia, Barcelona and Madrid printers and publishers were collectivized. Commercial and fine artists volunteered their skills for the Ministry of Propaganda for the Defence of Madrid and Catalan Government employed artists to design its posters. The artists were given free range to design the posters with the militias, political parties and trade unions adding their own slogans before sending them off to the printers. Designs were sometime selected by popular vote. The posters defined political territories within the cities and were seen pasted on to street walls and furniture, shop windows, kiosks and on trams and buses. In Homage to Catalonia George Orwell’s account of the war he comments that saw posters everywhere, flaming from the walls in reds and blues and made other poster advertisements look like daubs of mud. The posters we are offering for sale represent well the different artistic styles, including art deco, caricature and avant-garde. The posters certainly became very collectable and quickly after their publication members of the International Brigades acquired them to send back home, sensing they represented history in the making. They were also given to visiting dignitaries and featured in the press. Many civilians from over fifty countries volunteered for the International Brigades in support of the Republic, it had become a cause célèbre WITH well know figures included Ernest Hemmingway, Laurie Lee and Willy Brandt and possibly the owner of the collection we are offering.

The auction takes place online on Friday 15 December 2017 with viewing by appointment at our Dorset Office the week preceding. The Catalogue will be available to view online three weeks prior to the auction.

 Click below for News Story in the Daily Mail


Onslows next auction

Digs Deep for Victory




Onslows will be also be offering a rare near complete collection of posters and ephemera from the 1940’s campaign to get the public to grow their own vegetables, this was to help British Merchant Shipping with the movement of troops and armaments, rather than be caught up with the import of amounts of fruit and vegetables from abroad. The Ministry of Agriculture came up the slogan “Dig for Victory” in 1940, with advertising campaigns to encourage individuals with a garden or small plot to dig it up and to get growing.  Large quantities of promotional material were produced and sent out to local councils, to send to Allotment holders, village produce associations and to be handed out at green grocer’s shops. Amongst the ephemera is a small slip labelled “Dig for Victory” Campaign 1940/1 its states the following figures show the extent of the demands for publicity material, it shows that 207,606 Dig for Victory posters had been distributed, a considerable print run, today the poster rarely comes up for sale, showing how truly ephemeral the poster is. The collection we are selling is probably a complete set of posters and leaflets which we know were sent to a now long defunct agricultural research organisation at Llanishen, near Cardiff, the vendor who was a research scientist at the establishment in 1975, he saved the collection from been thrown away. Estimates for the posters vary from £300-400 to £100-150 the total value of the collection is around  £1500.

Click below for Wartime Ministry film “Dig for Victory”

The auction takes place online on Friday 15 December 2017 with viewing by appointment at our Dorset Office the week preceding. The Catalogue will be available to view online three weeks prior to the auction.



Onslows - Article from the Antiques Trade Gazette




Onslows Finest Vintage Posters for the Discerning Collector


We are pleased and honoured to be selling a very stylish single owner collection of vintage posters.  The collection was formerly displayed in a house in Chelsea and each is beautifully presented in exhibition quality frames.  The group is quite diverse, firstly we would like to promote the Roger Soubie (1898-1984) poster for the 1930 film "Avalanche" the dramatic design shows a monoplane flying over Mont Blanc, the adventure movie starring Leni Riefenstahl was also known as Storm over Mont Blanc and was directed by Arnold Franck, this wonderfully atmospheric poster is estimated at £700-1000.  Here is a selection of our favourites.



The 1927 poster for the Grand Garage Dar El Maghzen in Rabat Morocco conjures up memories of a time when the wealthy tourist would ship their motor car ahead to be cared for in the Hotel's secure parking, on this occasion the glamorous owner has dispensed with the Chauffer, a very rare poster which we expect to sell for in excess of £1500.



In the 1930's Atelier Draeger were one of Paris's finest printing establishments, naming amongst others A M Cassandre as one of their top in house designers, the poster we are selling simply titled Peugeot 402 is not signed but could well have been designed by the great man himself, the clever draughtsmanship gives an impression of space inside the car, the poster is rather beautifully presented in faux wood frame, the estimate is £1500-2000.



One poster that we didn't have in our 2014 World War One auction, was the Airships and Aircraft Public Warning Silhouettes poster, rarely seen on the market it is expected to sell for between £500 and £700.  The poster recommends that should hostile aircraft be seen to take immediate shelter in the nearest house, preferably in the basement.  The likely hook is that the poster was published soon after the German bombing in London by German Airships in 1915, once the RFC had learnt how to shoot down the enemy airships, the action of Flying Officer Leefe Robinson being the most celebrated, the threat of attacks on home soil was eliminated.



Other notable lots in our winter vintage auction include two early Michelin posters featuring the famous tyre man Mr Bibendum, one charming design by Fabiano is prices at £600-800 and the other by O'Galop of the classic bicycling trademark is likely to exceed its low estimate of £700.  The charming Cycles E Dion Bouton harks back to days when you could cycle by the sea with your four legged friend without a care in the world.  This poster dated 1925 should sell for between £700 and £1000.



The auction takes place online on Friday 16th December 2016 with viewing by appointment at our Dorset Office the week preceding.  The catalogue is available to view online now.



The Summer Auction

Stunning results for railway advertising artworks



Not surprisingly the original artworks for London and North and North Eastern Railway from the Albert Cook collection attracted very competitive bidding with twelve watercolours of notable landmarks and holiday destinations trebling their estimates, the highest price achieved was £2520 for the finely detailed view of Whitby painted by Rowland Hilder circa 1937, another of the River Orwell at Ipswich by Leonard Squirrell went for £2200.



From another vendor two early oil paintings by Norman Wilkinson which were designs for the London Midland Scottish Railway posters Royal Scot leaves Euston and Tilbury for the Continent despite being in poor albeit original untouched condition made £5400 and £4200 respectively.  The first part of the Albert Cook collection of LNER Carriage prints made a total approaching £10,000, it was the most comprehensive collection of the prints sold by Onslows.  The highest price for a carriage print was £360 for William Lee-Hankey's view of Whitby published in 1945 as part of the etching series.



We offered a good collection of railway posters from a single vendor, notable amongst these was Norman Wilkinson's LMS Tilbury for the Continent at £1500, Heysham for Ulster £1200 and Garston The LMS Merseyside Port for £1590.  A classic Great Western Railway poster by Charles Mayo, Speed to the West, went over estimate for £3420.  Another rare pointillism design for the GWR for Cornwall by Roland Lampitt sold for £2160.



In other areas two early Kodak posters sold to the USA for £588 and £672.  Fougasse's WW2 Careless Talk Costs Lives set of eight made £1530.  The best price achieved for the section of French travels posters was £2475 for Roger Broder's Monte-Carlo printed in 1928.  Amongst the pre war airline posters a rare design for British Airways made £672, and Marc Severin's Imperial Airways poster brochure from 1932 fetched £600.  A rare anonymous poster for New Zealand Shipping Line circa 1929 sold £612.




The Summer Auction Thursday 14 July 2016 at 2.00 pm


Original watercolour artwork design LNER Carriage Panel for Whitby by Rowland Hilder c.1938


Our summer auction is shaping up to be one of our most interesting in recent years as far as single owner collections go.  We will be selling one of the most complete collections we have ever seen of London and North Eastern Railway Carriage prints, there are one hundred thirty one different panels depicting holiday destinations on the Eastern Region from London to the Highlands, with the collection are also twelve of the rarely seen original watercolour artwork designs for the panels.  The Railway publicity department of LNER had a great reputation for the quality of their posters and publicity material using the foremost commercial designers and artists of the day including Rowland Hilder, Leonard Squirrell, Kenneth Steel and Jack Merriott.  The collection was saved from being thrown away at Liverpool Street Station in the 1960's by Albert Cook who was working in the advertising department.  He started his career in 1947 aged seventeen working in the newly formed BR in the wagon control department at the District Operating Superintendents office in Sunderland.  He was called up for National Service in the Royal Navy in 1948.  He returned to the railways in 1950 securing a job in railway advertising, he had always had a love of art having studied at Sunderland College of Art and in 1951 was promoted to print production at the HQ in York.  Later he became head of advertising output of the Eastern Region, meeting and commissioning may of the artists whose work is represented in the collection we are selling.  We will also be offering for sale from his collection some rare Frank H Mason LNER posters and Terence Cuneo's original sketch design for the poster "Clear Road Ahead", it is annotated in Cuneo's hand with notes to Albert Cook about its potential for being a good poster.  Estimates for the original works start at £800 with some selling for in excess of £2000.  For the Carriage prints estimates will range from £50 to £300 per lot.


The artwork for Norman Wilkinson's LMS poster Tilbury for the Continent c1928


Another great hoard we have the good fortune to be auctioning is a superb group of posters from the London Midland & Scottish Railway, there are three by Norman Wilkinson including Tilbury for Continent together with the original oil painting artwork illustrated above, this is estimated at £5000-8000 with its poster at £1500-1800.  Amongst the other treasures we discovered in the collection in the Lake District was the oil painting artwork for the wonderfully evocative poster "Royal Scot leaves Euston", Frank H Mason's double royal series East Coast Craft and Haven and Harbours, the famous Great Western Railway Chas H Mayo's Speed to the West, and a wonderfully humorous London Underground poster for Regent's Park, from the Southern Railway we will be offering William Lionel Wylie's poster of HMS Victory this beautiful and rare poster dates from 1928 and is estimated to sell for £800-1200.


William Lionel Wyllie (1851-1931) HMS Victory poster for Southern Railway 1923


The Schools Prints A Romantic Project is the title of a recent book written by Ruth Artmonsky.  The book tells the fascinating story of the series of lithographs where conceived and that although the original concept was to provide art for schools in austere post war Britain, the concept of the prints was conceived before the war following the success of the GPO series of posters produced for free circulation amongst schools, where the GPO posters promoted the empire, and in some respects had echo’s of the earlier Empire Marketing Board posters of the 1920’s so brilliantly driven Stephen Tallents the Schools prints of Series 1 and 2 where really posters designed with artistic freedom by outstanding contemporary artists some showing different aspects of typical life in Great Britain and others lessons in different styles of art, the lithographs were a much needed boost to morale following the second world war.  

Onslows will be selling a complete set of the prints produced in  1946 and 1947 and known as Series 1 and 2 comprising twenty-four lithographs, and several later prints including Henry Moore’s Sculptural Objects and two others done for the Festival of Britain. Prices will range from £150 to £1000.

The School Prints, lithographs by Kenneth Rowntree, John Nash, Edwin La Dell and Felix Kelly each 76 x 51 cm


We will be returning to the Chalke Valley History Festival this Summer exhibiting the railway carriage artworks and prints, the School Prints and other selected lots from the auction. The Festival takes place near Salisbury from 27 June to 3 July. The auction takes place online on Thursday July 14 2016 with viewing by appointment at our Dorset Office the week preceding. The Catalogue will be available to view online three weeks prior to the auction.


W H Margetson (1861-1940), lithograph advertising poster for display on Bus, Tram or Tube, c.1920 - 27 x 102cm

Estimate £400-600



Onslows Auctioneers

Our Thirty-first year of Selling VINTAGE POSTERS

The Winter Auction Friday 18 December 2015 at 2.00 pm


Allinson (Adrian 1890-1959) Cornwall GWR, SR, original poster Ad 5492 printed by McCorquodale 1946

102 x 127 cm

Estimate £1000-1500


Including Part 2 of "GPO" posters from the Collection of the British Postal Museum & Archive 1930 to 1970 and a World War 1 American, British, German and French Propaganda single owner collection.


James Montgomery Flagg All for One and One for All! Vive La France, original poster printed USA - 103 x 72 cm

Estimate £200-300


Other Vintage posters include: 1950's European Travel Collection, Shell, Imperial Airways, a set of WW2 German Aircraft cutaway Air diagrams and other WW2 propaganda.


A M Cassandre (1901-1968) L'Oiseau Bleu, Train Pullman,

original poster printed by L Danel Lille 1929- 100 x 62 cm

Estimate: £2500-3500


And amongst the great selection of railway posters


F Matania (Fortunino 1881-1963) Southport, original poster printed for LMS by Jarrold c.1930 - 102 x 127 cm

Estimate: £6000-9000


Viewing by appointment the preceding week at our Dorset Office.  Catalogue and commission bidding available now.  For further information please contact Patrick Bogue, Onslow Auctions Limited, The Coach House, Manor Road, Stourpaine, Dorset, DT11 8TQ. Telephone 01258 488838 or 07831 473400 or email us


Michael Aryton (1921-1975) Ploughing, New life to the land, original poster No 10 printed by Waterlow 1948 -

76 x 102 cm

Estimate: £300-400


Lili Rethi Motor Transport -  Estimate: £1000-1500


Harold S Williamson Loading Airmails - Estimate: £600-800


Onslows Auctioneers have been instructed to sell the second part of a rare collection of posters published by the GPO (General Post Office) between the 1930s and 1960s.  These posters are duplicates of those that can be found in the British Postal Museum & Archive collection, housed in central London.  The proceeds of the sale will go towards delivering The Postal museum, a new national museum due to open in 2016.  Many of the posters are in the rare 40 x 50 inches format.  The earliest posters in the collection date from the 1930’s and hark back to the days of the British Colonies, with evocative titles including “Outposts of Empire” Ceylon and Australia and “Outposts of Britain” Lands End and Northern Ireland.  The best poster designers of the day were commissioned by Sir Stephen Tallents who after great success with poster design at the Empire Marketing Board moved to the GPO in 1933.  Amongst the designers used are Edward McKnight Kauffer, John Armstrong, Eric Fraser, John Vickery, Austin Cooper and A R Thompson, MacDonald Gill and Chas Pears all of which there examples of in the auction.  The Post Office’ s aim was to use posters to inform the public about their services of post, telephone and airmail and the modernisation of the organisation. Estimates for the collection range from £100 to 1500.



We will also be offering a collection of one hundred WW1 posters from a private single owner collection, amongst them are some classics by American designers which have become iconic images, included are Cornelius Hick's Our Greatest Mother £70-100, Neysa McMein's One thousand YMCA girls in France £200-250 and James Montgomery Flagg's All for One and One for All £200-300.  Other posters on offer include Kemp Welch's Forward to Victory! £800-1200 and Barnett Freedman's wonderful 1941 National Gallery lithograph 15 Inch Gun Turret HMS Repulse £1000-1500. In the British posters we have the rare and very provocative art deco Southport Lido by Fortunino Matania, the same poster sold in these rooms in 2006 for £7000.  Perhaps the largest poster we have ever offered at auction, is Charles Brown's Southern Railway "South For Sunshine" the sepia photographic poster measuring 3 by 2 metres is estimated to sell for between £1800-2200. 



We are now accepting entries for our Spring 2016 auction of Vintage posters



Onslows to sell rare GPO posters from

The British Postal Museum & Archive


Onslows Auctioneers have been instructed to sell a rare collection of posters published by the GPO (General Post Office) between the 1930s and 1960s.  These posters are duplicates of those that can be found in The British Postal Museum & Archive collection, housed in central London.  The proceeds of the sale will go towards delivering The Postal museum, a new national museum due to open in 2016.  Many of the posters are in the rare 40 x 50 inches format.  The earliest posters in the collection date from the 1930’s and hark back to the days of the British Colonies, with evocative titles including “Outposts of Empire” Ceylon and Australia and “Outposts of Britain” Lands End and Northern Ireland.  The best poster designers of the day were commissioned by Sir Stephen Tallents who after great success with poster design at the Empire Marketing Board moved to the GPO in 1933.  Amongst the designers used are Edward McKnight Kauffer, John Armstrong, Eric Fraser, John Vickery, Austin Cooper and A R Thompson, all of which there examples of in the auction.  The Post Office’ s aim was to use posters to inform the public about their services of post, telephone and airmail and the modernisation of the organisation. Estimates for the collection range from £100 to 1500.

We have a great collection of Porsche Racing posters and other related memorabilia collected by a member of the Stuttgart factory styling department in the early 1970’s, the posters feature the factories racing successes including Le Mans, Daytona, Brands Hatch and Sebring featuring Steve McQueen, the estimates on these go from £150 up to £500 for McQueen. A colourful group of posters from the 1930’s golden era of the Indian Raj have come to light and we will be including several rarities including the amazing before its time pop art style Ajanta Frescoes, the famous view of the Taj Mahal  and Big Cats at Travancore the best will set you back by £1500. If vintage aeroplanes float your boat then a not seen before group of posters and ephemera from the 1930’s Air Display and Circus team of the WW1 RFC pilot Sir Alan Cobham may be for you, the poster for his 1934 Air Display is expected to fetch up to £300. The collection also includes Imperial Airways items all having belonged to a Capt. Joe King who was Cobham’s Senior display pilot.

The auction has over four hundred lots with too many great posters to mention here in detail, but in brief notable subjects include The Kodak Girl series from 1913 of which there are four, a single owner collection of WW2 Home Front propaganda including rare examples by Fougasse and Zero, a good selection of WW1 recruiting posters including Kitchener “Wants You”.


A rare set of six London Transport posters from 1944 by Walter Spradbery which show famous city landmarks standing firm amongst bomb damaged buildings where published to lift morale among the Blitz worn city dwellers, these are estimated to fetch £2000-4000 and will be sold individually.

The online auction takes place on 9 July at 2.00pm.


Onslows Keep Calm and Carry On

Achieving High Prices

The most notable price in our Christmas auction of vintage posters held online on 18th December 2014 was for the 1940 Home Front now world iconic status poster “Keep Calm and Carry On”, the double crown 76 x 51 cm format poster which had been intended for issue in the event of the anticipated invasion sold for a premium inclusive £18,000 the buyer is based in the Middle East and it is a record price for a World War 2 poster.

Other posters from World War 2 also attracted considerable interest, with this area of the poster market enjoying marked growth in recent years, with many new buyers from the internet finding our auctions and competitive bidding is pushing prices in an upward direction, this has also been aided by one or two fine collections appearing for the first time for sale. Onslows have always been keen on the propaganda posters of both World Wars and have sold some amazing collections over the last thirty years. In the early 90’s we sold the Edwin Embleton (commissioning director of the MOI in WW2) collection over  several auctions, in the intervening years there has been a 100% increase in prices for the best posters. In our recent sale highlights include several Fougasse for Salvage selling for prices between £290 and £550, Roland Pitchforth’s Steel works poster before lettering made £500, and two sizes of the famous Dig for Victory spade poster sold for £485 and £650 respectively.

We were lucky enough to win a collection of GPO posters discovered in a skip following the closure of the City of London Central Post Office, the collection comprising fifty posters included some rarities sold for a total of £6500, amongst the collection were some rarely seen larger format posters, including a futuristic WW2 design by Austin Cooper titled “Wireless World” selling for £750, H.S Williamson’s Loading Airmails at Croydon Airport was bid to £700 and quad royal by MacDonald Gill Post Office map for Mail Steamship Services sold mid estimate for £800.

British Railway posters featured as usual in the sale with a lovely art deco poster by Borlase Smart of St Ives selling for £1000 and a rare early London Underground poster of bust crowds at Charing Cross Station by the American artist Joseph Pennell finding a buyer for £550. His work was admired by the great and renowned official war artist C.R.W. Nevinson, Pennell made an impression on the highly regarded British artist and this can be clearly seen in his early etchings.  Other notable prices achieved were £1900 for Franz Lenhart’s 1930’s Austrian Ski poster and McKnight Kauffer’s large British Empire Marketing board poster “Bananas” this sold above estimate for £800. Lastly a small group of not seen before RSPCA posters dating from the early 1930’s for dogs and caged birds sold to the US for £800.


The Vintage Posters Auction

18 December 2014
Including Part Two of the Maxted Collection of First World War Posters,

Propaganda Posters of the Second War including

the iconic Second World War Poster “Keep Calm and Carry On”

Part One of a GPO collection 1935 -1950, RSPCA rare group from the 30’s,

Movie Horror and Sci-Fi, British Railways and Advertising products


Our winter offering of vintage posters will include part two of the Maxted collection of WW1 posters, The collection of nearly one hundred posters was discovered in a house in Kent, the owners who had inherited the collection some years before had not fully appreciated what was in their possession. Their interest in finding more about the posters was sparked with the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War. When they looked more closely they realised they had a nearly complete collection of posters published by the Parliamentary Recruiting Committee between 1914 and 1916, the second part of the collection includes some famous posters with patriotic slogans including Your King and Country Need You estimate £200-250, If the Cap Fits You estimate £200-250, The Empire Needs Men estimate £200-300, The Recruiting Sergeant estimate £350-400.



Your King and Country Need You

Original Parliamentary Recruiting Committee poster Nos 5, red and blue

Letterpress printed by L.S. & Co and Hazell Watson October 1914 - 76 x 50 cm




Arthur Wardle (1864-1949)

The Empire Needs Men! The Overseas States

All answer the call

Original Parliamentary Recruiting Committee poster No 58 printed by Straker Bros March 1915 - 76 x 51 cm

This is the poster issued to replace the version that had omitted South Africa which had not been included in the list of Countries that had answered the call of duty, the revised version was immediately issued replacing the offending list with the wording "Overseas States"


Bernard Partridge (1861-1945)

Take up the Sword of Justice

Original Parliamentary Recruiting Committee poster No 111

Printed by David Allen June 1915 - 76 x 51 cm

This famous recruiting poster published two months after the sinking of the RMS Lusitania on 7 May 1915 maximising the propaganda opportunity over the public's outrage over the German Navy sinking the Flagship Cunarder.  It was said to have brought the American's into the War.  Partidge drew illustrations for books and for the press joining Punch in 1891, becoming chief cartoonist in 1909.  He was Knighted in 1945 and continued to work up until his death.

One of the top lots from the Second World War propaganda section of the auction is the poster with now world famous slogan “Keep Calm and Carry On” the poster is extremely rare due to it not being officially released as Hitler’s Invasion plans in 1940 were aborted**. Only a handful of the posters in the larger 30 x 20 inches format have appeared on the market the example in the auction is estimated to sell for £5000-7000. The auction contains a strong entry from this category with eye catching designs by Fougasse for salvage campaigns and a marvellous large poster by Clive Uptton showing the D- day landings entitled “Save Fuel for Battle”. On the Home Front we will also be selling the memorable poster “Dig For Victory”, the photographic design of the boot on the spade became one of the most loved relating to the Women’s Land Army efforts to turn land over for food production in 1940 it could sell for in excess of £1000. 

Clive Uptton (1911-2006)

Save Fuel for Battle!

Original WW2 poster issued by the Ministry of Fuel & Power

Printed for HMSO by J Weiner circa 1944 - 152 x 100cm

**This poster has now become one of the most famous propaganda icons of World War 2, and the irony is that the poster was never displayed in public. In September 1939 Keep Calm  and two other letterpress posters had been put into production, Freedom is in Peril... and Your Courage... were displayed in public places, but the third now  recognised the World over with the unforgettable slogan was not, it is now widely accepted that it was held back in anticipation of an invasion of Britain by the enemy or a  severe air raid. The "Phoney War"  being the period September 1939 to May 1940  proved to be largely uneventful for the Home Front and the poster was never used. A change in the attitude to the wording probably contributed to the poster never being used.  Although many thousands in several sizes were printed only a few examples have appeared for sale, this example is in the larger double crown format of which according to HMSO records 496,50 were printed.  


Keep Calm and Carry On, original WW2 poster

Red background with white lettering and Crown,

Printed 1939 - 74.8 x 50.5 cm


Dig For Victory, original photogravure WW2 poster

Printed for HMSO by J Weiner 1941 - 51 x 34 cm

The most famous of the Home Front posters and the first of a number of designs using the same slogan "Dig for Victory" the poster is in rarely seen larger format and is the most effective in terms of simplicity of design and its very clear message. Please follow the link to watch a Wartime public information film on Dig for Victory campaign.


A very rare group of posters issued by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) in the 1930’s are expected to attract interest of  from animal lovers, the posters mainly deal with issues of canine welfare, the poster were discovered in a house clearance in Weymouth in Dorset. One showing the risk of motor cars is estimated £150-200.


E P Kinsella (Edward Patrick born 1874)

Look well ahead for dogs near the road - and slow down

Original Poster No 226 printed for the RSPCA circa 1930 - 76 x 51 cm


Lastly, and definitely worth a mention is a collection of posters published by the GPO (General Post Office) the posters were discovered in a skip after the closure of a large central London Post Office. The collection includes some rare examples dating from 1935to the 1950’s, a futuristic poster designed by Pat Keely in 1943 “Wireless War” this is expected to sell for between £700-1000. The posters smacks of Espionage and Bletchley Park.


Pat Keely (died 1970)

Wireless War

Original GPO poster PRD 323

Printed by Haycock Press 1943 - 74 x 92 cm

Onslows specialises in auctioning Vintage Posters and is celebrating its 30th Anniversary this year.



Onslows achieve a remarkable price for a famous but

very rare First World War poster



Alfred Leete, who joined the Artists’ Rifles 1916 was already a commercial artist of note when he designed the famous poster “Britons Lord Kitchener Wants You”, showing the finger pointing moustachioed secretary of state for war asking men to “Join Your Country’s Army”. The desirability of an original version is clear, the poster sold in the online auction held by Onslows on the 9th July for premium inclusive price of £27,450, a house record for the auctioneers and probably a record price for War poster.  The carefully considered estimate of £10,000 to 15,000 was justified in the end with three commission bidders offering up to £13,000 before a telephone bidder fought it out against the winning internet bidder, the poster eventually selling to an English collector based in the Middle East.


Despite being such a well-known image, as an original recruitment poster it is incredibly rare, with only perhaps four known survivors from late 1914. One is in the Imperial War Museum, another in the State Library of Victoria in Melbourne, and Robert Opie founder of the Advertising and Packaging Museum is believed to have one in his collection.

Printed by the Victoria House Printing Company in September 1914 it measures 75 x 51 cm. The Onslows poster was bought at Christie’s South Kensington in 1983 for £80 and has remained in a private collection ever since.


Leete’s (1882-1933) drawing had first appeared on the front cover of London Opinion on September 5, 1914, almost exactly a month after the outbreak of the war. As Britain did not have conscription at that time, Lord Kitchener - the hero of Khartoum - asked the public for a further 100,000 volunteers. In this original composition, the portrait of Kitchener was printed above the text Your Country Needs You. When turned into the Government poster the text was altered to the stronger worded slogan.


There was some suggestion it was never used as a recruiting poster but proof of the design being displayed publicly in 1914 has now come to light in two photographs, one showing the poster on a hoarding with others published by the PRC at Liverpool Exchange Station on December 15, 1914 and the other posted in several positions on pillars of Chester’s Town Hall. 


Paul Nash’s 1918 Controversial “Void of War” Exhibition poster printed in May 1918 by Vincent Brooks Day & Son sold for a strong price of £8250, the very rare 76.5 x 51cm lithograph poster is the only one that we could find a record of been offered at auction for at least thirty years. The emotive and powerful image probably showing the smashed Chateau Wood, Ypres, October 1917Chateau Wood Ypres in October 1917 was designed by Nash and was available to buy as a limited edition etching in the 1918 exhibition and is as rare today as the poster is.


£90,000 netted for attic discovery Maxted Collection of First World War Recruiting Posters


In the same sale, Onslows also sold one of the most complete collections of Parliamentary Recruiting Committee posters to have come on the market in recent years. They were discovered in an attic in Kent by Arthur Maxted 72, who had inherited them 30 years before but had not fully appreciated what was in his possession.


His interest in finding out more about the posters was sparked by the looming centenary of the outbreak of the war.


An additional discovery of a suitcase added more posters, virtually in pristine condition, with a file of correspondence from 1917-1921 throwing light on the background of the collection. It seems likely that Arthur Maxted’s Grandfather was actually involved in selling the posters either on behalf of H M Government’ s Stationary Office or on his own account, maybe the first record of a poster dealer. The posters were being sold in complete sets to libraries, institutions and private individuals around the world, it is noted that a set of the PRC posters was selling for around 100 Guineas £20,000 in today’s money.


Onslows actually ended up selling two Maxted sets: the first, a complete collection of the posters published by the PRC from 1914-16, sold with the correspondence and a rare HMSO Catalogue of War Literature (meaning the posters) for sale and dated 1921, went as a whole in a private treaty sale. The buyer was a British collector with Welsh connections (the Maxted posters include many versions printed in Welsh). The second – reserve collection – set was missing 17 posters from the overall PRC group but posters from other vendors were added so it was virtually complete. The total price for both sets ended up being about the same total, despite the different methods of sale.


The private treaty sale of the complete PRC posters collection made £50000, while the reserve collection sold at auction £38,000.


In the auction, the classic PRC poster “Daddy what did you do in the Great War” sold for £1300, the poster 76 x 51 cm numbered No 79  and dating from around March 1915 was designed by Savile Lumley (died 1949). The poster although popular when it was published, was later criticised on the grounds of distortion and exploitation. It shows how earlier appeals to patriotism to recruit volunteers gave way to more direct and cynical messages, even targeting wives and children to create emotional blackmail.  The idea for the design came to Arthur Gunn, the owner of the printers Johnson Riddle on a sleepless night, who had wondered what the outcome of not volunteering might be after the war was over, shortly afterwards he joined the Westminster Rifles.


All prices include a buyer’s premium of 18%.


PRC poster No 73 April 1915 £1180


Paul Nash £8260 and Kemp-Welch £1120


PRC No 104 May 1915 £365



For news stories on the Great War Centenary auction please click on the links below:


Click here to read the-saleroom News story on Great War Posters


Click here to view the Channel 5 News story on Onslows Great War Posters


Click here to view the Forces TV story on Onslows Great War Posters

Click here to view the ITV News story on Onslows Great War Posters

Click here to view the story on the opening of the Princess Mary Gift boxes

Click here to view the BBC news story on the opening of the Princess Mary Gift boxes

Click here to read the Daily Mail Articles on the Great War Posters

The Great War Centenary Sale

Onslows are delighted to announce that they will be offering for sale one of the most complete collections of World War One recruiting posters to have come on the market in thirty years.

The collection of nearly two hundred posters was discovered in a house in Kent, the owners who had inherited the collection some years before had not fully appreciated what was in their possession. Their interest in finding more about the posters was sparked with the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War. When they looked more closely they realised they had a nearly complete collection of posters published by the Parliamentary Recruiting Committee between 1914 and 1916.  A recent additional discovery of a suitcase containing more posters meant that the series is now complete.  An exciting file of correspondence has come to light dating from 1917 to 1921 showing that the posters had belonged to his grandfather who appears to have been involved in disposing of surplus posters on behalf of His Majesty's Stationary Office to Libraries, Institutions and private individuals around the World.  This extremely important archive will be offered for sale with the posters.

With an inevitability of war approaching and an acute recruiting shortfall, by the 7 August 1914 Parliament had authorised an increase in the Army of half a million men. The Parliamentary Recruiting Committee was established in the reception room at 12 Downing Street on 31 August 1914 comprising thirty-two members including eleven Conservative, seven Liberal and four Labour MPs. The PRC’s guiding principle was to use local party constituency organisations to assist the War Office in establishing orderly recruiting. A Publications Sub Department was set up to commission the posters with the HM Stationary Office overseeing the printing of the posters. In many cases the different printing companies commissioned came up with their own designs using in house designers and in some case well established artists. The posters were then passed as fit for purpose by the PRC. The output of many of the posters was vast with print runs of tens of thousands not considered unusual.

The posters play on the conscience of the British public with some of the now famous slogans “Daddy What did you do in the Great War”, England Expects Every Man to do his Duty, He’s Happy and Satisfied Are You?, Step into your place, We’re both needed to serve the guns!, and Forward, Forward to Victory. The majority of them are brightly pictorial, as the campaign for recruitment approached 1916 the compulsory enlistment of all fit men was looming and the posters took a more sinister stark and to the point form with letterpress titles that did not hide their purpose, these include Single Men First, More Men are Wanted, The Prime Ministers Pledge to Married Men, A Mere Promise to Enlist is of No Value and Single Men! Last Days for Voluntary Enlistment.

The collection will be sold in separate lots and is expected to realise in excess of £20,000.

A public exhibition of the collection will be held at the Chalke Valley History Festival in the beautiful Wiltshire countryside from 23 to 29 June 2014. An internet auction of the posters and other Great War material will follow on Wednesday 9 July 2014.

Onslows specialises in auctioning Vintage Posters and is celebrating its 30th Anniversary this year.

Contact Patrick Bogue 01258 488838  

Ends February 2014



Under the carpet cache of vintage railway posters sell for £20,000


The most sought after lots in our December 20th auction were a collection of 1940’s British Railway posters which had been recently unearthed in a house in the suburbs of Edinburgh. The property had been bought by a property developer as a renovation project, and whilst pulling up the worn and ancient carpets he stumbled upon a treasure trove of brightly coloured holiday posters. Resorts and destinations of the posters included Isle of Man, Blackpool, New Brighton, Southend-on-Sea, Harrogate, Brighton and Hove and others. In some cases there were more than one copy, the posters had been used as lining paper laid over floor boards for the carpet. Although some were damaged as the builder had not initially realised what the lining paper was, most have survived in good condition and as fresh as they day they were printed. Prices for the posters ranged from £500 to £2300.


Sep E Scott (1879-1962)

Blackpool, printed for LMS by London Lithographic Co. 1949 - 102 x 127 cm

Estimate: £1500-2000 sold for £1824 inc premium


Chas Pears (1873-1958)

Isle of Man, printed for RE (LMR) by Stafford 1949 - 102 x 127 cm

Estimate: £1000-1500 sold for £2310 inc premium


Geo Dixon

New Brighton Wallasey, Cheshire Coast,

printed for The Railway Executive (London Midland Region) 1949

by London Lithographic - 102 x 127 cm Estimate £1000-1500

sold for £1216 inc premium


Frank H Mason (1875-1965)

Southend-on-Sea,  printed for BR (ER) by Waterlow circa 1950 - 102 x 127 cm

Estimate: £1000-1400 sold for £1460 inc premium


Other notable results included a total of £4500 for a collection of small posters by Kenneth Bird aka Fougasse, a set of seven of the Careless Talk Cost Lives series made £1337 with several other small format World War 2 posters selling for £300 and four original artwork designs for Austin Reed made a total of £1160.



F C B Cadell Sold for £1216               Heath Robinson Sold for £850     WW2 Home Front Sold for £400

Ends February 2014



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Golden Age Returns to Vintage Poster Auctions