Second World War De Havilland Factory

Industrial Propaganda Posters Come to Light

For Sale by Auction at Onslows on Friday 21st June 2013

A rare collection of nearly forty posters have surfaced 70 years after being salvaged by the vendor who was an employee of the aircraft company. The posters probably represent the entire wartime output of the once well known artist Victor Hicks (1893-1946). He trained at the Slade and in the 1930’s he was designing theatrical and advertising posters as well as illustrating children’s books. During the war he worked for the Ministry of Labour producing a series of posters dealing with the problems of absenteeism and working practises in factories.

Cleverly psychological in their emotional appeal, some of the posters capitalised the hate-your-enemy motif, using Hitler, Goebbels and other well known enemies



The poster on the left was known to have made King George VI laugh

Having attracted attention during a Royal tour of a factory

Victor Hicks had considerable experience in internal factory propaganda, and claimed considerable success in a number of factories with the posters that were designed to tackle individual problems, not only correcting negative habits but by vividly implanting positive thinking in the minds of workers. The posters do not criticise but lecture using humorous imagery and slogans and simple language. They were most effective by regular change and display in canteens and restrooms and also near exits and even right next to machinery constantly catching the worker’s eye. They are deliberately popular in their appeal ignoring art and abstract poster technique. They play on the Englishmen finding the most series of situations sometimes funny and compare well with the Careless Talk posters produced by Fougasse.



 Other propaganda posters by Victor Hicks c.1943


Factory Propaganda posters by Victor Hicks c.1943 £200-300 each


We shall also be offering a collection of Ministry of Information propaganda posters which have recently being discovered in an American Reference Library archive. It would appear that the posters had been sent over to the USA during WW2 by the MOI for reference purposes and not display. The posters were displayed in public to boost morale and report to the British public the allied successes in attacking the enemy with colourful images by some of the best commercial artists of the period. Amongst the seventeen posters the artists include Charles E Turner, Roy Nockolds, Harold Forster, Harold Pym and Jobson. Many of the posters use the titles “Back Them Up!” and “Victory of the Allies is Assured” mostly dating from 1940 the posters were a desperate but successful campaign to give the impression that the Allies were winning the war on all fronts, this was not the not necessarily the truth. The posters are in good original condition and estimates range between £100 to £400.



               Gilbert Rumbold £250-300                  Jobson £300-400                      Roy Nockolds £300-400


Other notable collections of posters to be offered include a single owner collection of Motor and Motor Racing, Montaut and Gamy lithographs, Raleigh and Rudge Cycles, Shell County and Life Series, British Railways, London Transport, Continental Travel and Advertising.

Ends March 2013



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Golden Age Returns to Vintage Poster Auctions