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UAL Research Online

Modern publicity: advertising and illustration 1920-70

Rennie, Paul (2005) Modern publicity: advertising and illustration 1920-70. In: Picture this: the artist as illustrator. Herbert Press, pp. 157-178. ISBN 0-7136-7160-2

Type of Research: Book Section
Creators: Rennie, Paul

The teaching of illustration has been an important element in the curriculum at the Central School of Arts and Crafts in London. The Central Saint Martin’s Museum Collection initiated this project, supported by AHRC grants, to present the historical development of illustration and its teaching. Examples from the Museum collection were used to illustrate this project and presented at an exhibition in 2005. The exhibition catalogue, published by The Herbert Press, offered an opportunity to examine this material in detail. My own contribution was to look at the relationship between illustration, publicity and advertising throughout the 20th century and especially with regard to the transformation of commercial art. The historical development of these relations revealed the significance of lithography as the dominant technology of the commercial print environment during the 20th century. The special skills of lithographic drawing were shown to be a specialised interaction of drawing skill and technology. This was presented as exemplifying a tradition opposed to the brutal simplifications of economy imposed by traditional commercial considerations.
The commercial work of artist illustrators was a significant cultural contribution to the changing ideals and values of Britain in the 20th century. The willingness to engage with political ideas and to express the desire for a different world has been a characteristic of this artistic intervention into commercial art.
The catalogue essay was an opportunity to introduce the historical progression of teaching personnel from CSM and to contextualise their work against a shifting backdrop of technological change within the print industry demonstrating that by the 1960s, the embrace of low “consumerist” culture and the multiplication of print outlets had transformed illustration from a commercial art to an integral part of pop culture in Britain.

Keywords/subjects not otherwise listed: RAE2008 UoA63
Publisher/Broadcaster/Company: Herbert Press
Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > Central Saint Martins
Date: 2005
Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2009 22:59
Last Modified: 22 Mar 2013 15:44
Item ID: 1550
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/1550

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