Prepare to be compelled, enticed, coerced, urged and coaxed by the brilliant images and bold statements of World War One propaganda. For the first time, rare highly colourful War posters that drew on the influences of the Parisian posters of Lautrec, yet also inspired the great Hollywood posters and the pop art of Lichtenstein are on display. Eleven stunning powerful American posters form the centrepiece of the new exhibition .
These eleven posters have an air of mystery about them. They don’t date from the same time, they span nearly two years of advertising campaigns – so they were deliberately collected. They must have come from America but were found abandoned in a roof space in a small village on the Sussex Surrey boarder in a cardboard tube – the edges frayed and the odd tear. Fortunately the new owner of the Rudgwick house donated them to us and after conservation the Museum can display them in this commemorative exhibition.
From the dark and sinister tones of John Norton and Walter H. Everett’s designs, to the bright and patriotic images of Howard Chandler Christy and Gerrit A. Beneker’s work, see the amazing variety of posters produced as part of the war effort and Liberty Loan campaign. With eye-catching illustrations, bold graphic design and gallant statements, these posters truly capture a snapshot of the collective effort of American citizens throughout the Great War.
The Americans were not alone in using posters as a powerful form of propaganda to sway and influence their nation. Great Britain produced some iconic images and graphic design, including the most iconic of all Lord Kitchener asking what you could do for your country – that poster is not on display in this exhibition – but the other posters are equally as powerful due to their simplicity. At Horsham Museum are some intriguing posters from the area, such as an order to extinguish lights and even an appeal for blankets for soldiers. These posters reveal collective strength and energy of those on the Home Front supporting the war effort. Also, there are striking national posters, government appeals for volunteers for the army, and an unusual poster warning against conscription.