A set of eight Second World War ‘Careless Talk’ posters from 1940 is on offer from Twentieth Century Posters, run by dealer David Bownes.
Each says in bold letters at the bottom careless talk costs lives, while incautious speakers are captioned above. In this case, above, one man says to another …strictly between these four walls! while Hitler gazes down.
The posters were designed by cartoonist Cyril Bird (1887-1965), better known as Fougasse, for the British Ministry of Information and introduced an element of humour into the government’s propaganda campaign. The full set is offered mounted on card with red string hangers, as issued, for £1600.
Bownes features this set in his spring email newsletter. Titled The Joy of Sets, the email features a selection of pair posters intended to be exhibited together plus groups of three, four and eight designed by leading artists including Eduardo Paolozzi and Clifford and Rosemary Ellis.
“Vintage posters were often produced as part of a larger group or series by a single designer for a specific organisation,” Bownes writes.
“Displayed together such groups look absolutely stunning. Not surprisingly, we’re often asked whether we can source sets of original posters. The problem, of course, is that the survival rate of any one historic poster is so random that you could spend a lifetime trying to complete a ‘set’.”