Brangwyn’s War: Posters of the First World War at the Mercer Art Gallery

24 June 2014

Frank Brangwyn was an outstanding poster artist of the First World War.

A restored set of his powerful large scale war posters is on show at the Mercer Art Gallery in Harrogate until January 2015.

These images offer both a unique social insight into the propaganda of the period as well as reflecting the artist’s personal concerns.

This is the first time that the posters, all lithographs, which have recently been cleaned and restored have been displayed by Harrogate Arts and Museums. The posters were donated to the gallery by Harrogate artist and printmaker Oliver Pemsel and the exhibition is curated by Brangwyn expert Dr Elizabeth Horner.

THE MERCER ART GALLERY, Harrogate 17 May – 18 January 2015
Frank Brangwyn was born in Belgium, and as a result he identified closely with its fate in the First World War. The strength of his personal feelings is revealed in his designs, with an early recruitment poster being initially rejected by the War Office as too explicitly horrific and one of the posters in the exhibition, Put Strength in the Final Blow. Buy War Bonds, causing an outcry in Germany.
Frank Pick, General Manager of London Underground and a notable supporter of high quality design, commissioned Brangwyn to produce morale raising posters for London commuters. Brangwyn also produced many posters in support of Belgian relief as well as contributing to the Ministry of Information’s print series ‘Efforts and Ideals’ and designing posters for the National War Savings Committee.

The posters on display include:
Put Strength in the Final Blow. Buy War Bonds was commissioned toward the end of the conflict by the National War Savings Committee, invited the viewer’s contribution to the fight by placing him in the position of the British soldier, and thereby expressed very powerfully how the money from War Bonds could assist toward the final victory. Such was the impact of the poster that the German emperor, Wilhelm II, is said to have a put a price on Brangwyn’s head.
Orphelinat des Armées. Poster issued in aid of the French Army Orphanage during the First World War, depicting the frugal meal of a despairing widow and her three hungry children.
Don’t miss this fascinating display, Brangwyn’s War: Posters of the First World War is at The Mercer Art Gallery (North Gallery), Harrogate from 17 May – 18 January 2015, entry is free.


The Mercer Art Gallery, Swan Road, Harrogate HG1 2SA
Opening times Tuesday-Saturday 10.00am-5.00pm / Sundays 2.00pm-5.00pm
01423 556188
Twitter @MercerGallery

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