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Britain's Call to Arms libby-war.jpg

Britain's Call to Arms

Item Code: FB-britaincallarm-p-u
Width (cm)
Height (cm)
Date of Work
Base price $7,237
Includes free standard framing and UK delivery
Original lithographic poster, 1914
Britain's Call to Arms poster was designed for the purpose of Army recruiting during World War One

When the First World War began in 1914, the British Parliamentary Recruiting Committee (PRC) commissioned posters to encourage men to enlist in the armed forces. Frank Pick, the commercial manager of the Underground Electric Railways who subsequently gained a historic reputation for setting high standards in advertising graphics, refused to hang the PRC's posters in his stations because of their poor design. Instead he commissioned Frank Brangwyn and Gerald Spencer Pryse. This design by Brangwyn was considered too horrific by the War Office and it asked that the poster be withdrawn. However, it drew such huge numbers of recruits that the War Office relented.

Printed on extra special paper, it was limited to an edition of 30.
Brangwyn offered the six sheet poster design free of charge to the PRC but they refused it as being too stark in its portrayal. Frank Pick of the UERCL obtained the design and bravely published it. Hardie/Sabin heralded it as "the first great poster of the War", whilst Sheldon noted that most recruiting posters were 'cheap and vulgar' in sentiment, as well as poor things in point of design' but the UERCL set higher standard, a notable example being this poster.

Referenced in Libby Horner's - Brangwyn at War!
Frank Brangwyn portraitAnglo-Welsh artist Frank Brangwyn was actually born in Bruges (1867), but his family returned to London when he was eight years old. He took to sketching regularly in his early teens and, aged 18, Brangwyn exhibited at the Royal Academy for the first time. During the 1890s he produced book illustrations, continuing to do this for the rest of his career.

In the 1900s Brangwyn began designing furniture, textiles, ceramics and other media. He was made an Official War artist in World War I, gaining repute through his posters, and was further recognised with an RA appointment (1919) and a knighthood (1941). Brangwyn was given a major retrospective exhibition at the Royal Academy, the first time this honour had been accorded to a living artist.
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