A banned World War II poster, best known by its nickname ‘the blonde bombshell’, is set to thrill as much as it did in 1941 at The Vintage Posters Sale on now until February 2 online at bonhams.com.
Designed by Abram Games in 1941, this rare vintage poster has become seductively infamous – despite its innocent intentions, and carries an estimate of £2,000-£4,000 in the sale.
The well-meaning poster campaign was aimed at recruiting women to join the Auxiliary Territorial Service, but rapidly attracted widespread and unexpected attention. With pouting red lips, blonde curls and striking lighting reminiscent of a Hollywood film, the glamorous design sparked controversy which rippled throughout the press, the public and even the government. Ultimately deemed as too provocative for the wartime British public, the poster was banned. Not only was it considered too sultry and suggestive, but the poster was also condemned as ‘too Soviet’ by Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
Bonhams Specialist, Richard Barclay, commented: “We are all familiar with the instantly recognisable WWII posters such as Keep Calm and Carry On – a wonderful example of which also features in the sale – but Join the ATS is much rarer and its bombshell status has cemented is place as a desirable vintage poster with a unique backstory.”
Elsewhere in the sale, other highlights from an exceptional single-owner collection of vintage posters includes
Monaco (1935) by Geo Ham (1900-1972). Carrying an estimate of £14,000-16,000.
Bresil-Plata by Sandy Hook (Georges Taboureau). Estimated at £3,000-5,000.
A red and white ‘Keep Calm & Carry On’ poster. Estimated £10,000-15,000.
A truly beautiful Alphonse Mucha (1860-1939) Zodiac ‘La Plume’ poster. Estimated at £10,000-15,000.