The art of warfare


Last updated at 10:16 PM on 29th May 2010

Wish I’d had money to buy some of these… would love at least one original (particularly Women of Britain)

Your country needs you, Lord Kitchener, Secretary of State for War, famously declared at the start of the First World War in a 1914 recruitment drive poster. Designed by Alfred Leete, the poster proved a huge propaganda success, thanks to Kitchener, his impressive waxed moustache and pointing finger.

Although it ranks as the most famous British wartime poster, it is only one of a huge range of propaganda pieces being sought by investors. First World War posters that could be bought for about £150 a decade ago now sell for upwards of £400.

Second World War examples, previously attractive only to specialist collectors, are also enjoying wider appeal and a bumper rise in prices.

Roy ButlerConfident: Roy Butler says the wartime posters do not seem to date

Roy Butler, 87, partner at military auctioneer Wallis & Wallis in Lewes, East Sussex, believes the continued strength of the images is behind the new demand.

‘The generation with connections to the First World War are dying out while Second World War art work is becoming more appreciated,’ he says.

‘The iconic posters still look fresh, modern and don’t seem to date. They are not only fabulous pieces of art, but of huge historic importance.’

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By Second World War Posters

Mass Communications Academic, @MMUBS. British Home Front Propaganda posters as researched for a PhD completed 2004. In 1997, unwittingly wrote the first history of the Keep Calm and Carry On poster, which she now follows with interest.

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