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Keep a Guard on What You Say

  • Object:

    Poster

  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    1941 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Games, Abram, born 1914 - died 1996 (designer)
    War Office (issued by)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Colour lithograph

  • Credit Line:

    Gift of the American Friends of the V&A; Gift to the American Friends by Leslie, Judith and Gabri Schreyer and Alice Schreyer Batko

  • Museum number:

    E.883-2004

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C, case 3G, shelf DR27

Abram Games designed many British wartime propaganda posters over the course of his military service, including some 100 posters for the Army alone. The designer was Jewish and felt deeply for the victims of atrocities at the hands of Axis forces. This poster promotes wartime vigilance and discretion though the clever pairing of the colloquial phrase "keep a guard on what you say", and Games' visual pun of a man whose mouth is guarded by a sentry.

Physical description

World War II propaganda poster, warning against careless talk. Stylised soldier's face with his mouth represented by another soldier, depicted as a white silhouette standing at ease and holding a gun, and standing in a guard-house with red interior and a black outline.

The larger soldier's face is coloured blue and purple, with green cap and collar, and is set against a black background.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)

Date

1941 (made)

Artist/maker

Games, Abram, born 1914 - died 1996 (designer)
War Office (issued by)

Materials and Techniques

Colour lithograph

Marks and inscriptions

'A. Games / R.E.'
lower right corner

'THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART / 11 WEST 53RD STREET NEW YORK / NEW POSTERS FROM ENGLAND / ARTIST / KEEP A GUARD ON WHAT YOU SAY / CIRCULATING EXHIBITION NO. / MUSEUM NO. P-67 BOX NO.'
Printed onto adhesive label affixed to reverse side. Exhibition title, title of work and museum number are typed.

Dimensions

Height: 74.4 cm, Width: 49.5 cm

Descriptive line

"Keep a guard on what you say" by A. Games, World War II propaganda poster warning against careless talk, Britain, 1941

Materials

Paper; Ink

Subjects depicted

Soldiers; Propaganda; Rifles (long guns); Caps (headgear); War; Mouth (physiological ); Human faces; Secrecy; Silhouettes; Guard-houses

Categories

Prints; Propaganda; Posters

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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