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Poster

  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1903 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    S. H. Benson (advertising agent)
    Nathaniel Lloyd & Co (printer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Colour lithograph, inks on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Ogilvy Benson & Mather Ltd.

  • Museum number:

    E.46-1973

  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 125, Edwin and Susan Davies Gallery, case WS

Object Type
This poster is a colour lithograph, made by printing from a flat surface (traditionally stone, now often a metal plate), on which the artist draws or paints the original design with a greasy substance like chalk. The surface is next prepared, moistened and inked; the greasy printing ink adheres to the design, which is then printed onto a sheet of paper. To make a colour lithograph, a separate printing surface is required for each colour.

Subjects Depicted
Humour was one of the keys to success in the early marketing campaigns for the beef extract Bovril.

Trading
The name Bovril is derived from two words: bos, Latin for 'bull' or 'ox', and vril, a fictional word for an energising juice in Edward Bulwer-Lytton's novel The Coming Race (1871). Sales of Bovril were first recorded in Britain in 1886, at the Colonial and Continental Exhibition at South Kensington. But when Samuel Herbert Benson - a former employee of Bovril Ltd - took over as the firm's advertising agent in the 1890s, business started to boom. His poster strategy, with designers working in close collaboration with copywriters, made Bovril a household name. The name was so recognisable that political cartoonists sometimes adapted the poster imagery in their work; a 1929 election campaign poster for the Conservative Party featured Liberal leader David Lloyd George and Labour leader James Ramsay MacDonald with horns along with the caption 'I hear they want more - Baldwin'.

Physical description

Poster showing two bulls facing each other, one black and one brown, against a yellow-orange background. The text 'I hear they want more' is also in brown at the top. Bovril is prominently in blue block capitals at the bottom.

Place of Origin

London (made)

Date

ca. 1903 (made)

Artist/maker

S. H. Benson (advertising agent)
Nathaniel Lloyd & Co (printer)

Materials and Techniques

Colour lithograph, inks on paper

Marks and inscriptions

I hear they want more / BOVRIL

Dimensions

Height: 115 cm, Width: 76.8 cm

Object history note

Design elements of this poster were reused in the 1929 election campaign poster for the Conservative Party, in which Liberal leader David Lloyd George and Labour leader James Ramsay MacDonald are shown adopting the same position as the two oxen and sporting horns, along with the caption 'I hear they want more - Baldwin'. This poster is also in the V&A Collection.

Descriptive line

'I Hear They Want More Bovril', poster, colour lithograph, issued by S.H. Benson; British, ca. 1903.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Haworth-Booth, Mark. Posters of a Lifetime: Posters from the Archive of S.H. Benson Ltd. (1893-1971) Given to the Victoria and Albert Museum by Ogilvy Benson and Mather Ltd. London, 1973.
Hadley, Peter. The History of Bovril Advertising. London, Bovril Ltd., ca. 1970.

Labels and date

British Galleries:

‘I HEAR THEY WANT MORE BOVRIL’

About 1903

Bovril was the first client of Samuel Herbert Benson, who established a pioneering advertising agency in 1893. Benson’s poster strategy, involving designers working closely with copywriters, made Bovril a household name. Humour was a key to the success of the early campaigns.

Colour lithograph, inks on paper

Issued by S.H. Benson (advertising agent), London; printed by Nathaniel Lloyd & Co., London

Given by Ogilvy Benson & Mather Ltd

Museum no. E.46-1973 [12/2012]

Materials

Printing ink; Paper

Techniques

Colour lithography

Categories

Advertising; Prints; Eating; Shopping; Posters

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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