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Blue Cross Tea

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (issued)

  • Date:

    ca. 1900 (issued)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Browne, Stewart (artist)
    The British & Beningtons Tea Trading Association Ltd. (issued by)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Colour lithograph on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Ogilvy Benson & Mather Ltd.

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

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

Object Type
This is a colour lithograph. A lithograph is a picture 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. For a colour lithograph, a separate surface is required for each colour.

The poster is 4-sheet format. British poster dimensions were based on the double-crown sheet unit which measures 30 by 20 inches. Since this poster measures roughly 60 x 40 inches, its size equals 4 double-crown sheets. Standardisation of sizes (4-sheet, 6-sheet, 8-sheet, 16-sheet, etc.) meant that bill posters could paste posters on the hoardings in modular fashion.

Design & Designing

The trademark plays a key role in the design of this bold hoarding poster. The uncluttered design and orange background colour allows the title and Blue Cross brand, on display in the background, to stand out.


By the end of the 19th century, hoardings covered with brightly-coloured posters were a familiar sight. Many of these posters advertised convenience foodstuffs like dried (desiccated) soup, cocoa powder, tinned sardines and bottled sauces, reflecting new consumer demand and retail practice. Advertisers developed techniques of branding and total campaign management to exploit new markets. In this case the advertisers make use of a competition to help draw attention to the product.

Physical description

'Blue Cross Tea' poster with a sticker attached. Featuring a grocer's shop with and display board advertising Blue Cross Tea in the background. A gentleman leaving the shop is carrying a packet of biscuits on the end of his umbrella. The man wears a red waistcoat. The background colour is predominantly mustard yellow which shows off the blues in the text and the trademark displayed in the background.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (issued)


ca. 1900 (issued)


Browne, Stewart (artist)
The British & Beningtons Tea Trading Association Ltd. (issued by)

Materials and Techniques

Colour lithograph on paper

Marks and inscriptions

Stewart / Browne
Signed lower right

Centre right

Shown in display stand in background of image

Across bottom

Lower left

PRIZES £650 / OPEN TO ALL PURCHASERS / CAN YOU SOLVE THE puzzle? / Ask your Grocer for Particulars.
Label fixed to poster


Height: 152.4 cm, Width: 101.6 cm

Descriptive line

'Blue Cross Tea'. Poster issued by The British & Beningtons Tea Trading Association Ltd., London SE. With a sticker attached. Colour lithograph. Signed. By Stewart Browne. Great Britain. c.1900.

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

Summary Catalogue of British Posters to 1988 in the Victoria & Albert Museum in the Department of Design, Prints & Drawing. Emmett Publishing, 1990. 129 p. ISBN: 1 869934 12 1

Labels and date

British Galleries:


About 1900

This poster follows the fashion of the day for bold outlines and flat areas of colour. The uncluttered design and bright yellow background makes the blue product title – and the company brand in the background – stand out.

Colour lithograph, inks on paper

Designed by Stewart Browne (worked between about 1875 and 1900), issued by The British & Beningtons Tea Trading Association Ltd

Given by Ogilvy Benson & Mather Ltd

Museum no. E.13-1973 [12/2012]


Colour printing ink; Paper


Colour lithography

Subjects depicted

Tea; Bow tie; Waistcoat; Grocery store; Men; Umbrella


Shopping; Advertising; Prints; Drinking; Posters


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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