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Daddy, what did YOU do in the Great War?

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    United Kingdom (published)
    London (published)

  • Date:

    1915 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Lumley, Savile (artist)
    Parliamentary Recruiting Committee (publisher)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Colour lithograph on paper

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level D, case LP, shelf 32

Until conscription was introduced in 1916, recruitment posters were an essential element in attracting young men to the armed forces during the 'Great War' of 1914-1918. Savile Lumley's poster has become one of the best known because of its tone of emotional blackmail. The idea was actually that of a printer, Arthur Gunn, who is reported to have imagined himself as the father in question. In fact, after having a sketch of the scene made up by Lumley in 1915, Gunn joined the Westminster Volunteers.

Physical description

'Daddy, what did YOU do in the Great War?'. Colour lithograph, portrait format, of man seated in armchair with small boy on floor playing with soldiers. On his knee a small girl holding an open book.

Place of Origin

United Kingdom (published)
London (published)


1915 (made)


Lumley, Savile (artist)
Parliamentary Recruiting Committee (publisher)

Materials and Techniques

Colour lithograph on paper

Marks and inscriptions

'Published by the Parliamentary Recruiting Commission, London.- Poster no. 79.'

'Designed & Printed by Johnson, Riddle & Co. Ltd. London S.E.'


Height: 76.3 cm sheet, Width: 51 cm sheet

Descriptive line

'Daddy, what did YOU do in the Great War?'. Colour lithograph poster designed by Savile Lumley and published by the Parliamentary Recruiting Committee, London, during the First World War, 1915.

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
Taken from Departmental Circulation Register 1969

Production Note

Attribution note: This poster was issued by the Parlimentary Recruiting Commission in 1915. Conscription only began in 1916.
Reason For Production: Commission


Lithographic ink; Paper


Colour lithography

Subjects depicted

Propaganda; Children; Recruitment; War; Toy soldiers; Armchair


Propaganda; Interiors; Prints; Posters

Production Type

Mass produced


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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