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'...strictly between these four walls!'

  • Object:

    Poster

  • Place of origin:

    United Kingdom (published)

  • Date:

    1940 (published)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Fougasse, born 1887 - died 1965 (artist)
    Ministry of Information (publisher)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Colour lithograph on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Given by the Ministry of Information

  • Museum number:

    E.2171-1946

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C, case MB2H, shelf DR36, box DISPLAY PREPARATION

Fougasse was art editor of the magazine Punch when World War Two broke out in 1939, and he offered his services free to the British Government. He produced propaganda material for almost every ministry, and his gossiping cartoon characters injected welcome humour into propaganda posters in February 1940. Their popularity set a new tone for official mass communication. Despite an extended and illustrious career as a cartoonist, illustrator and commercial poster designer, it is probably for his 'Careless Talk Costs Lives' posters, issued by the Ministry of Information for display in public transport, that he is best known. Fougasse used the caption of this poster as the title of his BBC radio talk about the dangers of gossip. He tried to convey the concept that in no place was it safe to talk on any subject that related to the War and Britain's part in it, and that any information, once divulged, was beyond control, posing a risk to the nation's security. The humour here derives from the incongruity of the disguise worn by Adolf Hitler, the hated Nazi German leader.

Physical description

'...strictly between these four walls!'; Portrait format poster printed in colours on a white ground. Two gentlemen chatting at their club while above Hitler eavesdrops through a hole cut in a framed painting of a figure in 18th-century costume. Captioned below the illustration in script, then in larger letters at bottom of sheet 'Careless Talk Costs Lives'. The whole in a red line border; Colour lithograph print.

Place of Origin

United Kingdom (published)

Date

1940 (published)

Artist/maker

Fougasse, born 1887 - died 1965 (artist)
Ministry of Information (publisher)

Materials and Techniques

Colour lithograph on paper

Marks and inscriptions

Fougasse
Signature; top left corner; lithography.

Dimensions

Height: 30.5 cm sheet, Width: 20.3 cm sheet

Descriptive line

'...strictly between these four walls!'; Design by 'Fougasse' (Cyril Kenneth Bird); One of the series of 'Careless Talk Costs Lives' posters issued by the Ministry of Information during the Second World War; Great Britain; 1940.

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

Production Note

One of a set of eight images on the theme 'Careless Talk Costs Lives'.

Reason For Production: Commission

Materials

Colour printing ink; Paper

Techniques

Colour lithography

Subjects depicted

Gemtlemen's clubs; Paintings; War; Spying; Spies; Armchairs; Propaganda; Politics

Categories

Propaganda; Politics; Caricatures & Cartoons; Prints; Posters

Production Type

Mass produced

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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