While Margate has celebrated connections with WM Turner, TS Eliot, and Tracey Emin, another artist with a local connection is featured in a new book.
The Art of Advertising looks at posters, newspaper adverts, leaflets, and marketing ephemera from about 1800 to roughly the outbreak of the Second World War. One of the artists whose work is featured is F Gregory Brown.
Frederic Gregory Brown was an artist and designer who was born in London in 1887. In the 1920s, he produced a series of posters for Margate’s department store Bobby & Co, which had opened branches in towns across the South Coast. The dramatic Art Deco posters were printed at Bobby & Co’s print works in Union Crescent.
Gregory Brown also produced work for rail companies, designed book covers, and created posters for famous department store Derry & Toms. A commercial artist, he said in 1928, “To make a good job of a poster it must be well designed, but for goodness sake do not drag it into the mud by calling it ‘Art’.”
F Gregory Brown’s work features in The Art of Advertising alongside examples of printed advertising ranging from the first ever printed advert, a poster by William Caxton produced in 1476, to streamlined 1930s adverts for the Morris Oxford Six.
The book also includes an essay by Michael Twyman, Professor of Typography at the University of Reading whose first major publication ‘Printing 1770-1790’ was first commissioned as a history of Eyre & Spottiswoode and which was printed at their works, Thanet Press in Margate.
The Art of Advertising finds the point where graphic design, typography, and social history cross over, so takes a niche subject and opens it up to a wider audience. It’ll soon become a staple of every artist, designer, and social historian’s book-case.
The Art of Advertising by Julie Anne Lambert is published by the Bodleian Library, and is available from bookshops now.