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Beauty, Duty and Trench Coats: Advertisements from the Great War

Sunday 23 March 2014

1 Hour


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Writers Amanda-Jane Doran and Andrew McCarthy discuss the important role of illustrated magazines during the First World War. They were essential for entertainment and information as there was no radio, no television, and news photography was limited. Graphic artists travelled to the front or imagined scenes of war in their London studios. They also produced commercial images for advertising. Inadvertently, the preoccupations of a nation are communicated through advertisements for goods and services, food, drink and clothing. We can see the development of a garment, the Trench Coat, as its design adapts to conditions in France and we can chart the dramatic change in the role of women as they find a new freedom in clothing and work. Advertising, the new ‘science of sales’ reflects the fantasies and needs of the British at war.

Doran and McCarthy, both freelance writers, are joint authors of The Huns Have Got My Gramophone: Advertisements from the Great War.