Signed l.l. Frank Newbould, inscribed to reverse of card Original Sketch

Inscribed to inside of backboard ‘The Property of the Royal Mail Steam Packet / Royal Mail House - Harrogate’ 

Watercolour with bodycolour on card

63.5 x 51cm



Royal Mail Steam Packet Co., Harrogate (until 1932 [1])



An impression of the advertising poster that the present work is a study for can be found in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London (Acc. E.132-1924, see final image). The poster was first issued by the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company, Great Britain in around 1923. The subject is a view of Algiers, Tunisia. 



Born in Bradford, Frank Newbould studied at Bradford College of Art and Camberwell School of Art. Newbould studied commercial art between 1905-8 at Bradford School of Art. He soon joined the publishers Percy Lund, Humphries (PLH) & Co. Ltd. The company was technically very forward-thinking and and had already installed one of the first monotype machines in 1904. They became early specialists in the use of half-tone printing.


In c.1911 Newbould moved to London to further his studies at the Camberwell School of Art where, in the same year, he won a National Schools of Art competition silver award for his designs. He graduated with a first-class honours degree in design. When the Great War started, he was already a Reservist with the First Battalion of Prince of Wales (West Yorkshire Regiment) and was called up at the start of the war and sent to France, landing at St Nazaire in September 1914. He survived the war unscathed, reached the rank of Corporal, and gained the Silver War badge for his service. Once discharged, Newbould returned to commercial art, employed by Norfolk Studios (Fleet Street) before acquiring his own studio in Kensington, London.


In 1919, Newbould was commissioned to design a recruitment poster: ‘The Call of the East’, for the RAF. From this year onwards onward, he steadily gained a good reputation for his black and white J-nib illustrations and worked for publications, such as Printers’ Pie, Passing Show, Tatler and The Sketch, producing cartoon illustrations. In 1921 Newbould had begun his popular series of vivid colour posters for London Transport. Three years later, in 1924, he designed the advertising posters for the British Empire Exhibition, earning subsequent commissions from the Empire Marketing Board. These commissions led to international travel, with Newbould and his wife going all over the world.


By 1926, Newbould had begun freelance work for the LNER as a poster designer. His brief was to emphasise both the efficiency of the railway and the appeal of its destinations. Newbould was one of just five artists appointed by the publicity manager for LNER, all of whom were guaranteed a minimum income so long as they did not work for rival rail companies. He was later commissioned in 1933 by LNER to re-design the iconic Skegness is so bracing poster, originally drawn by John Hassall in 1908 for the Great Northern Railway. The LNER held well-attended annual exhibitions showcasing the work of their graphic designers all over the country, with the main and most popular exhibitions held at the New Burlington Galleries. During this time Newbould also produced designs for passenger ship companies (the present work is one such example), as well as posters for the Ideal Homes Exhibition. Newbould designed for the War Office during WWII and, after the war, continued to work on railway advertising, working for the newly formed British Railways.




[1] The RMSPC officially dissolved in 1932, becoming part of Royal Mail Lines Ltd. The cruise liner advertised in the present work was laid up in October 1930, and later sold for scrap to a Japanese company in 1933. 



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