The Art of Advertising, at Oxford’s Bodleian Libraries, catapults visitors back to the dawn of advertising, when handbills and posters reigned supreme1930 poster for the Morris-Oxford SixOver 200 years of visual heritage is brought together in the show, which serves as a reminder of just how far advertising’s come.
A 1742 trade card for perfumer William Roberts came with an illustrated civet cat – whose pungent musk evidently made it a good symbol for the fragrance business.
They’re also not immune to a bit of creative bombast, with another soap advert promising to ‘arrest all dirt’ and give ‘perfect satisfaction’ with daily use.
An 1892 advert for Harlene hair products feels depressingly familiar, playing on women’s worries about their appearance.
The Art of Advertising is on at The Bodleian Libraries from March 5 – August 31;

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