The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Thursday, February 9, 2023


Banned blonde bombshell set to thrill at Bonhams Vintage Posters sale
‘Join the ATS’ by Abram Games. Estimate: £2,000- 4,000. Photo: Bonhams.



LONDON.- A banned World War II poster, best known by its nickname ‘the blonde bombshell’, is set to thrill as much as it did in 1941 at The Vintage Posters Sale between January 26 and February 2 online at bonhams.com. Designed by Abram Games, this rare vintage poster has become seductively infamous - despite its innocent intentions. Estimate: £2,000- 4,000.

In 1941, a well-meaning poster campaign aimed at recruiting women to join the Auxiliary Territorial Service rapidly attracted widespread and unexpected attention. With pouting red lips, blonde curls and striking lighting reminiscent of a Hollywood film, the glamorous design sparked controversy which rippled throughout the press, the public and even the government. Ultimately deemed as too provocative for the wartime British public, the poster was banned. Not only was it considered too sultry and suggestive, but the poster was also condemned as ‘too Soviet’ by Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

Bonhams Specialist, Richard Barclay, has commented: “We are all familiar with the instantly recognisable WWII posters such as ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ – a wonderful example of which also features in the sale – but ‘Join the ATS’ is much rarer and its bombshell status has cemented is place as a desirable vintage poster with a unique backstory.”

This sale offers an exceptional single owner collection of vintage posters, which includes:

• Monaco (1935) by Geo Ham (1900-1972). Estimate: £14,000-16,000.
• Bresil-Plata by Sandy Hook (Georges Taboureau). Estimate: £3,000-5,000.
• Monaco (1952) by Bernard Minne. Estimate: £3,000-5,000.

More sale highlights include:

• A red and white ‘Keep Calm & Carry On’ poster. Estimate £10,000-15,000.

• A truly beautiful Alphonse Mucha (1860-1939) Zodiac ‘La Plume’ poster. Estimate: £10,000-15,000.

• A wonderful ‘With your courage…’ WWII poster. Estimate £1,500- 2,000.










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