It was in the days of Belle Époque Paris, a city giddy with cultural, scientific and industrial change, that the playful poster as we know it was born. It had been some 200 years since printed playbills and ‘posters’ – public announcements quite literally fixed to posts – had first appeared on our streets, but in this commercial and creative hub, the medium was reinvented.
‘In the late 19th century, the growth of mass advertising and new developments in colour lithography enabled the pictorial poster to flourish, bringing the emerging art form to millions,’ explains Margaret Timmers, the Victoria and Albert Museum’s authority on posters, and now, they are highly collectable.
Discover how to introduce antique and vintage posters into your own home with these 7 tips.
Make good use of the space inside the borders of period wall panelling by showing off your prints. Hang them simply to keep the lines clean. Magnetic frames offer an inexpensive route to displaying smaller-scale travel posters with ease
Enjoy your own Sunday matinée. A vintage cinema board above a mantelpiece is an interesting place to spotlight your print. Metallic finishes and subtle hints of colour keep things interesting without detracting from the main focal point
If you want to make a real statement, go bold with a gallery wall of iconic film posters. Arrange closely together for maximum visual impact, but use simple black frames to tie the different designs together
A home print studio is a great place to play with decorating ideas using posters and prints. Cover a wall with vintage-style paper featuring theatre and art shows – you can then contrast this with framed original pieces. Care for your precious prints by always displaying them away from direct sunlight
Plan chests are available in a range of sizes and are a quirky way of storing your art exhibition posters safely. The wide, shallow drawers mean you can lie them flat, making the posters easy to show to visitors
Lean your framed posters on a sideboard for a laid-back look. You can secure them in place with accessories – a stack of books makes a good prop. Strong, graphic designs from the 1930s by artists such as Cassandre are among the most iconic, and the large scale gives a bedroom a modern edge
Let your travel posters take centre stage by displaying them, framed, on a vintage easel. Finish the look with stacked suitcases and coastal-striped bed linen
The full feature on decorating with vintage posters appeared in the June 2017 issue of Homes & Antiques.