Duplicates from the collection sold to benefit The National Motor Museum Trust, these 2ft 6in x 3ft 9in (76cm x 1.14m) ‘lorry bills’ included posters from some of Shell’s most celebrated inter-war advertising campaigns.
Commissioned by Jack Beddington, who had a keen eye for young talent, the list of artists who contributed included Ben Nicholson, Graham Sutherland, Edward McKnight Kauffer and Paul Nash with styles ranging from Vorticism to Surrealism. Many chose to promote not only petrol and oil but also the pleasures of the motoring lifestyle.
Against what were attractive estimates at the auction on April 29, all of the 49 lots, catalogued by poster specialist Tomkinson Churcher, got away to total £60,000.
Leading the sale at £3400 was John Stewart Anderson’s ‘machine age’ design Motorists Prefer Shell (above). Ben Nicholson’s Guardsmen Use Shell took £2400 while Graham Sutherland’s Brigham Rock, Yorkshire sold at £2200.