Saturday 18 August 2007

Imperial Advertising

The images above show contrasting views of India as an exotic visitor destination as visualised in the advertising pages of the Illustrated London News in 1935. On the left are the savage but majestic symbols of wildlife in abundance while to the right the image of the bustling city is celebrated with turbans and veils, triumphal arches and minarets all portrayed in the hot colours of our wildest tropical imaginings. The examples below are a sample of the visual treats to be discovered in the Times of India Annuals. They are a wonderful source of material on the early development of a consumer culture in a colonial context featuring advertising aimed at the indigenous population as well as the occupying power. The artwork for ‘Every Day Can Be Xmas Day’ has a beguiling handmade quality with a profusion of fonts and a jumble of upper and lower cases and comes complete with spelling errors (Greyere and Chadder cheese)! The Bright Star flashlight is clearly a vital piece of equipment for the alert Boy Scout when it comes to exposing episodes of immoral behaviour. The young lady wears no wedding ring and the young man has a lecherous air about him that does not support a reading that they are about to be rescued. There will be more from the Times of India Annuals in future postings.

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