Even though I promised myself ten days ago not to buy any new book until I added some bookshelves, I ordered earlier this week a copy of Anciennes publicités murales by Marc Combier (paperback, published in 2006 by Editions Ouest-France, 144 p). The book arrived yesterday and I would thoroughly recommend it for anyone interested in the history of advertising in general and painted signs in particular.
After a short preface, the author traces the history of painted signs (17 pages, illustrated with old pictures, mostly in black and white) and its 'golden age', from the early twentieth century until 1950s-1960s. The main body of the book is divided into five chapters, each with a short introduction: food, transport, household appliances, beauty and cleaning products, shops and local attractions. A sixth chapter is dedicated to typography.
There are more than 150 pictures taken mostly along the valley of the Rhone and in central France. Each is accompanied by a short text about the product or service advertised. When the pictures were taken isn't indicated but I'd say they span the last three decades.
Obviously you'd need to speak French to benefit fully from Marc Combier's excellent knowledge about the topic, but even if don't you can still look at these wonderful, very colourful signs. And if you've got any question, you can always ask me...
6 years ago