Review: Vintage Travel Posters by Gill Saunders.
By 1900, almost every town in Britain had a railway station linked to an extensive rail network. The seaside holiday, already popular in the 1800s, became big business. Resorts expanded as daytrippers and holiday-makers flocked to the sea. With the rising numbers visiting the seaside, and the expansion of the tourism industry, came a new form of art – the travel poster.
The travel posters of the early 1900s are now highly collectible. They evoke a time when the world was expanding – when people were becoming more adventurous – but also an era when things were simpler. In the age of budget airlines and cheap package-holidays and an ever-increasing workload, it is lovely to recall the guest houses and piers of the early 20th Century.
Vintage Travel Posters brings together 30 such posters which depict the sea. This would be a lovely book to inspire art about the sea because it shows how different one destination can look from another. From cruise ships cutting through the Atlantic to the sun reflecting off the Venice Lido, the range of posters shows how different the sea is in from one place to another.
This is also a brilliant look at the images the tourism industry wanted to sell. What exactly were people looking for when they set out for a resort? Short paragraphs on the page opposite each poster explain the history behind it and give us an insight into a different time and place.
I fell in love with this book. I studied seaside holidays on my very first undergraduate module and it has always been a ‘pet subject’ (AKA a random interest which makes me smile whenever I learn something more.’) This book would appeal to historians, artists and people with itchy feet. It also makes a lovely coffee-table book. Nostalgia isn’t quite the right word because it is not a time or place I have ever known, but anyone who has ever spent the day in a run-down resort and looked at the relics of the Golden Age of the seaside holiday will love this book.
Thanks to Thames And Hudson for my copy of Vintage Travel Posters. Opinions my own.