Heritage100

1925 Shell Poster

'See Britain First' Shell motoring poster

Shell tapped into the longing for a rural escape from the city...

Posters are characteristic of Shell’s advertising during the 1920s and 1930s. Young talented artists were commissioned to convey simple messages for Shell's poster advertising. Many of these artists went on to become famous names in 20th century British art.

The posters, known as Lorry Bills, were displayed on the side of the delivery lorries transporting cans of fuel to customers across the country. They were large in size and made to fit boards that were 30 by 45 inches.

In 1925 Shell began a series of posters featuring the slogan ‘See Britain First – On Shell’.  The campaign encouraged the nation to explore the British countryside in their cars using Shell petrol. The posters showed romantic landscapes with traffic free roads. Shell tapped into the longing for a rural escape from the city and reassured motorists of the reliability of their products with the strap line ‘You can be sure of Shell’. 

Shell continued the campaign to promote motor tourism throughout the British Isles with press advertising, TV advertising and the popular Shell Guide series until the mid 1980s.

Quick Facts

  • Title of poster Sma' Glen, Crieff, Scotland
  • Poster artist Dominique Charles Fouqueray (1869–1956)
  • Date made 1925
  • Catalogue number 89
  • Dimensions Length 114cm, Height 76cm
  • Medium Lithograph on paper

Facts

  • There are over 7,000 Shell posters in the Shell Art Collection at the National Motor Museum.
  • Dominic Charles Fouqueray (1869–1956) studied in Paris. During World War I he produced many posters, including posters for the Serbian Flag Days and a dramatic poster of Cardinal Mercier watching over Belgium. He worked as an illustrator, painter and engraver. Dominic Charles Fouqueray painted all the artworks for the See Britain First campaign in the 1920s, and produced 18 paintings for Shell's advertising.

Did you know?

The number of private cars on British roads reached a million for the first time in 1930 and there was a growing concern that motoring was harming the countryside. Protests against poster hoardings and signs along country roads led to Shell removing all their placards and enamelled signs. Lorry Bills however, remained the focal point for Shell’s advertising.

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