Friday, 24 January 2014

Propaganda Scarves

During World War II, there existed a particularly visually rich tradition of propaganda scarves, created for the benefit of an army. These scarves, depicting militaristic iconography, patriotic flags and maps, were then sold to profit the war effort, simultaneously creating a new class of fashion and very loaded 'conversation’ prints. 

Jacqmar of London made propaganda scarves from 1940-1945.

Leslie of Tin Tin Collectables talks us through his collection of Jacqmar propaganda scarves available at his shop: 

"This jolly scarf could easily be looked over as a piece of propaganda - in fact it is encouraging you to listen to a radio programme called 'Music While You Work' a rather up beat radio show which was meant to cheer up munitions workers during their shift."

"This is a military one, and one of the earliest produced - it featured the logo ‘INTO BATTLE’ and had all the military regimental crests fitted into a large brunswick star. It is on hop sack rayon."

"When America joined the conflict this 8th Army scarf was produced as a sweetheart keepsake - this example is on rayon."

"A really clever piece of subtle propaganda. The war office approached Jacqmar to produce a series of scarves which subtly ‘bigged up’ the French - this one promotes the wonderful art connected with French painters (there is a Spaniard and a Dutch man thrown in for good measure). This example is on rayon hopsack."

"The British Restuarant was a canteen set up to provide a hot meal for families who were bombed out - the food was extremely basic, perhaps corn beef hash, boiled beef & carrots etc and the canteen suffered form a rather bad image. The war office were already working with Jacqmar and asked Arnold Lever to come with an idea to promote the restaurant to a better profile. The scarf which looks like a table cloth from a bistro has the names of Londons finest eateries written round the edges…. Mirabelles, The Ritz, LaGavroche,The Savoy Grill…… and tucked in amongst them……The British Restaurant! This example is on silk."

"The second of the military scarves prompting the Combined Operations initiative, again this is on hopsack."

"Although most propaganda scarves are pretty rare - this is the rarest of all, this is only the second of these I’ve come across in 20 years! It’s called The London Wall and depicts a brick wall with bill posters with all the popular sayings of the war…Lend to Defend the right to be free……Careless talk costs lives…etc. This example is on silk."

"Another rarity from the home front stable is JACQMAR PRESENTS. This brightly coloured scarf has a multitude of catch phrases which were from popular BBC radio programmes - Television was still a bit of a non starter so the population ‘listened in’ on radio sets and many German propaganda stations existed, like Lord Haw Haw William Joyce whose catch phrase is seen here - Germany Calling! - the scarves message was to encourage everyone to only ‘listen in’ to the BBC."

"This is the first of the home front scarves and depicts Winston Churchill with various quotes from some of his speeches - this example is on rayon."

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