Wednesday’s ad is for is by Ballantine Ale, from 1953. Most of this month I’ve been posting Brewer’s Gold ads from the 1950s, but I’ve shared all of the ones I could find, so for the remainder of the month there will be random Ballantine ads. In this ad, part of a small series, the focus is on “Windows,” specifically windows from three specific places where you can find Ballantine Ale through the windows, in Boston, Massachusetts, Palm Springs, California, and Havana, Cuba.
Archives for May 30, 2018
Today is the birthday of John Gilroy (May 30, 1898-April 11, 1985). While not a brewer or even brewery owner, he was nonetheless at least partially responsible for the success of Guinness with his iconic advertising that he created for them beginning in 1928.
Here’s his entry from Wikipedia.
“Born in Whitley Bay, Northumberland, England, Gilroy attended Durham University until his studies were interrupted by World War I, during which he served with the Royal Field Artillery. He resumed studying at the Royal College of Art in London, where he remained as a teacher. He taught at Camberwell College of Arts.
In 1925, he gained employment at S.H. Benson’s advertising agency, where he created the iconic advertisement art for Guinness featuring the Zoo Keeper and animals enjoying Guinness. He worked with Dorothy L. Sayers. He was also an accomplished portrait painter, numbering Royalty, Politicians, Actors and many others amongst his sitters. He worked in his large studio at 10 Holland Park, London, the former home and studio of Sir Bernard Partridge. He was a long-standing and much loved member of the Garrick Club, where he was created a Life Member and Chairman of the Works of Art Committee 1970-1975. He was awarded and Honorary MA by Newcastle University in 1975, and was made a Freeman of the City of London in 1981.”
The Guinness Collectors Club has a more thorough biography:
John Gilroy (1898-1985) was a superb natural draughtsman and a versatile illustrator and artist who produced advertsising material, portraits, landscapes, murals and greeting cards.
Born on the 30th of May 1898 at Whitley Bay, Newcastle upon Tyne, he was one of a family of eight (five boys and three girls), born to John William Gilroy and his wife Elizabeth. William Gilroy was a marine landscape painter and technical draughtsman and it was obvious from an early age that John junior was going to follow in his footsteps. The young John practised copying cartoons from Punch and took on all kinds of work to pay for drawing materials. From the age of fifteen he was a cartoonist for the Evening Chronicle, Newcastle, commissioned to produce cartoons of well-known entertainers who played the Newcastle theatres.
John attended Sandyford School followed, in 1909, by Heaton Park Road Upper School. At this date his family was living at 25 Kingsley Place. In June 1912, he left Heaton Park and, having attained his drawing certificate, won a scholarship to Armstrong College Art School, Durham University to study under Professor K.G. Hatten.
The First World War interrupted Gilroy’s studies and he served with the Royal Field Artillery in France, Italy and Palestine. In September 1919 he resumed his studies taking a place at the Royal College of Art, London (RCA). During his time there he produced illustrations for the college student magazine and occasionally played in goal for the college football team. In 1920 he attained his Board of Education certificate and the RCA diploma in decorative painting. His work was also rewarded through scholarships and prizes, winning, in 1919, the North Lordbourne prize for composition and, in 1921, the college drawing prize and the British Institute Scholarship for decorative painting. In 1922 Gilroy won an RCA travelling scholarship in mural painting having missed the Prix de Rome by only one vote.
Gilroy graduated from the RCA in July 1923 but stayed on there until 1925 as a teacher. From 1924 to 1926 he also taught drawing from the figure in the evenings at the Camberwell School of Art. In 1924 he married Gwendoline Peri-Short who had been a fellow pupil at the RCA and three years later they had a son, John.
In 1925 Gilroy embarked on his long association with the advertising agency S H Benson Ltd (Benson’s). Although Benson’s was the first advertising agency for whom Gilroy worked as an in-house artist, he had already proven himself in the commercial art sphere. His earliest known piece of commercial art, dating from 1920 when he was still a student, was for a promotional leaflet for the Mangnall-Irving Thrust-Borer commissioned by the Hydraulic Engineering Co.
Gilroy’s early work at Benson’s is reputed to have been on campaigns for Skipper Sardines and Virol. During his time there he also worked on campaigns for Bovril, Macleans and Monk & Glass Custard. His first significant assignment was the Mustard Club campaign for Coleman’s of Norwich, on which he worked with fellow artist William Brearley and copywriters Oswald Greene and Dorothy L Sayers. Between 1926 and 1933 the pens of Gilroy and Brearley brought eccentric characters like Baron de Beef, Signor Spaghetti and Miss Di Gester to life on bill boards and in magazines everywhere.
In 1928 Benson’s won the Guinness advertising account and Gilroy became involved with the product with which his work is most closely associated. Gilroy’s first known Guinness poster was produced in 1930. Working with copywriters like Ronald Barton and Robert Bevan, Gilroy produced more than 100 press advertisements and nearly 50 poster designs for Guinness over 35 years. He is perhaps best remembered for his posters featuring the girder carrier and the wood cutter from the Guinness for Strength campaigns of the early 1930s and for the Guinness animals. The animals, including a lion, toucan, gnu and kangaroo, appeared, with their long-suffering zookeeper, on posters, press advertisements, show cards and waiter trays from the 1930s to the 1960s.
Gilroy continued to produce Guinness advertisements well into the 1960s even though he left Benson’s employment as an in-house artist in the 1940s to continue freelance work.
During the 1920s and succeeding decades commercial art was not Gilroy’s sole occupation; he began to