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Poster under the hammer

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A 1930s poster of Leicester's historic Guildhall, which featured in a campaign urging wealthy Americans to visit Britain, is to go up for auction.

Photographer John Dixon-Scott took the picture shortly after the 14th century building had been renovated by the council and saved from demolition.

Mr Dixon-Scott was concerned by the disappearance of many of the country's fine buildings and toured the country making a pictorial record of them.

The sepia tint he produced of the Guildhall, which more than 50,000 people have visited in the past few months to see its Richard III exhibition, was used for a poster in the 1930s in America.

Now, the poster, along with 50 others from the series, is going under the hammer in England after recently being uncovered in Boston, Massachusetts.

Auctioneer Patrick Bogue said: "Just months before the stock market crash of 1929, the Travel Association of Britain and Northern Ireland was founded by Lord Waldorf Astor and Winston Churchill to increase the amount of American money spent in the United Kingdom by tourists.

"In the late 1930s, the Travel Association hired the best photographers to document the scenes of Great Britain, including Scotland and Northern Ireland.

"Using a traditional style black and white or brown, green and blue sepia tones, these records recall to us our history and pride.

"Among them is the picture by John Dixon-Scott of Leicester Guildhall."

Other posters which feature in the series depict well-known sights in London, the Cornish Riviera and the Scottish Highlands.

He said most of the posters were in excellent condition and many are estimated to fetch between £80 to £120, although some may attract higher bids.

City mayor Peter Soulsby said: "There had been calls to demolish the Guildhall – but, fortunately, essential works were carried out by the council in the 1920s that ensured this historic building was preserved for future generations to enjoy.

"It's wonderful to see that, so soon after its restoration, the Guildhall was helping to promote not only Leicester, but the whole of the UK."

Market Harborough art expert Malcolm Lever-Jones said: "I would agree with the valuation that many of the posters will sell for about £100. They have been produced by some of the best printers of the day.

"The name of John Dixon-Scott could push the value of the poster up into the high hundreds of pounds."

A council spokesman would not say if the authority would be interested in buying the poster, which will be sold by Onslows Auctions Ltd in Stourpaine, Dorset, on June 21.

A preview of the auction can be seen online two weeks before the sale.

www.onslows.co.uk

Poster under the hammer


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