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Martyn,

Thanks for posting the illustration. Further information on the man in it (from a note I wrote about the Motherwells):

...

This is not the James we already know about (he was invalided out), but is in all likelihood a brother of David Motherwell senior, an uncle to David Motherwell junior. He is almost certainly the James referred to by WED Allen as working for David Allen & Sons, in Harrow (see previously - page 8).

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission entry for this Motherwell reads:

Name: MOTHERWELL, JAMES

Initials: J

Nationality: United Kingdom

Rank: Private

Regiment/Service: Dorsetshire Regiment

Unit Text: 1st/4th Bn.

Age: 41

Date of Death: 18/11/1917

Service No: 202542

Additional information: Son of William Gemmell Motherwell and Mary

Motherwell, of Belfast; husband of Marie Motherwell, of

20, Locket Rd., Wealdstone, Harrow, Middx.

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: XVI. G. 10.

Cemetery: BAGHDAD (NORTH GATE) WAR CEMETERY_

Figure 22 - Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Roll of Honour Record for James Motherwell

Usefully this gives us the names and location of his parents (and thus the Paternal Grandparents of David junior) plus his age and thus probable year of birth.

...

Again this contradicts WED Allen's recollection in that he refers to David's father as Mr R. Motherwell. The other three Motherwells (David, James and William) he refers to by Christian name - possibly his memory was hazy in respect of the senior Motherwell. On p. 136 of his book (Allen, W.E.D., (1957), David Allens, The History of a Family Firm 1857-1957, London, John Murray), he is obviously aware that the senior Motherwell was a reasonably important person:

…issue of July 1887 listed under the Belfast heading "The Belfast

Advertising Company", manager Mr. R. Motherwell, which

became in the issue of January 1888, "The Belfast and North of

Ireland Advertising Company", managers Messrs. J.O. Rogers and

R. Motherwell. Jack Rogers was a son-in-law of David Allen, and

the company a subsidiary of David Allen and Sons. …

[subsequent research has indicated that "R Motherwell" was probably an unconnected "R Motherell".]

The indication of James having a widow in Harrow opens up the possibility of a marriage in England - for which the records may be found on-line. Sure enough:

Marriages Q2 1903

Surname First name(s) District Vol Page

Motherwell James Gemmell Hendon 3a 443

Those on that Page:

Burge Marion Maud E

Darville Arthur John

Hamilton Marie Rose

Motherwell James Gemmell

Figure 23 - FreeBMD 2008 search for the Marriage of James Motherwell and his wife Marie

This gives a second Christian name for James, Gemmell (which we later see elsewhere), and a maiden name for the wife, Hamilton.

Checking the on-line Presbyterian Church's Roll of Honour, James is found on the Roll of the Congregation of Donegall Pass, Belfast:

Motherwell Jas. G. 34 Shaftesbury Avenue, Private Dorset Regt.

Died of Cholera in Baghdad

Figure 24 - First World War Roll of Honour, (Donegall Pass (Belfast) Presbyterian Church 1919)

There is a 34 Shaftesbury Avenue in Harrow, but given that it is a Belfast Roll of Honour, a Belfast address may be likely indicating that at some stage James may have been based in Belfast. In Supplementary Notes in WED Allan's book, headed "Personalities of the Old London Office", W Macqueen-Pope (1957 pp 208-217), writes:

There was also a man named Mitchley, and there was James

Motherwell, a fine, good-looking man from Belfast who had a long

and faithful service with the firm. His face became famous on a

nation-wide scale. Allens, who did much commercial as well as

theatrical work, produced a poster for a famous firm of cigarettes

— "B.D.V." It showed a packet of cigarettes and a very good looking

dark man whose eyes were dead centre of the poster and

which consequently followed the observer everywhere, as did the

pointing finger. That man was James Motherwell. He is dead

now, but in Harrow Weald lives his widow, a charming lady who

keeps his memory green and to whom the name of David Allen is

sacred. In her well-furnished parlour hang many relics of the firm

and a set of plaques each bearing a representation of a Gibson

Girl, which was a wedding present to her and Motherwell from

Malcolm Wilson [the firm's West End sales representative]— who

indeed acted as best man at the wedding. She has many of the

original sketches of famous posters issued by the firm and she

cherishes memories of many of the employees who were her

husband's contemporaries — …, Montie Hamilton (who was her

brother and worked in the lithographic Department) …. She is the

proud possessor of many Allen records, programmes of social

events, photographs of staff dinners — often with George Dornan

[the Touring Theatre's sales representative] in the chair — and

nothing would induce her to part with them. She remembers many

kindnesses from Willie Allen [either WED Allen or his father - both

of whom were chairman of the firm] and his wife. Such was the

power of good employers in those days — to bequeath such

memories to those who worked for them. James Motherwell's

father also worked for Allen at Belfast.

It is curious given the extent of this portrait that it does not mention how he died (indeed the chapter in the book concerning World War One, tabulates the firm's casualties but mentions no names).

...

David

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The little autobiography I cited in my previous post was (in full):

Jones-Edwards, W. Ar Lethrau Ffair Rhos. Atgofion Mwnwr.(101pp) Published at Aberystwyth in 1963 by Cymdeithas Lyfrau Ceredigion Gyf. I do have a copy of this.

The document reference at the National Library of Wales is the full one quoting the original Welsh National Executive Committee file ref. However, some time after I examined this extensive uncatalogued collection in 1978 it was properly catalogued and the file probably has a different catalogue ref. by now.

The fact that it refers to Welsh Labour Exchanges is only indicative of the WNEC's specialised interest - the chances are that Exchanges all over Britain were sent copies of the poster. Though I wrote an MA thesis on recruitment in the Gwynedd area 1914-16 I didn't come across any other references to the K poster in Wales, nor was I able to gauge how effective posters in general were. They don't tend to figure in people's autobiographies, which may be significant.

If you don't mind a personal opinion, I think that like advertisements - which the K poster is - the image sunk into people's consciousness and eventually achieved an iconic status. However, that's a long way from saying that they bought the product! In that era joining up was more dependent on socio-economic factors, family situation, press reporting of the conflict, and links to other people who might be enlisting than it was on posters, leaflets, pamphlets, books, and even public meetings. Knowing that people in your peer group or family were serving was much more of an inducement than any publicity material, though the sheer weight of the latter must have been tremendous.

LST_164

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LST 164, thanks for that.

I have a reference in one publication that if a poster is there and a product sales go up there is NO way that the poster can claim to have achieved the result - all we can do is surmise.

The Kitchener poster was displayed during a period when recruitment was at a high (also as it declined) however there were many many other posters being used at the same time.

It would be a fair assumption I think that if we have a solid reference to the poster in Glamorgan then the poster would have been in other places even if not reported at the time.

Martyn

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On another note, I have read a couple of observations about Kitchener's eyes in that they were very slightly divergent giving him a peculiar 'stare' when he looked at you. Some work for me to do with photographs and images here but any observations from the forum will be welcome.

Contemporary writers have described the eyes on the poster as 'following you around'

I don't think it is a peculiarity of Kitchener's eyes that makes them appear to follow you round. This is a commonly reported phenomenon with other images of faces and seems to be to do with our brains trying to interpret a 2D image in 3D. Here's the report of an academic study into the phenomenon. The author remarks that you get the same effect with any photo or painting where the person is shown looking straight ahead.

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Thanks for that ref. very relevant for me.

The eyes as drawn on the poster are slightly different to the eyes on the photograph used. Apart from looking at you (the photograph looks slightly to the left) if you superimpose the photo over the poster the poster features are actually smaller than the features in the photo. This maybe because the photograph was taken closer and by making the features smaller the artist has moved you back.

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I know its a slight deviation from this thread but I bought a copy of 'Forgotten Voices of the Somme' today and have just finished reading it cover to cover.

People nowadays just don't realise......

Martyn

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The first recruiting posters requested support of King and Country, later ones grew more sophisticated (?) and seemed to reduce the 'King' side of things.

Is there any information that people at the time were less 'royal' supporting at the time than we assume nowadays. Were they aware, for instance, of how close the King was to his German counterpart and how tied up with the german monarchy Victoria had been and did this have any effect on their enthusiasm to enlist and maybe why the 'King' element on poster advertising was reduced.

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There was obviously some concern because in 1917 the Royal Family abandonded the dynastic name of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in favour of the House of Windsor. Can't think why!

Wiki link to a cartoon of the time.

David

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  • 3 weeks later...

I am looking for any examples of the Kitchener poster being used nowadays. photos would be greatly appreciated. Please keep a look out

email me th@tcher.co.uk

thanks

Martyn

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To go off on a tangent ... whilst collecting images for my research on WW1 servicemen from three presbyterian congregations, I took several photographs of newspaper adverts making use of the war to sell products (including a boot seller usng the VC) and I may get around to collating them.

Cross-reference to thread

Nigel

BTW, is it OK for me to use the James Gemmel Motherwell "BDV" image ... JGM appears on the Roll of Honour for Crescent Presbyterian Church.

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I don't know if this has been referred to before.......

In Supplementary Notes in WED Allan's book, headed"Personalities of the Old London Office", W Macqueen-Pope (1957 pp208-217), writes:

There was also a man named Mitchley, and there was James Motherwell, a fine, good-looking man from Belfast who hada long and faithful service with the firm. His face became famouson a nation-wide scale. Allens, who did much commercial as wellas theatrical work, produced a poster for a famous firm ofcigarettes — "B.D.V." It showed a packet of cigarettes anda very good looking dark man whose eyes were dead centre of the poster and which consequently followed the observer everywhere, asdid the pointing finger. That man was James Motherwell. He is dead now, but in Harrow Weald lives his widow, a charming ladywho keeps his memory green and to whom the name of David Allenis sacred. In her well-furnished parlour hang many relics ofthe firm and a set of plaques each bearing a representation of aGibson Girl, which was a wedding present to her and Motherwellfrom Malcolm Wilson [the firm's West End sales representative]—who indeed acted as best man at the wedding. She has many ofthe original sketches of famous posters issued by the firm andshe cherishes memories of many of the employees who were her husband's contemporaries — …, Montie Hamilton (who was her brother and worked in the lithographic Department) …. Sheis the proud possessor of many Allen records, programmes ofsocial events, photographs of staff dinners — often with GeorgeDornan [the Touring Theatre's sales representative] in the chair— and nothing would induce her to part with them. She remembersmany kindnesses from Willie Allen [either WED Allen or hisfather - both of whom were chairman of the firm] and his wife. Such wasthe power of good employers in those days — to bequeath such memories to those who worked for them. James Motherwell's father also worked for Allen at Belfast.

The BDV advert has been reproduced a number if times and is pretty well in the public sector so there will be no problem reproducing it.

Martyn

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The first recruiting posters requested support of King and Country, ....snip

Quite an early one in situ you might find interesting, "Men of the Empire Your King and Country Need you Today", War Illustrated 1914

recruitment.jpg

Caryl

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Fitzroy_PC, thanks for that,

It would seem that memories of Kitchener’s faceappearing ‘on every hoarding’ may refer to this poster, it was issuedby the PRC in July 1915 reference PRC113 and 117 of which 145,000copies were printed by David Allen & Sons making it the most numerous ofall the PRC posters. Known as the ‘Lord Kitchener’ poster a copy wasdisplayed in the PRC’s Downing Street office and its production was mentionedin the official summary of the committee’s work, neither honours were given toLeete’s poster.

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  • 2 years later...

After 3 years, I am writing a second book on the same subject (The Kitchener Poster). In the intervening years I have collected a great deal more information on this (boring?) subject so the new book will be an up to date situation on the subject.

So, I am back in this forum and hope that the many who helped me initially are still around.

If anyone has more comments to add, about about the poster and about the poster's use in the years following the war then I would love to hear.

Despite the fact that the Kitchener poster was widely seen in 1914-15, I have no photographs at all of the poster in position (although I have a picture of it on an Ulster bus!)

I desperately need a photograph of the Kitchener poster on site during WW1. I hope that one of you will be able to provide.

Martyn

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