Discovery proves bedroom posters are nothing new

An 1857 image of a child looking at “posters” on a wall at a house.

Architecture of France and Home Art - This month, Jane Hanks tells us that posters adorning bedroom walls have been a staple of teenagers for decades – but a discovery in France revealed that mass-produced, cheap images have been popular for much longer than was previously thought.

An exhibition at the Musée de l’Image (museedelimage.fr) until the end of September shows that surrounding ourselves with popular images is not a 20th- century phenomenon, but is something people have been keen on for centuries.

The museum has a collection of 100,000 popular images from the 17th to the 21st century and this exhibition, Images sur les murs, reveals that they were used to decorate even the lowliest homes.

The technology was, of course, not as sophisticated as it is today, but mass-produced cheap printing was possible as early as the 17th century, when images were printed from woodblocks and colour was added using stencils.

They were reproduced in their thousands and pasted up in the most modest of homes across the country.

In the 19th century, the technique of lithography was introduced and images ...

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