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The Key to the Countryside – Eight Gorgeous Shell Adverts from the mid-1950s

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From the 1920s and into the 1950s the Shell Oil Company produced some extraordinarily wonderful advertising posters and some say the most beautiful Britain has ever seen. Looking at these examples from the mid-fifties it’s difficult to argue. The adverts seem to give a view of Britain as a lost rural idyl but they advertised not only petrol and oil but motoring in general and where it good take you – the exhilarating pleasure and joyous freedom of the countryside.

1954, illustrated by Edith and Rowland Hilder

1954, illustrated by Edith and Rowland Hilder

1954

1954: Arranged and painted by Edith and Rowland Hilder

1955

1955: Painted by Maurice Wilson in collaboration with Rowland Hilder

1955: Painted by Maurice Wilson in collaboration with Rowland Hilder

1955: Painted by Maurice Wilson in collaboration with Rowland Hilder

1955

1955: Painted by Maurice Wilson in collaboration with Rowland Hilder

1956

1956: Painted by Tristram Hillier

1956

1956: Painted by Tristram Hillier

1956

1956: Painted by Tristram Hillier

1956

1956: Painted by Tristram Hillier

1959 Shell ad  Illustration by Barbara Jones Berkshire

1959: Painted by Barbara Jones