Historic Aldershot Tattoo Poster for Auction at Bonhams

A striking and brilliantly conceived poster for the 1934 Aldershot Tattoo, designed by the celebrated printmaking team Sybil Andrews and Cyril Power, is for sale at the Bonhams Print Sale on 12 July.

The Aldershot Command Searchlight Tattoo, to use its full name, was a huge national event in the inter-war years attended regularly by 500,000 people and followed by millions more on radio here and abroad. They were held in the evenings of Ascot week- the third week in June – with society figures, including the Royal Family, attending the races during the day and then travelling on to entertain guests at the Tattoos in the evening.

A special feature of the Tattoos were the historical displays, starting in 1925 with a recreation of the burning of Moscow in 1812, to the strains of Tchaikovsky’s overture, and a re-running of the Battle of Waterloo for which French army officers were engaged to help (we still won). Each evening ended with a torch light procession to the music of the ‘Last Post’ with the lights going out on the final note.

The last Tattoo was held in June 1939. Although all profits from the events went to help injured servicemen, after the war the country had no stomach for celebratory military displays and the Aldershot Tattoos were never revived.

The poster which is estimated at £6,000-8,000, was produced for London Transport (then, as now, based at 55 Broadway London SW1) and advertises Private Bus hire as a convenient way to get to the Tattoo.

www.bonhams.com/prints

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