Fragments from France Colour Prints
On 24 November 1915 The Bystander took the first step in what would become a huge marketing campaign for reproductions in various formats of Bruce Bairnsfather's immensely popular cartoons. On that date they published an advertisement the first 'official' Bairnsfather merchandise - "Colour Reproductions, Artistically Mounted" of four of his cartoons -
No Possible Doubt Whatever
Where did that one go to?
A Maxim Maxim
The Professional Instinct Again
The colour prints were available direct from The Bystander and were priced at 1 shilling each or 1s 1d post free.
By 22 December a further two prints were available -
That Evening Star-shell
Two weeks later The Bystander featured a full page advertisement for the colour prints, including images of each cartoon available and a photograph of the popular soldier-cartoonist at work on one of his drawings. The advert encouraged readers to "Send Him a Bairnsfather Picture. The Ideal Gift from Home to the Trenches" adding that "nothing would be better appreciated by the men at the Front than a set of these prints to enliven the walls of dug-outs, billets and mess rooms."
By the end of April six more prints were available -
The things that Matter
Coiffure in the Trenches
The Innocent Abroad
The Thirst for Reprisals
Well, if you knows of a better' ole, go to it
Still priced at 1s 3d each, the complete set of 12 prints could also now be purchased for 13s post free. As a set they came in a presentation folio, with a colour image of one of the cartoons on the cover.
The colour prints were on white place sunk mounts 9.75" x 14.75" and had the captions printed underneath the cartoon.
By October 1916 more than 750,000 colour prints had reportedly been sold.