“KASSAMA” | CORN | FLOUR
[Poster for a fictitious product, Glasgow, 1894]
Four-color, 2-sheet lithograph: yellow, red, tan and black, on cream paper. Henderson and Company, Glasgow, Scotland, printer, published 1894.
Signed lower left: ‘J W Beggarstaff’ and lower right: ‘Henderson & Co | printers copy right.’
39¼" w. x 59⅛" h. (99.5cm w. x 150cm h.)
As with all the Beggarstaff's posters, this masterpiece of graphic design strikingly shows
that ‘less is more.’ The silhouetted figure and bold plains of solid color create an advertising image that
was entirely unique to its time. Printed by John Henderson most probably as an advertisement for his new printing firm.
Henderson left the printing firm of William M. Mollison and Company — “lithographers, engravers and designers,
type, and block colour printers” — to establish his own firm, Henderson and Company “block colour printers,”
lithographers, and stationers, located at 9 Madeira Court, Glasgow, Scotland.
"The girl in the Kassama Corn Flour poster offers a strong contrast to the winsome, smiling maidens (such as Cheret’s) encountered in other advertisements for household goods from this period. Depersonalized and distant, she imparts no information and communicates no advice. The girl is drawn in such a way as to allow hair and basket to print the same colour as the background... to make the girl more eye catching, they placed her against a bright yellow background. By surrounding the figure with a wide expanse of unrelieved yellow, they ensured that it would be isolated from adjacent advertisements."
Ref: Malhotra, 234; Campbell, A1.
Originals in collection of: Victoria & Albert Museum, London, UK, Prints, Drawings and paintings Collection, E.2414-1938; MoMA, New York, NY,Emilio Ambasz Fund and Department Purchase Fund (154.1988).