• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • Finally, you can manage your Google Docs, uploads, and email attachments (plus Dropbox and Slack files) in one convenient place. Claim a free account, and in less than 2 minutes, Dokkio (from the makers of PBworks) can automatically organize your content for you.


The Beggarstaffs Poster Art - Don Quixote

Page history last edited by Joseph Homsy 11 years, 5 months ago

The Beggarstaffs Don Quixote Poster Art


"Graphic designers around the world have been influenced by the genius of Beggarstaff" - http://www.yaneff.com/html/plates/pl63.html

"Pioneers of the modern advertisement"  - http://www.abbeville.com/excerpts.asp?ISBN=1558595457


The Beggarstaff Brothers were a collaboration of two painters/artists, William Nicholson (1872-1949) and brother in-law James Pryde (1866-1941). They labeled themselves, "The Beggarstaff Brothers." They used this name to keep their identity separate from the commercial world and the world of fine art. 






They used simple illustrations to created a bold and abstract approach by adding silhouettes. Their silhouettes are truly brilliant they give the viewer the opportunity visually paint the rest of the picture. Here is an example, a silhouette of a Beefeater. It was used as cover art for 'Harper's' Magazine.




                                  Without a doubt, this is the most popular piece, the 'Don Quixote' poster:




The Beggarstaff Brothers created this poster was ar for a play 'Don Quixote' (a classic novel) at The Lyceum Theatre in London, England - 1895. The image represents the main character, a knight (Don Quixote) and his faithful horse (Sancho Panza). The use of few colours or lack of colour and the employment of simple design elements did a remarkable job in conveniently keeping printing costs low while still allowing the brothers to create powerfusl silhouette that let the viewer use some imagination to visualize the blanks and even create a world outside the lines of the picture. 





Shockingly enough it was not until after the 'poster boom' died that their work on Don Quixote really became influential. In fact, when the poster boom 'died' in the early 1900's so did their partnership.  


W. J. Beggarstaff (how they often labeled themselves in the commercial world), they used simple flat areas and tint in their work. These very simple techniques, which were unique in their time, left a bold impression on graphic design.




Although Nicholson and Pryde did not exactly make a killing in their career as designers, their work is one of the most influential movements from the 1880's poster boom. Even to date in popular culture, their art is used as a symbolic icon. I'm defiantly ordering myself one of these : 



Thanks to The Beggarstaff brothers, contemporary poster art was changed forever.

Joseph Homsy









Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.