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2 July 2018


So this week five posters that, in fantasy or possibly reality, who knows, we shall be bidding for at Onslows on July 13th. Telling a friend may mean telling the enemy dates from 1942 and is in the sale here; it is also at the V & A: ‘This poster, by an unknown artist, depicts the stereotype of the gossiping woman: the sailor tells his girl, who tells her friend, and the information eventually gets passed on to a suspicious character. What is interesting is that although the messengers are women, the source and ultimate recipient of the secret are both men, the women are simply the means by which it is transmitted to the enemy. Each has a different reaction to the news – passivity, surprise or guile – and it is the brunette who takes up the role of femme fatale. As with the more familiar slogan of “Keep Mum She’s not so Dumb”, the implication here is that women cannot be trusted to keep secrets, regardless of whether their disclosure is innocent gossip or espionage, so your friend’s friend may be your enemy.’

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