ART: Famous writers on cigarette cards

Famous writers on cigarette cards

Shown above are some portraits of famous writers on cigarette cards. Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, G.K. Chesteron, Rudyard Kipling, Michael Arlen, Hilaire Belloc, Phyllis Bentley, Marjorie Bowen, John Buchan and (again) G.K. Chesterton.

There was a time when cigarette cards (trade cards) were issued by tobacco manufacturers to stiffen cigarette packaging and advertise cigarette brands. They often had transport, animals or well known people on them and collecting them was very popular. I think it says something about the culture of the time that famous writers were considered “sexy” enough subjects to place in a pack of “ciggies” – perhaps now it would be stars of TV, film and music? And do cigarettes still have giveaways inside? 


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