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Between The Wars

The period ‘between the wars’ was an era of extremes.

On one hand, there was hardship, fear and austerity, the rise of fascism and dictatorships, and the Great Depression. And then the inevitable slide towards another world war.

On the other hand, there was a transformation in social mobility, the rise of consumerism and the seed of what was to be known as popular culture was sown.

Hollywood style

Cinema was in its heyday. Similarly, there was a growing appetite for novels as people - particularly women - began to discover books. Film, novels and magazines all offered a means of escape from daily hardships.

Fashion also underwent a transformation. Cheaper dyes and inks meant the era was an explosion of colour. Art deco was flourishing too - at its best it was elegant and stylish, functional and modernist. Our posters are social documents of these changing attitudes to colour, design and form, which are reflected throughout our collection.

The new ‘modern’ woman was becoming more glamorous, articulate and independent. For the first time, Hollywood style became attainable to the masses. Not just the clothes, the behaviour, language and gestures, the make-up and ‘the look’ were achievable aspirations for everyday women.

Technological advances were also phenomenal. Electrical power became widely available transforming industry, entertainment and the home. Mass communication in the form of cheap newspapers and magazines meant our culture was becoming richer in visual imagery.

Browse our collection of Romance, Crime, Mystery and Adventure book cover art.