Herculean power of Bovril’s Victorian advertising

Bovril advert of Hercules fighting a lion by Stanley Berkeley from Young Gentlewoman magazine of 1892

Bovril advert of Hercules fighting a lion by Stanley Berkeley from Young Gentlewoman magazine of 1892

Forty years before Guinness gave us strength, it was Bovril that made us feel like Hercules and fit to fight a lion. The ‘Guinness for Strength‘ posters did not appear until 1934, and this is a Bovril advert from Young Gentlewoman magazine of December 1892, the magazine’s first issue. The artist was Stanley Berkeley, a prominent Victorian artist who painted animals and sporting and military scenes. Among his subjects were cavalry charges at the battle of Waterloo – and more contemporary scenes from the Crimea war, Boer wars and Kitchener’s campaign to reconquer Sudan.

This dramatic, whole-page, engraved advert would have had an even bigger effect than usual, given that the rest of the magazine was given over to subjects that were regarded as more suitable to well-bought-up young ladies of the day.

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One Response to “Herculean power of Bovril’s Victorian advertising”

  1. Bovril’s spiky type | Magforum Says:

    […] the company established a brand that is still famous today. I particularly like an 1892 image of Hercules fighting a lion. The later, half-page advert above is very different and notable for its spiky […]

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