lead5Old newspapers, cartoons and public notices are a chic and easy way of adding a bit of vintage style to your home. Once framed, they can evoke different eras and even re-tell the stories of  past decades. Nell Darby has some ideas on how to decorate using the written word.

A more unusual way of bringing vintage into your home is through the use of posters, old newspapers or cartoons, which, when framed, add a real conversation point to your room. These frames work well whether you have a theme running across your pictures, or use a mix of different styles and eras.

I have a different theme in each room. My living room for example has a variety of pre-twentieth century work such as a 17th century newssheet next to a Victorian notice of a public meeting, which would originally have been pinned up outside a town hall.

Going up my landing, I have a series of framed newspapers from 20th century American politics, which tell a narrative as you move down the stairs. The assassination of John F Kennedy is followed by the announcement of Lee Harvey Oswald’s shooting, followed by Lyndon Johnson formally becoming President. All of these papers have large, striking images on them and are framed in black to match the newsprint.

Surprisingly, many original newspapers and posters sell for a very reasonable price and can be obtained from a variety of sources. My Victorian public meeting notice was found in a pile of things at the back of a second-hand bookshop – the owner had been to a house clearance and picked up a job lot of items, the majority of which he just wanted to get rid off for a couple of pounds.
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There are also some very good dealers in rare or vintage newspapers. I use one in America, who sells a lot of old English newssheets. He has a presence on online auction sites, but also sells direct for very reasonable prices. The main point to remember, though, is that the price varies according to the news in the paper.

So you can pick up a 17th century newssheet for a few pounds, but if it mentions something like the Salem Witch Trials, piracy, or another infamous subject, the price will rocket. It doesn’t even matter whether the subject is in the headline or just mentioned in a small paragraph on the back page.

Political cartoons, or caricatures, are also a fantastic item to buy to use as a talking point and decorative item, but again, prices vary.  I love the drawings of William Hogarth, for example, but if I ever found one for sale, I doubt if I could afford to buy it.

Look for lesser known cartoonists, rather than the Gerald Scarfes of this world. Again, subject is key: go for events you’re interested in and your choice of picture will say just as much about you as the rest of your home.

One Response

  1. Elizabeth

    You can also find some gorgeous prints on markets… I know its a bit far afield but I found original 1920s cosmetics advertisements on a stall in the south of France. Very cheap and look absolutely beautiful framed. However you have to handle them very carefully as they can be fragile. A lovely and original way to decorate your home!

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