Lotteries End for Ever

The Art of Advertising: an exhibition in waiting. Blog post 1


Sadly, The Art of Advertising closed, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, just 12 days after it opened.  While awaiting events (and, we hope, its re-opening) we are bringing you a series of blog posts featuring the exhibits, with additional contextualisation drawing on related material in the John Johnson Collection.

One of the three principal themes of the exhibition is Printing and we were very fortunate to draw on the expertise of Prof. Michael Twyman for the descriptions of printing processes in the first case, which is devoted to the major printing techniques used in the 18th century to the 1930s (the period of the exhibition).  Michael also identified the printing processes of all the 230 exhibits. 

The other exhibition themes are the birth of Commercial Art and advertising as a resource for social history.

Lotteries End for Ever

Lotteries End for Ever poster
Lotteries End for Ever poster
JJColl: Posters, Lotteries


This poster combines a striking woodcut image with lettering cut on wood in imitation of the latest display types of the period.

Woodcutting is the oldest of the processes used for printing images. Parts of a wood block are removed by gouges and knives, leaving the areas to be printed standing in relief so that they can be inked and printed under pressure on a press. Though woodcutting was capable of refined images, by the early 19th century it was mainly used, as in this example, for relatively crude popular work. Wood blocks were capable of withstanding long print runs and could be printed along with type.

Lottery advertising was often innovative, incorporating printed colour (as here), hand-colouring, Congreve compound plate printing (fig. 3), stick men, verse, acrostics,  etc. The last state lottery was drawn on 18 July 1826.  The John Johnson Collection includes an extensive collection of lottery bills, all digitised and available through our ProQuest project (free in the UK).


Carroll lottery bill for the last lottery, 18 July 1826
Fig. 3. Lottery bill for the last lottery, issued by Carrroll (Congreve Compound Plate Printing). JJColl Lotteries vol. 3 (3)
Hazard lottery bill, showing the drawing of the last lottery.
Fig. 4. Hazard lottery bill, showing the drawing of the last lottery. JJColl: Lotteries vol. 13 (6)











At Christmas or New Year, in the hope of a gratuity, bellmen and lamplighters distributed verses, known generically as Bellmen’s verses.  There are some 132 of these in the John Johnson Collection. Minimal records can be seen on our online catalogue   (Browse: set scrollbar to Shelfmarks: type Bellmen).

A copy of verses, from C.H. Reynell, Printer, No. 21, Piccadilly, London, for the year 1815
Fig. 5. Bellman’s Verse
A copy of verses, from C.H. Reynell, Printer, No. 21, Piccadilly, London, for the year 1815. JJColl Bellman’s Verses.

Other examples of images of bellmen in advertising, include the following.

Advertisement for Tregoning's Museum of Fancy Goods
Fig. 6. Advertisement for Tregoning’s Museum of Fancy Goods, featuring a bellman. JJColl: Provincial Booktrade 1 (37a)



Advertisement with image of a bellman: T. Dutton
Fig. 7. O Yes! O Yes! O Yes! T. Dutton, boots and shoes. Advertisement with image of a bellman. JJColl: Bazaars and Sales 1 (36)





Actors, Actresses and Entertainers in the John Johnson Collection: a brief guide

Actors, Actresses and Entertainers in the John Johnson Collection: a brief guide to resources


Programme for Albert Chevalier's performances at St. James's Hall, Piccadilly, 26 & 27 May 1895.
Programme for Albert Chevalier’s performances at St. James’s Hall, Piccadilly, 26 & 27 May 1895. JJColl: Actors, Actresses and Entertainers 1 (21)

An index to our Actors, Actresses and Entertainers section is online.  However, the resources of the John Johnson Collection for the theatre or family historian go far beyond these nine boxes. Detailed metadata enable users to locate references to performers in thousands of playbills, programmes, prints, music titles, advertisements and other ephemera.

All records are in our online catalogue: (browse: name index).

For the 18th century, images of Entertainment ephemera are available through Digital.Bodleian (under Ephemera).

Playbill for The Rivals, Bridgnorth 2 December 1795
This Bridgnorth playbill of 2 December 1795 announces the appearance of Jane Kemble (youngest sister of Sarah Siddons) in Sheridan’s comedy The Rivals. JJColl: Provincial Playbills box Bradford-Cambridge (10)

For the 19th century, images of more than 20,700 theatrical and non-theatrical Entertainment ephemera can be found on the ProQuest site: The John Johnson Collection: an archive of printed ephemera This is available free to all in the UK (click on Access this collection or use the direct geoloc url

English Opera House programme, [June 18th, 1892]
Advertisement for Mdme Sarah Bernhardt’s ‘Diaphane’ face oowder in a Royal English Opera House programme for her appearance in Victorien Sardou’s ‘La Tosca’, [June 18th, 1892]. JJ Coll: London Playbills Palace box 1 (7)










For the 20th century to 1960 there are no digital images, but our online catalogue includes detailed records for London theatres A-P and basic records for Provincial theatre. For the period after 1960, we are continuing to collect and to sort theatre programmes, which are kept by theatre and arranged chronologically. There are currently no finding aids.