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Title: The art of advertising : trade cards in eighteenth-century consumer cultures
Author: Hubbard, Philippa
ISNI:       0000 0004 2674 338X
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2009
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This thesis examines graphic trade cards in eighteenth-century consumer cultures in Britain, France and North America. Trade cards were single-sheet commercial notices promoting the names and locations of individual trades-people alongside the goods and services they supplied. They formed part of a larger category of prints distributing economic information to buyers and sellers. However, the production, role and function of trade cards made them distinct from other forms of commercial advertising. I examine their modes of production and use to suggest the part they played in the professionalisation of retail practices as well as the fashioning of vocational identities for tradesmen. I consider the consumer profile that trade cards targeted and suggest that they appealed to distinct sets of shoppers who read the cards in conjunction with other texts, graphic prints and educative illustrations in books and magazines. Trade cards functioned as multimedia advertisements for an audience interested in cultures of knowledge as well as shopping and new consumer goods. I examine how early engravers used trade card commissions to raise their profile as imaginative artists. I consider the ways in which trade cards supported long-term socioeconomic relationships between buyers and sellers over time and space, and examine their roles as invoices and gifts in systems of credit. I am particularly interested in understanding how trade cards functioned uniquely as promotional notices and mediatory devices for a limited period in the history of consumer culture. The final chapter examines French and American trade cards. In their national contexts, trade cards advertised through a culturally-encoded graphic and textual vocabulary familiar to native consumers. They helped develop and disseminate the emblems and symbols that promoted national identities, agendas and priorities at the end of the eighteenth century. I extend this analysis beyond national geographic boundaries to demonstrate how trade cards also functioned as international business cards, supporting commercial networks in global trade.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Leverhulme Trust (LT)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HF Commerce