Advertising illustration, 'Speed the Day', WWII, gouache on paper laid on board, Nell Wilson [artist] for Prestige Ltd, Australia, 1943
This rare original fashion illustration by Australian artist and illustrator, Nell Wilson (1901-1985) was commissioned to accompany a wartime advertisement by Prestige Ltd, a Melbourne-based manufacturer of lingerie and silk stockings since 1922. It was published in the Australian Women's Weekly on 12 June 1943. It is signed 'NW' lower right and created on medium smooth 'Double Elephant' watercolour board supplied by W.C. Penfold & Co Ltd, Artists Suppliers of 88 Pitt Street, Sydney.
Rather than advertising Prestige fashion, the advertisement was dedicated to 'the future greatness of Australia' and appealed to 'mothers, wives, sweethearts and all [Australians]' to support the war effort. The smile of a fresh faced young woman in a crisp white jacket beams out optimistically from between the two officers who flank her side, their arms joyously intertwined. She is described as a 'Daughter of Anzac' and a 'Woman of Australia'. The advertisement served both to support the war effort while simultaneously maintaining market awareness of the Prestige Ltd brand during an era of wartime austerity.
While pre-1950s fashion photographs and illustrations are quite rare, they can occasionally be sourced through specialist print and book dealers. The early magazines in which they appear however are quite collectable and readily available through market stalls and second hand book shops.
Anne-Marie Van de Ven, Curator 2009
Nell Wilson (b. 1901, Australia. d. 1985).
The work has been initialled by the artist.
This 'Speed the Day' illustration appeared with an advertisement in the Australian Women's Weekly magazine on 12 June 1943. It was one of a series of wartime advertisements for Prestige Limited, a Melbourne-based manufacturer of silk stockings and lingerie since 1922. During WWII this company became responsible for the production of military parachute fabrics.