'Clarkson's Hair Tonic' Advert - painting, 1895


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'Clarkson's Hair Tonic' Advert - painting, 1895

The original artwork for an advertisement to promote William Clarkson's 'UVO' hair tonic. Executed on board in watercolour, gouache, and ink. Signed to lower right corner 'Arte' and dated 1895. In period oak frame. the backboard featuring an original 'UVO' label.

Reminiscent of a scene from a Georges Méliès film, the painting features an emancipated young woman cycling across the world with her abundant locks billowing behind her, whilst proferring a bottle of Mr Clarkson's hair tonic to the heavens! The artist has cleverly incorporated the product name throughout the composition, with the word 'UVO' appearing all over the globe, on the moon, in the clouds, on the stars, and even in the woman's hair. A theatrical rendition that would no doubt have been expected by the ubiquitous Mr Clarkson.

William Berry 'Willy' Clarkson (1861–1934) was a renowned theatrical costume designer and wigmaker working in London. His father had been making wigs since 1833, and Willy took over the business in 1878. In the early 1900s, most major theatrical productions would employ Clarkson's talents. His Wardour Street premises still exists, and is marked by a 'blue plaque': the foundation stone was laid by the actress Sarah Bernhardt in 1904, and the coping stone by actor Henry Irving in 1905.


  • H: 38cm (14.96in)
  • W: 29cm (11.42in)



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