Saturday, 19 March 2011

A(r)t your service

Just wanted to share this advert, also from a 1967 edition of The Artist.  It’s hard to imagine the government needing so many full-time illustrators in its employ, but it’s rather nice to think that being a Civil Servant could include, for some, the chance to spend their entire working day creating ‘illustrations…posters… magazine layout’ etc.  In my brief spell working in a Civil Service office I seem to remember doing quite a bit of that kind of thing too, but somewhat more surreptitiously… doodled portraits and random sketches on telephone pads were not exactly what I was being paid to do.

courtesy 'The Artist' magazine, volume 73, 1967

To put the starting salary of £653 per year into context, the average house price in the UK in ’67 was a little under £4000, and you could buy a brand new MGB sports car for £960.  And had I been an illustrator for the Civil Service in 1967, my annual pay could have bought me 593 paper dresses, which I might have worn to work (no such thing as the paper-free office then…) as long as I resisted the temptation to doodle portraits and draw random sketches on them – although, thinking about it now, that might have been pretty cool.

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