Posters for Burton Holmes Films

Hollywood studios printed advertising posters for their feature films, and some of them are very popular among illustration and poster collectors. As most of Holmes's films were short subjects, they may not have received the same treatment as the features. Here's an example of one that survived to the twenty-first century — and the original art has recently come to light.

J. Walsh, of Maryland, tells us that forty years ago he bought an erhu, which is a Chinese musical instrument, and that along with the erhu came this painting of a man playing it. It appears that the painting was originally made as the basis for a one-sheet poster advertising a new Burton Holmes travel film. Written on the back of the painting are instructions to a printer as to how to print it and how many copies to make. As it happens, a copy of the one-sheet poster based on this painting was offered on eBay in 2009, and we archived the image associated with it. Here are pictures of the poster, the original art, and — for good measure — a photo of the erhu itself, lying next to the painting.

The date of the film is uncertain; it has been attributed to both 1919 and 1922. It's a Paramount film, but is not in the film listing we have as this moment.

By the way, the owner says that both the painting and the erhu are for sale; send us an email and we'll forward it.


The one-sheet poster for "Celestial Contrasts," as used by theaters



The original art for the "Celestial Contrasts" one-sheet

Source: J. Walsh. Used by permission.


The erhu, placed next to the painting for size comparison (note relative size of musician).

Source: J. Walsh. Used by permission.




Update history: This page originally created 25 February 2014; updated 3 March 2014.