Player's Past

Player's Past Blog

Harry Woolley and John Player

Harry Woolley and John Player

Harry Woolley was a significant artistic contributor to Player’s advertising.  He also illustrated for the many cigarette card series’ that were produced for Player’s and other tobacco companies.  Unfortunately it has been very difficult to find a great deal of information about him, but here are some interesting facts;  

He was born in Hurst, Lancashire in 1880, grew up in Ashton Under Lyme and moved to Bristol c.1911.  He was responsible for preparing artwork for some or all of the illustrations appearing in at least 25 different sets of cigarette cards, adverts and show cards.  He exhibited in 1912-1913 at the Royal Academy and Royal Society of Miniature Painters.  He also wrote and illustrated books. 

A favourite advert in our archive was painted by him in 1924 and it advertises Player’s ‘Weights’.  The advert shows a young ballerina in a pink costume, with her back turned but looking out of the picture at the viewer.  She is not smoking, but two ‘Weights’ cigarette packets have been drawn in a circular border in the bottom left hand corner of the picture.   

The cigarette card collections he illustrated for John Player include; Cricketers 1934, Famous Irish-Bred Horses 1936 and Aircrafts of the RAF 1938.  He died near Salisbury in Wiltshire in 1959.


About this Sponsor

The Museum of Nottingham Life at Brewhouse Yard is part of Nottingham City Museums and Galleries.