John Player 'tobacco' artwork sold at auction

Cricketer in Imperial Tobacco advert Image copyright Imperial Tobacco
Image caption The artwork was used in advertising campaigns but was never displayed in public

Artwork from a tobacco firm, some showing people smoking and children handing out cigarettes, has raised more than £20,000 at auction.

The items were displayed as corporate art by Imperial Tobacco in Nottingham, but were never on public display.

The highest bid was £3,550 for a painting of a cricketer, used to promote cigarettes.

The 115 artefacts came up for sale following the closure of the firm's Horizon factory in 2016.

'Gleefully smoking'

The oil and watercolour paintings depicting children playing with cigarettes and women gleefully smoking, were painted before awareness of smoking's health risks became more widespread in the 1950s.

The building, known as Players, after founder John Player, had the pictures displayed across five floors.

Imperial Tobacco, which had factory blocks in the Radford area of Nottingham, made more than one million cigarettes a day and employed up to 7,000 people at its height in the 1930s.

It was one of the biggest employers in the city for decades before the Horizon factory closure when about 500 people lost their jobs.

Image copyright Imperial Tobacco
Image caption Mummy's Favourite sold for £1,400
Image copyright Imperial Tobacco
Image caption A painting entitled Players Please shows a smiling woman smoking a cigarette

A spokesman for auctioneer John Pye & Son said: "Some of the bidders for the more iconic lots are located in Nottinghamshire so it's great to see that they're staying local.

"In the next couple of months we'll be holding another sale to auction off the plant & machinery and tooling from the site."

Image copyright Imperial Tobacco
Image caption Another painting featured a young girl posing on a large cigarette at sea with the slogan The Greatest Gun of the Cigarette World
Image copyright Imperial Tobacco
Image caption The artwork was displayed at Imperial Tobacco's main Horizon factory in Nottingham, which has now closed down

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