The Film Posters of Jack Hubbard

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954), British Quad, 40 x 30 inches, bi-folded, printed by Stafford and Co. Estimate £400-600.

One of the great unsung heroes of film poster design was Jack Hubbard (1913-85). Now his work for the likes of 20th Century Fox, British Lion and others is finally getting its due.

Ewbank’s are celebrating the talents of Hubbard with a selection of 75 pieces of artwork and posters that he created being offered in their July 5th Vintage Posters auction.

Hubbard’s most lasting contribution to the world of film was the CinemaScope logo which became a registered trademark for 20th Century Fox. His numerous poster designs were the calling cards for British cinema that pulled in audiences over four decades from the 1950s to ’80s.

The Rains of Ranchipur (1955), British Quad, 40 x 30 inches, bi-folded, printed by Stafford and Co. Estimate £150-250.

The key reason that his name has been unknown outside aficionado circles until now was because he was a freelance designer and, as a result, not allowed to sign his work.

As well as 20th Century Fox, Hubbard worked for Gala, Eros, Mondial, New Realm, British Lion and Embassy.


He started his career as a cartographer in the Royal Artillery and was stationed in India where he achieved the rank of Conductor, a position held by a very small handful of selected Warrant Officers Class 1.

After the war, he began painting for the British Studios, predominantly 20th Century Fox, for whom he worked on almost every major release for over 25 years.

How to Be Very, Very Popular (1955), British Quad, 40 x 30 inches, bi-folded, printed by Stafford and Co. Estimate £400-600.

“Jack would journey into London’s Soho Square on a Monday to pick up the film work folder which had stills, synopsis or a story description and other information about the film, and he had to return to the Fox offices on Thursday with usually three versions of a poster. Changes to the poster would be made during a meeting to be green lit by the studio’s publicity manager,” said Ewbank’s Head of Vintage Posters, Henry Coleman.

Lively, colourful and designed to have a great impact on the passing public, the posters echoed the fashions of the day.

The posters offered in this auction were part of Hubbard’s personal archive of printed works which he worked on. They all came to him direct from the printers and the quads and double crown posters were all bi-folded.

Highlights include a 30 x 40in British Quad promoting a double bill. Under the headline The Double Sensation Show of the Century! Two RegalScope titles include Kronos – Conqueror of the Universe, and She Devil – The Woman they couldn’t kill! Both are B-Movie Sci-Fi/Horror movies from 1957, with Hubbard’s design a classic of retro kitsch – a much sought after style today among collectors and those with a decorative eye. The estimate is £400-600.

Poster artist Jack Hubbard (1913-85), who designed the CinemaScope logo as well as countless film posters across a 40-year period.

At the same estimate is a British Quad of Walt Disney’s 1954 film 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, the Jules Verne sci-fi fantasy classic starring Kirk Douglas and James Mason, a striking conversation piece on any wall.

The 1955 Betty Grable vehicle How To be Very, Very Popular is the subject of another British Quad showing Hubbard making the most of the film star’s celebrated legs in a design also pitched at £400-600.

At £350-450 Hubbard presents a British Quad scene of scantily clad victims scattered across the floor of a fashion house under the grim gaze of a masked horror in the 1964 exploitation film Blood and Black Lace.

Double Bill

Hubbard also designed posters for better known films, such as Carousel (1956) and Carmen Jones (1954) – a poster here presenting them as a double bill at £150-250. And Brigitte Bardot gets the Hubbard treatment in his design for Warrior’s Rest (1963), co-starring James Robertson Justice, again presented as a double bill with His Women (1961). The estimate is £250-350.

Blood and Black Lace (1964), British Quad, 40 x 30 inches, bi-folded. Estimate £350-450.

Artwork for the 1965 film poster Who Wants To Sleep? is also on offer. In original acrylic paper on board with part collage and measuring 28 x 21in, it carries hopes of £300-500.

All images courtesy of Ewbank’s.

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See also: International Art on the Island of Leros

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