Elderly couple taking tea in the garden, 1953.
© NMeM / Photographic Advertising / Science & Society Picture Library
A photograph of an elderly couple taking tea in the garden, taken by Photographic Advertising Limited in 1953. This photograph of a sunny afternoon in an English garden was used to advertise Bile Beans, a brand of patent medicine popular in the middle of the twentieth century. Bile Beans were recommended to treat constipation, indigestion and stomach upsets. Photographic Advertising Limited was founded in 1926 by a group experienced in photojournalism and film. The company created multi-purpose stock images with the potential for selling a range of products. Whilst enjoying its greatest success during the 1930s, it continued in business until 1977. Photographic Advertising Limited's trademark, the staged studio photograph resembling a film still, was its selling point and, later, its downfall. Sophisticated, adaptable and generic, this kind of image gradually fell out of favour as clients increasingly demanded targeted advertising campaigns with specific photographs.