By Tracy Dolphin
(Shire, Paperback, 9780747804253, 40pp.)
Publication Date: March 22, 2011
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Advertising and consumer spending among the middle classes expanded rapidly in the mid-nineteenth century. One of the ways of appealing to the new shoppers was packaging, and biscuit tins were a very discreet form of this kind of promotion. They found their way into middle class households as gifts, and because they rarely displayed the name of the company or product in a prominent position they were often kept as ornaments and storage boxes, and have survived well in many homes.
The appeal of biscuit tins lies in the artistic quality and detail of their decoration, serving as a travel guide and souvenir, educational aid and plaything. Their design demonstrates a wide knowledge and love of art and is executed with great care and attention to detail, yet their designers mostly remain anonymous. This book provides an introduction to biscuit tins, covering design, decorative techniques and the companies who made and sold them.
Tracy Dolphin has been collecting biscuit tins since 1982. She studied the history of design at Brighton Polytechnic, concentrating on twentieth-century design and architecture. Her dissertation was entitled 'Biscuit Tins: Design, Manufacture and Social Context, 1860-1914'.