The Poster King

C Arthur Von Tosseau (or Arthur Niven Tossau or Arthur Tozzart and/or other name variations along the way) made his living for a large part of his life traveling around Australia performing as a sketch artist in public places such as the Manly Corso, as well as regional centres across the country as this advertisement from the Maitland Daily Mercury on 26 July 1923 portrays.

Poster King-1 - Manly LibraryMaitland Daily Mercury - Poster King

These examples of his work on advertising posters can be found in the collection of the State Library of Victoria.

Fat man with Panama hat – Tossau, C. Arthur von & Mason, Firth & McCutcheon (1904) – isn’t clear about the brand of ale it’s advertising although it does look like a good place to be at this time of year.

Magnesium hydroxide (milk of magnesia) never had such an ethereal treatment as with his The Gift of the Gods poster – Tossau, C. Arthur von & Mason, Firth & McCutcheon (1904). A tasteful use of cloud camouflage don’t you think?

Ale & Stout

Gift of the Gods

There are numerous articles about Mr Tosseau in Trove’s digital collection.  One gets the impression he was quite skilled at self-promotion as he appeared regularly on radio programs and was often available to be interviewed on his arrival in a new town with his show.  He would not have appreciated this publicity in 1923 when he appeared in court after a mishap at one of his shows on the Manly Corso. (Sydney Morning Herald – 2 May 1923)

skyrocket Tosseau

At the age of 54, while traveling with his Poster King show, Arthur Tosseau died at the wheel of his car. This account is from The Gundagai Independent and Pastoral, Agricultural and Mining Advocate of 9 May 1927.
9 May 1927 - re A T death

His story can be found in more detail on this link to Manly Library’s Local History blog. The photograph of Tosseau is also from that site.



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