Emma West is a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Birmingham, UK. Her postdoctoral project, Revolutionary Red Tape, examines how committees helped to commission, disseminate and popularise British modernist art, design, literature, and performance.
In September 1927, Edward McKnight Kauffer’s “One Third of the Empire is in the Tropics” poster set appeared on over 1,000 specially built poster frames across Britain and in capital cities across the British Empire (figs. 1 and 2). Commissioned by the Empire Marketing Board (EMB), an organization established by the British government in May 1926 to increase sales of Empire goods and products, it was the Board’s first modernist poster series.