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'Horse-play with Weapons May End Like This', 1942

Lithograph poster designed by Abram Games (1914-1996), printed by Walsall Lithographic Company Limited, 1942.

Born in 1914 to Latvian and Russo-Polish parents in Whitechapel, East London, Abram Games joined the Army in 1939 and was quickly designated the role of draughtsman. By 1942 he had been promoted to captain and was the only Official War Poster Artist for the rest of the Second World War.

Games used the device of the inside of a rifled gun barrel to highlight the mortal dangers of mishandling weapons and ammunition. The dramatic use of blood red and black heightens the power of the image.

After the war his freelance career went from strength to strength with commissions for the Festival of Britain, the United Nations, Shell, Guinness and the BBC. After a career spanning over 60 years, Games died in 1996 leaving a legacy of daring, distinctive and elegant images.

Justly famous for his innovative and bold poster commissions, Games claimed that the perfect design employed 'maximum meaning, minimum means'.

As Official War Artist Games produced about 100 extraordinary posters for the British Army, ranging in theme from recruitment, through to personal hygiene and post-war re-training. This poster warns soldiers not to mess around with weapons.

From a collection of 45 posters from World War Two (1939-1945).

NAM Accession Number

NAM. 2013-07-2-15


National Army Museum, Out of Copyright


National Army Museum, Study collection

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