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Percival Trompf

Australian, 1902 - 1964

Percival (Percy) Trompf was born in Beaufort, Victoria and studied at the Ballarat Art School. In 1923 he moved to Melbourne to work for the commercial art firm of Giles and Richards. Later as a freelance artist specialising in poster design, he opened a studio and designed thousands of advertising posters for such prominent Australian companies as Bryant & May Pty Ltd, Palmolive Co Ltd and the travel magazine 'Walkabout'.

While Trompf's posters for the Australian National Travel Association and the Victorian Government Railways received widespread recognition for their vivid images of the Australian landscape and wildlife, his most popular posters were inspired by historical events (eg Captain Cook's landing at Botany Bay and the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge).

Trompf's bright, colourful and optimistic images had wide appeal, especially during the Depression. In the 1930s his posters attracted international recognition and won several prizes. During World War II Trompf designed posters for the National Safety Council for State Emergency Services and in 1942. He enlisted as a pilot in the RAAF. After the war, photographs gradually replaced graphic imagery and demand for poster art fell. By the late 1950s Trompf was working as a graphic designer for the Australian Publicity Council, a non-profit organisation that promoted Australia to the international travel market.

Trompf was free to experiment with designs and throughout his career frequently used natural images such as seagulls, sunshine and the beach to beguile tourists to regions of Australia.