Gilroy was Good for Guinness

David Hughes

A picture book with a narrative storyline detailing the legendary images of John Gilroy, who was responsible for Guinness campaigns we still remember today.
Date Published :
April 2014
Publisher :
Liberties Press
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding : Hardback
ISBN : 9781907593994
Pages : 256
Stock Status : In stock


John Gilroy produced some of the best and most remembered advertising images for Guinness spanning the years 1930-1960. The campaigns of Guinness for Strength, Guinness is Good for You, and My Goodness, My Guinness are legendary.

In the compilation of this book, author David Hughes has accessed almost 250 John Gilroy oil on canvas proof adverts produced by Benson for the Guinness account. All of the material originates from the Benson Advertising Agency archive, as it has the distinctive stickers on each piece, often GA numbered and dated. Many proof adverts were trials and were never used commercially. Therefore, most of this artwork has never been reproduced before and is an exciting find for the world of advertising and for Guinness brand lovers.

Hughes has also met with surviving members of the Gilroy family, who supported the book with stories and anecdotes. The book is also supplemented with material from Guinness’s archive in Scotland, the History of Advertising Trust, collectors, American art dealers, as well as Brian Sibley, who did the first Guinness Advertising Book in 1986.

This is a high-quality, hardback reference book with a strong narrative story, that will delight collectors and Guinness lovers worldwide. It is the first fully-illustrated biography of Gilroy with text & photo contributions from the surviving family. Features never before seen Guinness artwork which will delight the brand lover!


"Gilroy Was Good For Guinness by David Hughes is a delightful read about the now deceased artist, John Thomas Young Gilroy, who created years of eye-catching, humorous ads which kept Guinness at the top of sales and in the eyes of the public. His art was not only rendered beautifully and colorfully with his innate great talent, but it sparkled with humor. His brief, catchy statements, which punctuated the art, stuck in the minds of viewers who could glance quickly and get the full impact while on the move, starting the urge for a Guinness building in their psyche. For decades his art kept changing, reflecting in the Guinness ads the elements, moods, and news situations of the various eras. This is the first collection of his work and history, with the complete compendium in the back. You will find it very enjoyable to read over and over, appreciating the genius of his talent and skill, not only as an artist but also as a people person and one who could gently and quickly persuade his audience. Excellent!!!"

- Bonnie Neely, Real Travel Adventures

"A full-color book that captures the richness of the Guinness campaign. It's not a cheap book, but the money is well-spent on the reproductions. Those who enjoy commercial art, and especially the fans of breweriana, would probably appreciate having this on their bookshelf."

- Beervana

More a biography and art portfolio than a beer book, per se, this fine text covers the 1930-60s output of commercial and fine artist John Gilroy, who worked extensively with building the international Guinness brand in the 20th century. Including hundreds of paintings, drawings, unused proofs, and mock-up illustrations (as well as plenty of finished works), Gilroy's iconic and idiosyncratic artworks certainly helped a great deal to build the Guinness brand that continues to define the classic Irish stout, even today. Hughes examines the work, alongside Gilroy's own life both personally and professionally in these years. That said, this is first and foremost an art book, and offers the most extensive and exhaustive collection of Gilroy art to be assembled anywhere. There are his crazy collection of animal-centered art to promote Guinness, as well as the popular phrases "My Goodness My Guinness" and "Guinness For Strength", to promote the multitude of health benefits (!!?) of the roasty dark brew. As fascinating are the many Guinness ads Gilroy did for other countries, notably Germany (during the world wars, complete with Nazi iconography), as well as Russia, Greece, and the United States, where the familiar toucan flies high above the Golden Gate in San Francisco. Gilroy Was Good For Guinness is a wonderful and engrossing collection of John Gilroy's fantastic commercial works. Any serious and fan of historical beer memorabilia and Guinness's rich history would do well to seek this magnificent tome out.

- Goatsden

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