This film is part of Free

World's Largest Photograph

Shot, blown up and stitched back together, wartime’s biggest and most colourful piece of propaganda is squeezed into Mayfair in this 1918 newsreel.

Non-Fiction 1918 1 mins Silent


Under the direction of the Ministry of Information, Grafton Galleries, formerly of Mayfair, London, displayed the first colour tinted war photographs in 1918. Its centrepiece titled ‘The Dreadnoughts of the Battlefield’ was claimed to be the world’s largest photograph: a 20 foot wide composite created from multiple negatives and artificially coloured. The newsreel shows retouchers hand colouring the photograph, working with spray guns and adding further detail with an oil stick.

The event followed a series of popular wartime exhibitions which all boldly demonstrated how photography, and other types of images, had emerged during the First World War as a key propaganda tools, alongside the written word.