“An extraordinary large double sided anti-alcohol poster (measuring 118cm x 97cm), illustrating graphically the alleged dangers of industrial alcohol and absinthe, and praising the healthy effects of wine, cider and beer.
Designed for display in schools, it clearly shows the influence of the wine lobby as the force behind the French temperance movement, because the use of wine is not just not condemned, it’s almost actively encouraged. Particularly noteworthy are the two contrasting guinea pig experiments: in the one the animal is fed industrial alcohol and has the usual epileptic fit and then dies a horrible death; in the other the guinea pig is fed wine and has nothing worse than a pleasant sleep, before waking up with presumably only a mild hangover…
Absinthe is singled out for special opprobrium on the reverse side: L’Absinthe est un poison plus redoutable que la morphine et la belladone - Absinthe is a more fearsome poison than morphine or deadly nightshade.
The poster was designed by Dr Galtier-Boissière, curator of the scientific collections at the Musée Pédagogique de l’État, and printed in 1898 by Armand Colin et Cie in Paris.”