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British Film Posters

Three Sheet
40x81 to 40x90

The British Three Sheet was one of the earlier posters issued in the UK. By 1912, the US distributors were having a major impact on the film industry and the 3 sheet seems to have initially been used by United States distributors. The earliest British 3 Sheets that we have in our database are from 1912 and were US companies that had established offices in London. Primarily from Selig and Thanhouser. These 3 sheets were printed in the UK at Jordison Co.

There seemed to have been numerous distributors issuing 3 sheets before WWI in varying sizes from 40x85 to 40x90. After the war ended in 1918, by 1919.. 3 sheets were already being issued again. The 40x90 seems to have become the most popular issued by British distributors during the late teens and early twenties.

The 40x90 was the easiest paper size for paper suppliers being 3 times the British Quad (30x40 - see our article on the Development of the Poster), however the 1930s seems to have reduced the size to around 40x85. Sizes remained variable until World War II, when larger sizes were eliminated.

After WWII, all larger paper usage (above 1200 sq in) for advertising was banned (See our article on British Quads). Upon reinstatement, the size standardized more to the current 40x81 even though some distributors still used slight variations.

Complications in Terminology

We have always heard that studios in the 1930s called a 3 sheet a 6 sheet. Well, that is true... BUT in the British Film Industry, they've ALWAYS been called a 6 sheet, AND they are STILL called a 6 sheet.

Notice the image on the left. This clip is from the British Pressbook for the 1932 release Grand Hotel showing the 2 different styles of 6 sheets..each measuring 40x85 ( we call these 3 sheets). See Poster Sizes

The British film industry uses the Double Crown (20x30) as the standard one sheet.... these posters were originally 40x90 which is 6 times a 20x30...... BUT they don't call the Double Crown a one sheet. There is a British one sheet that is 27x40, and 6 times the size of a 27x40 would be almost double the size..... The industry still continues to this day to calculate the 20x30 as the one sheet which was started at the turn of the century.

This particular size has almost been eliminated and is now rarely used.

Here's a look at the British 3 Sheets in our database

Go Back to Poster Sizes

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