Have you ever wondered how the most famous Guinness artwork was created?
Guinness, the Queen of England and the Pope are not often placed together but in the portfolio of English artist John Gilroy, their portraits and artwork stand proudly side by side.
Born on May 30, 1898, in Northumberland, England, John Gilroy was a renowned artist and illustrator, known as the portrait artist of the Queen of England, the Pope and of other heads of the British government.
The work he is most famed for, however, is the iconic Guinness artwork of the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, which featured a zookeeper, zoo animals and of course, plenty of pints of stout.
In the video below, Guinness archivist Eibhlin Colgan explains some of the fascinating history of the Guinness artwork created by Gilroy, who is said to have found inspiration for his designs by a trip to the circus while working at S. H. Benson's advertising agency.
While at the circus, as the story goes, Gilroy witnessed a sea lion balancing a ball on his nose. The idea sparked his imagination and caused the artist to rush back to his studio where he soon created a line of animals positioned around a glass of Guinness and a poor zookeeper trying to recapture it.
Included in the collection was a bear, an ostrich, a sea lion and of course, the most famous of all, the toucan.
The zookeeper was created as a caricature of Gibney himself, shown holding a Guinness extra stout as Guinness draft would not yet have been invented.
So inspirational was the Gilroy Guinness artwork that it is still being used today in new-look and unique packaging that brings with it a heartwarming level of nostalgia.
In fact, when visiting the new US-based Guinness brewery in Maryland, you'll be able to see some of these recreations. Guinness employed the talents of local artist Roves Wiley to create a mural inspired by the historic Guinness artwork but gave it a Maryland twist - replacing the traditional Guinness Draught pints with their Guinness Blonde.
Other animals from Gilroy's collection are also recreated throughout other bars in the brewery.