The love of the iconic drink of Cognac goes way, way further than simple appreciation of the liquid itself. The skill, savoire-faire, and pure passion that goes into the creation of this, the most historic of all French brandies, connects aficionados the world over. In turn, this leads to Cognac related hobbies that are as diverse as they are gratifying. And none is so fascinating than that of one, Simon Goode—a man who’s dedicated over two decades to seeking out the rarest and most beautiful of vintage Cognac advertising.
Max had the most fortunate meeting with Simon right back in the days when Cognac Expert was a fledgling venture. Their mutual love of all things Cognac was a natural bond, and we’re delighted to be able to bring his incredible collection to life for our global readership to enjoy. So come with us, and delve into the fascinating world of vintage Cognac advertising to feast your eyes on some of the most important relics of French promotional history.
How did the collection start?
Simon’s inspiration for this unique collection was piqued by a simple act of giving. Some 20 years ago, his wife gave him a small ‘carton publicitaire’- or show card (a smaller format of a larger poster) as a present. He was enthralled, and it was from this that his collection was born.
L. Sauvion & Cie Cognac
What or who was the inspiration behind the collection?
Simon tells us that if there’s a single person who he could credit as being his inspiration, then it has to be Paul Ronne. This electrical engineer from Paris was probably the most prolific collector of anything to do with Cognac, amassing a collection of over 24,000 individual pieces and Cognac labels. Amazingly it was Ronne who single handedly saved the whole cultural heritage of Cognac, with his incredible assortment of every single kind of advertising item you can think of that was related to Cognac.
Sadly Paul passed away a couple of years ago. But he’s perhaps best known in the world of Cognac as having given virtually his whole collection away to the Musee des Art du Cognac, so allowing this amazing compilation of Cognac related history to be enjoyed by future generations.
Cognac Expert was fortunate enough to meet with Paul Ronne back in 2011. Check out our blog article – The Man Who Helped Save Cognac’s Cultural Heritage Single Handed. Simon met Paul through a mutual friend, and they met up many times. Each visit Paul would gift Simon with something, and over the years this included around 10 original vintage Cognac images.
How and where did these images come from?
As time went by, Simon became more and more enthralled by his collection. He began to research these images, and would travel to meet other enthusiasts. In the early days he was lucky enough to find some wonderful additions to his collections in French brocantes. These are like flea markets, garage sales, or car boot sales where second hand items are put up for sale to the public. Of course, with the advent of eBay and other auction sites, he soon was purchasing gems from around the globe, as well as from France.
As he became better known for his collection, and increased his network, dealers started to contact him when they came across an image that they thought might be of interest. And so his notoriety grew, along with the size of his collection.
Castillon Cognac – Excellent digestif
Are they all made from card or paper?
In general, yes. Most of these images are a scaled down size of the original full sized poster. They measure perhaps 20 x 30 cm, or 40 x 60 in size, and are referred to as ‘cartons’. However there are a few in Simon’s collection that are made from tin, including ones from Courvoisier, Jules Robin, Comandon, and Cognac Sorin.
Where are the images displayed?
Simon has more than 300 original images. This makes him one of the world’s most prolific collectors. Most are the small, carton, type, but he does have five or six that are in large format. We have to say, you’re going to need an awful lot of wall space to showcase all of those, that’s for sure. Many of them adorn the walls of Simon’s houses—both in France and in the UK.
Otard Chateau de Cognac
What about favorites? There’s always favorites!
No matter how large a collection becomes, any collector will always have those pieces that he holds most dear. And Simon Goode is naturally no exception. He says that he gets the greatest pleasure when he discovers an image that is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also very rare. He also loves them for their curiosity value, and other interesting features.
This Cognac Audouin image is one Simon bought over 12 years ago. It certainly hits the markers for both attractiveness and curious. A baby on a donkey, carrying a bottle of Cognac! What on earth would health and safety have to say about that in the 21stcentury?
Cognac Riviere Gardrat & Co
This Riviere Gardrat image was literally saved, after being found used as a backing for a framed painting. What a crime it would’ve been if this had never again seen the light of day. But thankfully it was found by a dealer and subsequently sold to Simon, so it once again can be displayed to the world.
Castillon V.O. Cognac – Brandy at its best
The Castillon image is an interesting one, being the only enamel sign in the collection.
Other favorites of Simon’s include ane of the very rarest in the collection, an image created for Cognac Jules Robin & Cieby by the most famous of all 20thcentury poster artists—Leonetto Cappiello. In fact, Simon tells us that this may well be the only such example in this size that remains. It certainly deserves its place as one of the jewels in the crown of the collection. When it comes to high tech, then the inclusion of a mirror in an advertising image created for Cognac Chabanneau was cutting edge in its day. And then there’s the house of F. Sechaud & Cie Cognac. If you’ve not heard of them, it’s not surprising. Simon’s ultra rare image is of a Cognac house that, as of today, no one has yet found a record of. Rather amazing to think of, in our digital age, that a Cognac house could simply disappear from all known records.
We have to say, this collection of vintage Cognac images is pretty breathtaking. Thanks so much to Simon for allowing us to share them with you, plus giving us the backstory behind such a delightful collection. Here’s a few more images to enjoy—it’s just a shame we don’t have room to feature them all. Perhaps we’ll have to do a ‘part 2’ at a later date, as it’s been a tough choice to decide which ones to include, and which to leave out.
Vieux St. Jean Sicard & Fils
Cognac Jacquet – Jacquet & Co. Cognac
Tiffon est mon Cognac car il est le produit naturel de notre sol charantais
The photographs come from the private collection of Simon Goode who had given permission for them to be reproduced here. They may be used freely, without modification, but only:
– for private use,
– for general reference
– for teaching and research purposes
They must not under any circumstances be used for commercial purposes in any form, such as reproduction for reselling.