Amnesia

I’m still catching up with the auctions, but I think we are nearly there now.  I missed the recent Van Sabben auction entirely, but then there were only three or four bits of British interest in there, of which this Reginald Mount poster was perhaps the most interesting.

REginald Mount RAF poster 1951

There seems to be an almost unfailing rule with Van Sabben, that they will always have a Reginald Mount poster and it will usually be one I’ve not seen before (we’ve been known to buy them in the past, too).  I wonder where they come from?

This one, however, is unsold, and so you could still get it in the aftersale if you wished, along with these two.

Clive Upton Order your fuel now squirrel ww2 propaganda poster

Claude Buckle Railway poster 1938 Bristol

 

In the interests of accuracy I must point out that the Buckle poster dates from 1938 so much of Bristol’s medieval architecture was subsequently bombed, then quite a lot of what remained was trashed by planners, so don’t go looking for it on the basis of what you see on here.

There’s also a poster of the Queen’s Coronation Regalia still on offer should you desire, but I don’t.

More troublingly, I also missed out on the most recent Christies Sale, but I am inclined to think that this was a bit of a Freudian slip, as I didn’t much care for it.  There was a tonne of French and Russian stuff – and I know that this is just them doing what auction houses do, following the money, but even so.

There were a couple of London transport pair posters that I tend to follow in the auctions, because we’ve owned one and still own the other.

Edward bawden London transport vintage poster

David Gentleman vintage London Transport pair poster from eBay

And so I can tell you that as both went for £750, prices are dropping, because they did used to fetch £1,000 each a few years ago.  Other than that it was a pretty dreary selection, so no wonder I forgot.

On a  more cheery note, Onslows have put up a preview for their December auction (carefully timed so that we can all forget about it thanks to Christmas parties and so on).  Highlight for me is this delightful Henrion.

Henrion GPO post early poster

I said to Mr Crownfolio that there would be no point buying it as we’d never have a Christmas poster framed.   He laughed at me, and quite rightly, because this is our hallway.

our hallway

There are more on the other side, too, so that’s me told.

Apparently the Henrion is just part of a large collection of GPO posters.  These seem to be all the rage as almost every auction seems to have had something similar this year.  There are other ones illustrated, including quite a few of the fine art location ones like this.

JOhn Nash Nayland Suffolk GPO poster

But also this lovely Eckersley too.

Tom Eckersley cat ornament poster GPO pack parcels carefully

There are Cuneos, and railway posters and all sorts of other things too, but who cares about those in comparison to the GPO delights?

Finally, something happening in real life rather than on the internet.  This Saturday, November 22nd, I will be at a Vintage and Other Things fair (the other things include macaroons, so I’m quite looking forward to this) selling all of our lovely Daphne Padden prints and tea towels and mats and cards, along with a selection of vintage posters.

Carlton-card-Padden

It’s at the Silkmill, Merchant’s Barton, Frome, Somerset BA11 1PT.  Do come along, and if you mention Quad Royal, you’ll get a free Party Ring biscuit.

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Further Krolleries

A brief post today, simply to share something which came in via email this week.

Stan Krol artwork for iced tea

It’s an original piece of artwork by Stan Krol, designed to advertise Iced Tea (at least there’s a piece of paper pasted on the back, saying Iced Tea, so that seems like a reasonable assumption).

Now as I have said very many times before, it’s always great to see an original piece of artwork, simply because so few survive.  And in this case, it’s doubly lucky because it was found in a charity shop by a couple, Delia and Mike Allen, who realised that they had something interesting and did a bit of research to find out what it was.  So I think we can all give a hurrah for things surviving and being recognised.

But I do have to admit that my heart is not entirely full of joy.  Because do you know how much the finders paid for that lovely piece of original Stan Krol artwork?  Three pounds.  Three whole pounds.  I cannot tell you how envious I am.  Nothing goes for three pounds in the charity shops round us, never mind then getting an original piece of art work for that little.  If anyone knows where there might be other bargains like that,  can you let me know.  Please.

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See London

Onwards and upwards then, onwards and upwards.   Which today means London Transport Auctions, whose next auction is on November 1st.

As ever, along with the opportunity to buy a conductor’s hat or the radiator grille from a Routemaster, there are also a fair number of posters, some of them being rather good.  Really rather good – I would quite happily buy any or all of the posters on today’s blog, the only exception being the one we already own.  So this is going to be a relatively straightforward scoot through what’s taken my fancy, with the posters being allowed to speak for themselves.  For a change.

As I’ve been mentioning John Bainbridge quite recently, shall we start with him?

Original 1953 London Transport double-royal POSTER 'Buckingham Palace' by John Bainbridge (1919- 1978) who designed posters for LT from 1953-1957.
John Bainbridge, 1953, est. £75-90

Original 1956 London Transport double-royal POSTER 'Epping Forest' (Dick Turpin) by John Bainbridge (1919-1978) who designed posters for LT from 1953- 1957.
John Bainbridge, 1956, est. £40-60

And look, we have not only dates but proper estimates too from these lovely people.  Although the estimates, even allowing for some edge wear, do seem quite conservative, so it will be interesting to see what these actually go for.  I’m less likely to live with a royalist guardsman, but I’d happily pay £60 for Dick Turpin any day.

There are a couple more posters from the same year as the second Bainbridge, both excellent, which makes me wonder if someone went on a buying spree that year, and the results have just emerged from the attic.

Original 1956 London Transport double-royal POSTER 'The Tower' by Hans Unger (1915-1975)
Hans Unger, 1956, est. £75-100

Original 1956 London Transport double-royal POSTER 'Visitor's London' by Frederic Henri Kay Henrion (1914-1990) who designed posters for LT from 1942-1956.
F H K Henrion, 1956, est. £75-100

I have, briefly, written about this Henrion series before, but they deserve some more attention really, for being both insane and at the same time very, very ahead of their time.  But now is not the moment.

And that’s not the end of the 1950s classics either; there are also these two to take into consideration.

http://vintageposterblog.com/2010/09/17/ahead-of-his-time/#.VFEX_4d3agQ
Victor Galbraith, 1959, est. £75-100

 Original 1953 London T ransport double-royal POS TER from Coronation Y ear 'Kensington Palace' by Sheila Robinson (1925- 1987) who designed posters for L T 1951-53.
Sheila Robinson, 1953, est. £70-90

Or if you fancy something smaller, there is this Harry Stevens bus poster for the Lord Mayor’s Show.

Original 1959 London Transport POSTER 'Lord Mayor's Show' by Harry Stevens (1919-2008)
Harry Stevens, 1959, est. £50-100

On a price per square inch value (I’m estimating here, I haven’t actually worked it out) I don’t think that Stevens is worth that much more than Unger – or indeed than most of the posters I’ve already mentioned above.  But, as ever, I am quite prepared to be proved wrong.

Now I do tend to prefer post-war graphics but I’m not leaving out the earlier posters from the sale, it’s just that there really are very few of them in comparison.  There are one or two wartime ones, of which this Bruce Angrave blackout poster is probably my favourite.

Original 1942 WW2 London Transport POSTER 'In the Blackout.....make sure it is the platform side' by Bruce Angrave (1914-1983)
Bruce Angrave, 1942, est. £75-125.

Plus there is also this rather lovely little 1938 bus poster, but I’m sure I like it because it’s not so much of the thirties as pointing the way forward to the Festival of Britain styles of the early fifties.

Original 1938 London Transport POSTER 'A.A.A. Championships, White City' (Amateur Athletics) by Harry Blacker (1910-1999) who designed posters for London Transport in 1938/39.
Harry Blacker, 1938, est. £75-125

Apparently after being a designer before the war, Blacker gained fame in the 1960s as a cartoonist, particularly for the Jewish Chronicle.  But he did a number of posters, so I will keep an eye out for him.

Meanwhile, these were issued in the early 50s, but aesthetically are a product of the decade before.

Pair of original 1951 London Transport POSTERS 'Men Conductors Wanted' & 'Women Conductors Wanted' featuring an illustration of a speeding double- deck bus with a conductor hanging on to the platform pole. By an unknown artist.
Anon, 1951, est. £60-75

And obviously, you need two, because no man would become a bus conductor if the poster were addressed to women, or vice versa, would they.

There are, as ever, more posters, so do go over and have a look at their catalogue.  Meanwhile, I will be back next week with the Christies auction, and, possibly, some more thoughts too.

 

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Rail comfort

For goodness sake, I’d just written an entire paragraph pointing out that this is half term, I’m meant to be having fun but instead the auctions are coming at me so thick and fast that I can’t keep up with them.  And then WordPress only went and lost it.  Which didn’t exactly make things better.

So we’ll dispense with the preamble and get on with the auction.  Fortunately for both your entertainment and my good humour, there are two rather good ones coming up.  (The implicit comparison here is with the forthcoming Christies poster sale which is dreary in the extreme and so will be summarily despatched next week instead).

First up is the GW Railwayana Auction at Pershore, which contains enough posters to constitute a full sale on their own.  But fear not, you can still also buy a GWR bottle should the urge strike you.

GWR Refreshment Department Swindon small Cod Bottle standing 7½" tall

It’s a small COD bottle.  Insert your own fish jokes here.

Or, alternatively, have a poster of some fish.  On holiday.

Poster, British Railways 'Brixham Devon - Where Summer comes early Travel by Train' by Parton

Of course there is one thing which prevents the GWRA sale from being like a proper poster auction which is that, still, despite all my complaints, there are few dates and furthermore, no estimates.  So you pays your bid and you takes your chances.  Or, if you’re me, you don’t.  And I won’t even be tempted to do so by this Daphne Padden poster, either.

Poster, British Railways 'Llandudno' by Padden, D/R size. Depicts a family standing on raised castle shape with a large beach type umbrella above. Published by British Railways London Midland Region and printed by Stafford & Co

If you share my tastes, then the other prize lot is probably this Eckersley.

Poster BR 'Paignton' by Eckersley, D/R size. Depicts the classic image of young girl on beach with a huge beach ball held in front. Published by BR Western Region, printed by Charles & Read

But there are also a few other noteworthy lots, including a Lander which is entirely new to me.

Poster, British Railways 'Come to Beautiful Wales - Cymru Ambyth' by Lander, D/R size. Depicts the Welsh National Flag with traditional costumed lady beside a harp and between St David's Cathedral and Caernarvon Castle. Published by British Railways London Midland Region and printed by Charles & Read

While Pat Keely’s vision of the future via Centrepoint doesn’t come up often enough.

Poster, London Transport 'Twenty Mile Sightseeing Bus Tour of the West End and City - Runs daily from Buckingham Palace Road (near Eccleston Bridge, Victoria Station) fare 4/- (children 2/-)' by Pat Keely, D/R size

This image of Nottingham, meanwhile is by Kerry Lee, about whom I know precisely nothing, but it’s rather good, don’t you think?

Poster BR 'Nottingham - Travel There In Rail Comfort' by Kerry Lee D/R size. A collage of famous buildings and local amenities/activities. Published by British Railways London Midland Region and printed by Waterlow & Sons.

These two posters, by Bromfield and Stevens respectively aren’t exactly news, but it’s still good to see them up for sale.

oster BR(S) 'Swanage - Fast Trains from London Waterloo' by Bromfield, D/R size. Impressionist view of the Bay. Published by BR Southern Region, printed by Chromoworks Ltd

Poster, British Railways 'Porthcawl - For Happy Health Holidays' by Stevens, D/R size. Depicts a young boy with hands full with everything for the beach and Coney Beach Pleasure Park in the background. Published by British Railways (Western Region) 1956/57 and printed by Jordison & Co

And the catalogue is prepared to tell me that the Stevens, at least, dates from 1956/7.

That’s by no means the end of it, either.  There are plenty more posters that I have a soft spot for, like this Frank Sherwin.

Poster BR(S) 'Kent - The Garden Of England' by Frank Sherwin, Q/R size. View across hop fields and orchards with oast house and church beyond. Published by British Railways Southern Region and printed by Waterlow & Sons

As well as Kenneth Steel’s bonkersly technicolour vision of British Industry in the early 1960s.

Poster, British Railways 'Service to Industry' by Kenneth Steel c.1963, D/R size. Depicts a diesel with freight wagons in the confines of a North Eastern steel works. Published by British Railways North Eastern Region and printed by Jordison & Co Ltd.

And there’s still more to look at, even just in the railway posters.  Who knew, for example, that Chester was on the coast?

Poster 'Chester' anon, D/R size. A pleasing scene on the river with boaters, band in bandstand, children feeding swans etc. Published by BR London Midland Region, printed by Jordison

There must have been a few disappointed travellers after that was published.

I’ve hardly scraped the surface of the railway posters on offer, and I’m exhausted.  But there’s more than just those up for auction, too, the sale also includes a handful of London Transport posters.  The Keely is illustrated above, but I also rather like this 1955 example, by Anthony Rossiter.

Poster, London Transport 'Country Walks' by A Rossiter (1955), D/R size. Depicts a winter woodland scene with a quote by Tennyson. 'Above the wood which grides and clangs its leafless ribs and iron horns'. Printed by the Baynard Press

The quote is by Tennyson, should you be wondering.

And, as I hinted in an earlier post, there is also a reasonable slew of wartime propaganda, from both World Wars, of which this Beverley Pick is probably the best.

Wartime Poster, 'ATS Carry the Messages - The Motorcyclist Messenger roaring across country from Headquarters to scattered units is now an ATS girl'. Depicts a lady ATS motorcyclist with German bombers in the air above

Although I don’t think I’ve ever noticed this wartime poster about wartime posters before, whose subliminal message seems to be that reading government propaganda makes you more attractive to the opposite sex.

Wartime Poster, 'Thousands of Women Needed Now in the ATS, WAAF - Vital to the Offensive - No British Woman will stand a side as the hour approaches'. Measuring 20" x 30". Depicts soldier, sailor and airman walking passed a woman reading the poster. Printed for HM Stationery Office by J Weiner Ltd

But really, you need to go and see for yourself.  There are nearly a hundred posters in the sale, and I’m bound to have missed some of them out.  And that despite the fact that I’ve gone on for too long already.  The second auction, I think, will have to wait for a post all of its own.  Watch this space.

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Getting the measure

I got somewhat over-excited towards the end of last week, when Mr Crownfolio pointed out this in a forthcoming auction.

Paul Nash 1960s reprint of rye marshes shell poster

Clearly this is a framed Paul Nash Shell poster of Rye Marches, and the reason I was getting into such a tizzy about it was that it had turned up at an automobile auction near Chippenham, with a valuation of just £80-120, and with a seeming mis-dating to the 1960s.

Now given that these posters usually go for several hundreds of pounds, sometimes thousands, I thought that this might be our only chance to buy one, so I started eyeing up the Crownfolio savings (still currently earmarked for things like doors and carpets) with a view to bidding on both that, and the Ben Nicholson which was accompanying it in the sale.

Ben Nicholson guardsman poster shell 1960s reprint

It seemed – almost – plausible that an auctioneer who specialised in cars might get this wrong, even if we might have been outbid at the actual sale itself.  (The internet is, after all a double-edged sword; it allows us to find things in obscure auctions, but it also lets every other blighter find them too.)

But then I took a closer look at the listings.  And it turned out that the auctioneers were right after all, curse them.

These aren’t 1930s posters at all, they are much later reprints.  How could I tell?  From the measurements.  A ‘proper’ Shell poster has dimensions of 30″ x 45″, their own rather unique size meant to fit the side of a lorry.  But the posters on sale here are 20″ x 30″.  So there is no way that they can be the real thing.

At which point I calmed down.  But it did make me realise how often Mr Crownfolio and I use the measurements as a way of judging when we’re considering posters, and I thought that this was something worth pointing out on here.

This probably isn’t a new idea to most of you, and of course there are lots of other ways of evaluating a poster when it’s there on paper and can be examined properly.  But should an apparent bargain turn up at a far-flung auction, or appear on eBay, the size can be a very big clue as to whether this is the bargain of all time or a great big flapping turkey of the first order.

Of course, we’ve nonetheless still bought a few turkeys in our time (at least one of which has been a reprinted World War Two poster), but I think that probably goes with the territory of buying from eBay.  Sadly Mr Crownfolio and I both have the amnesia caused by acute embarrassment, and can’t remember the details.  Sorry about that; maybe I’ll go and dig it out one day and you can all laugh at us.

That said though, if you do want to look at the Paul Nash or the Ben Nicholson on your wall, and you’d like it to take up a bit less space than normal, then there will be a couple of bargains going at Castle Combe later this week.  Just as long as you know what you’re getting.

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Dogged

There’s a certain amount of urgency to this post as the next Bloomsbury poster auction is tomorrow (Tuesday).  I do wish I could get a bit more excited about the Bloomsbury Auctions, I really do, as they really ought to be the missing piece of the jigsaw, the auctions which hoover up all the lower-priced pieces of good design which Christies no longer deign to touch.  But somehow, it just doesn’t quite work.

Nonetheless, shall  we get stuck in and see what we can turn up?  Perhaps we should begin with this post-war Shell poster, seeing as I was over in that direction this weekend.

HOOPER, George (1910-1994) YOU CAN BE SURE OF SHELL, Kintbury, Berks  lithographic poster post-war
George Hooper, est £200-300

It’s rather hard to decide where to go next, in part because the poster part of the auction (there are film posters first, but I’m ignoring those) is arranged in alphabetical order of artists.  Which is I admit entirely logical, but does make it hard to construct any kind of narrative out of the whole thing beyond saying that there are posters.   Mind you, I think that if this selection of stuff was arranged in almost any order, it would still feel scattergun, it’s just that kind of sale.

So, here is a poster I like for no good reason other than it’s kitsch and quintessentially 1950s.

Vintage BOAC poster dogs
Anonymous, est. £300-500

So if the bulldog represents Britain, and the poodle Europe, what is the black one up to?  Answers on a postcard please to the usual address.

Meanwhile this one is a classic, and a deserved one too.

GAMES, Abram (1914-1996) SEE BRITAIN BY TRAIN, British Railways  lithographic poster in colours, 1951, printed by The Baynard Press
Abram Games, 1951, est. £200-400

Although by rights that should mean that it is worth more than the dogs, but there you go.

The one feature worth noting is that once again they’ve landed a whole haul of small GPO posters (for the last outbreak, see here).

As last time, they come in lots of ten with only one of each photographed, which isn’t really an enormous lot of use if you are thinking of bidding on them.

BROWNING A POSTAL VIEW OF LONDON, GPO  lithographic poster in colours, c.1950
Browning, 1950, est. £150-250

FARNHILL BY AIR MAIL, GPO  lithographic poster in colours, c.1950
Farnhill, 1950, est. £150-250

ARMENGOL, AT ANY POST OFFICE, GPO  lithographic poster in colours, 1951, printed by J.D.& Co
Armengol, 1951, est. £150-250

This set are definitely not as stellar as the last selection.  Even though there is an Eckersley amongst them, it’s not one of his greats.

 

ECKERSLEY, Tom (1914-1997 POST OFFICE SERVICES, GPO  lithographic poster in colours, 1952
Tom Eckersley, 1952, est. £150-250

Other than that, however, it is a miscellany.  There are three of Henrion’s posters for Punch – I’ve chosen this one because it is the least frequently seen of them.

henrion-punch-99
FHK Henrion, est. £150-250

They are an interesting case, though, these posters as they appear quite regularly on the market, which leads me to suspect that they must have been sold or given away at some point.  Perhaps a trawl through early 1950s Punch might reveal the answer.

Also available are two very nice London Transport posters by Betty Swanwick.

SWANWICK, Betty (1915-1989) WILD or SAVAGE, London Underground  lithographic poster in colours, printed by Curwen Press,
Betty Swanwick, est. £200-400

SWANWICK, Betty WOOLWICH FERRY  lithographic poster in colours, 1949, printed by Curwen Pres
Betty Swanwick, 1949, est. £300-500

For once I agree with the estimates, as the second one, Woolwich Ferry, is by far the better of the two and would look wonderful on the wall, should any of you be tempted.

There is also further proof that P&O and the Orient Line commissioned a lot of very good design before the war, even if I can’t tell you any more about it than that.

ANONYMOUS ORIENT LINE TO THE MEDITERRANEAN  lithographic poster swallow cruises by 20000 ton steamers
Anonymous, est. £150-250

There’s also a chance once again to appreciate the hallucinogenic colour choices of Percy Drake Brookshaw.

BROOKSHAW, Percy Drake ((1907-1993) YOUR WINDOW OPENS THROUGH COOKS  lithographic poster in colours, c.1950, printed by Jordison & Co.
Percy Drake Brookshaw, c.1950, est. £150-250.

Along with a tram poster.

BROWN, Gregory (1887-1941) HORNIMAN MUSEUM, London Underground  lithographic poster in colours, 1934, printed by Crescens Robinson & Co. Ltd. London
Gregory Brown, 1934, set. £200-400

And that’s basically your lot.

One final thing to say, though, which is I hope you are appreciating this blog post as it is the most expensive one I have ever written.  Half way through, my computer keeled over once again and this time it looks terminal (or at least rather too expensive to repair).  So I have been to the Big Town and come back with a new laptop, all in time to get this piece out before the auction begins tomorrow.  It’s not every blog that gives service like that, you know.

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