Something fishy going on

Now here’s a thing.  To be precise, it’s a website about Macfisheries, full of pictures of pre-war shops and employee reminiscences.  But it’s also got a fair smattering of the work of Hans Schleger, who designed pretty much the entire corporate identity for the food chain throughout the 1950s, from shop layout to packaging design and advertising.

To whet your appetite, here are some packaging designs (photos from the Hans Schleger exhibition at the V&A in 2007).

Hans Schleger strawberries packaging Macfisheries

Hans Schleger shrimp packaging Macfisheries

But what I really wanted to draw your attention to are the brilliant in-store posters that Schleger and his studio designed to be displayed in the shops.

Hans Schleger salmon Macfisheries poster

Hans Schleger chicken vintage poster Macfisheries

Macfisheries Hans Schleger turkey poster

I want to buy salmon, turkey and chicken right this minute.  From a beautifully-designed shop please.

But these posters have got me thinking.  Because I have never, ever seen one of these in the wild – at an auction or on eBay (and if anyone has, there’s a comments link below where you can tell me all about it at the bottom of this post).

One of the reasons, I suppose, that railway posters and London Underground posters have ended up being so collectable is that they are out there to be collected in the first place.  Both the railway companies and London Transport did sell contemporary editions of their posters*.  So pristine copies – however few – were kept and framed and had at least a fighting chance of surviving for longer than the duration of the advertising campaign.

Whereas, I’m guessing, the Macfisheries posters were put into a wet and rather smelly bin at the end of the week or month.  And so now next to none survive, apart from perhaps the few above and those that Schleger himself kept and which are now at the National Archive of Art and Design (about whom I am going to grumble at length one of these days as they are absolutely inaccessible online).  I’d imagine that as a result, they are quite valuable; then again, it might work the other way, as there’s no established market in them.  I rather doubt that though.

* I once saw on eBay a 1930s poster advertising that London Transport posters could be bought at their 55, Broadway headquarters.  Not only did I fail to buy it, I didn’t even keep an image of it, and now I can’t track it down at the London Transport Museum.  Any clues, anyone?

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