I’ve always been interested in the afterlife of objects – how things survive long enough to become collectibles or heirlooms or even national treasures. It’s generally a story of chance and – quite often – being so lost and overlooked that no one bothers to throw you away. It’s also a story that isn’t often told as part of design history; once an object has been created and made, that’s normally the end of it. But often what happens next is at least as interesting, and can also be very revealing about how we appreciate, or disregard, the objects around us.
So, following on from yesterday’s post about just how little survives, here are a few of our posters with the tales of how they made it through to the twenty-first century.
Tom Eckersley, Post Early for GPO, 1955, Crown Folio 15″ x 10″
Saved by a man who went into his local post office and asked them to keep for him all of the posters and publicity material that they had finished with. (I will write more about this one of these days as it’s worth a whole post in its own right.)
F H K Henrion, Changing of the Guard for London Transport, 1956, Double Royal 40″ x 25″
Kept by a tutor in graphic design who used it in his teaching.
Mount/Evans, Anti-Smoking poster for COI, 1965-ish, Double Crown 30″ x 20″
Bought at auction but I believe it came from the designers’ own archive.
ARP Poster, Edward McKnight Kauffer, 1938, Crown Folio 15″ x 10″
Found in the roof of a scout hut. The air rifle pellet holes had to be restored…
Patrick Bogue from Onslows also mentioned in passing that he once found original railway poster artwork being used as insulation in a loft space. Can anyone better that?