I hadn’t meant to return to Tom Eckersley so soon, but Mr Crownfolio came across this on eBay.
“What do you think?” he said.
“I think it’s very expensive,” I said. With a starting price at £100, it certainly is, even if it is a limited edition of 500.
“Do you know what,” he said after we had stared at the screen for a few more minutes. “I think we’ve got this on the bookshelves downstairs.”
I looked blankly at him, certain that I have never seen this book before in my life. But it turns out that he’s right. Which means that we can’t have paid £100 for it as I would definitely have remembered any transaction of that sort (to put this into perspective, I could count the number of posters that we have paid more than £100 for pretty much on the fingers of one hand). Perhaps it isn’t the limited edition, we thought – but it is too, copy number 100. You may consider me surprised.
While this whole episode may have left me wondering how close I am to utter senility, the upside in terms of the blog is that I can show you some of the book – in particular a few images that don’t seem to be in the Eckersley archive. (Apologies, incidentally, for the slightly poor quality of the scans; I am terrified of damaging the spine of a book that is clearly more valuable than I thought – and I’d also say that the colour reproduction in the book isn’t as bright as it might be).
National Bus Company Poster, 1974
Imperial War Museum Poster, 1981
Apparently the image above Eckersley himself thought to be amongst his best work. I think I can actually remember seeing it displayed on the tube when I visited London, back in the day.
But the book has also made me look at a couple of other designs properly. Like this one, for an exhibition in Sweden in 1960, which is almost impossibly modern for its date.
As well as this, from 1973, which is nothing short of genius in its minimalism.
The other really useful thing about the book is that it has a slightly more detailed and personal biography of Tom Eckersley than you might find on the web. So I’m going to revive my long-lost copy typing skills and put a slightly edited version of it on here for you at some point this week. Illustrated with a few more images from the book. You’ll hardly need to buy a copy yourself.
Finally, one further benefit of all of this is that I have looked at our bookshelves properly (generally they are Mr Crownfolio’s domain) and discovered all sorts of contemporary design and poster annuals, so I will, gradually, get round to scanning and posting about them all.