Artist and Balloonist

Last time I posted about Royston Cooper, I was shocked just how little it was possible to find out about him.  To the tune of nothing.  Christies could give me his dates, but that was about it.

Royston Cooper bus tour posters from Morphets

But, his widow, Marie, got in contact with the blog to say thank you for mentioning him.  I asked her to write something about him, so that the next person to search would at least do better than I had.

Owl mystery tours coach poster Royston Cooper

And she has, for which I am very grateful.

Royston Cooper 1931-1985 Designer/artist/painter/typographer.

Commissioned to design posters/prints/decorative drawings/brochures/annual reports/packaging/restaurant decor for major companies in UK and Europe. Always with a new approach.

Jovial character. Studio of 23 years in Belsize Park, London NW3.  Popular meeting place for clients and artists alike.

Also Balloonist flying his own balloon ‘Sunny Money’ G-BDBI in UK/France/Belgium/Germany/Sweden/Gordon Bennett races in the U.S.

I rather like the sound of him from that.

Royston Cooper giraffe coach poster from Morphets

Since I first wrote, Artist Partners have also put up a slightly more formal CV for him, which is great.  I’m really pleased that his life is now being recognised in proportion to the wonderfulness of the work.

Air Coach poster Royston Cooper

All the images, incidentally, are Royston Cooper posters which are on sale at Morphets in a few weeks time, and I’ve chosen only ones I’ve never seen before.  Don’t eat them all at once.

Two coach posters by Royston Cooper from Morphets

  • Dear Sir, Madam,

    Earlier today I asked for information about Royston Cooper. Now I see that his widow, Marie, has found this blog as well. Could you ask her to contact me? She and her husband lived in Amsterdam in the late 1950’s and they were friends of my parents, José Rentes de Carvalho and Winnie Waalwijk. Mr Cooper painted three paintings in 1957 which are still at my mother’s house.

    Thanks in advance.

    Isabel Carvalho, Netherlands

  • I remember Royston Cooper who was friend of my father’s – follow the link to my website. He did a very nice campaign for Ribena I remember and I had a couple of Bena Bunny t-shirts linked to it. He was an amazing, larger than life character.

  • Royston and Marie were old friends many years ago and I have spent many “liquid” happy hours at Belsize Park.Royston was an amazing designer who grasped a project immediately with enthusiasm and with his down to earth insight transformed an idea into something magical.The saying that you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear-Royston could.Larger than life,yes,but a wonderful,loyal friend.

  • I too remember this larger than life character! I recall Royston Taking me for a ride round Marylebone in the World Cup Willie rally car ! He was also involved in some way – probably PR/marketing – with an innovative young computer company I worked with in the 60’s in Gt Portland Street……and many a happy hour was spent by all in The Masons Arms. His graffiti was often displayed in the gents there, much appreciated by all – including us girls who were allowed to have a peek….ha ha. If I dug deep enough I’m sure I would unearth more fun stories from the deep recesses of my mind!

  • My husband met Royston through printing. We spent many happy hours with him and his wife and daughters in Belsize Park. When he took up ballooning we used to be his ground crew sometimes.. I remember an occasion when he took off from Old Warden and landed in Chicksands (a US airforce base!!) When he landed he was surrounded by men with guns and he cordially offered them a plastic cup of champagne! He was a lovely man, larger than life. We still have a calendar which my husband printed and which one month was one of his pictures. I’m sure it must be a collector’s item by now.

  • I was Royston’s dialysis nurse in the 1980’s. He was such a lovely man. When I think of him I can hear his wonderful laugh. He told me many balloon stories. I always look in antique shops for his cigarette cards he said he did of balloons. I have not had any success finding them yet. I still look!
    It was so nice to hear other people speak of him on this site. He was unforgetable, that is for sure.

  • After leaving the army and art college, I worked as a designer with Royston Cooper from 1968 to 1976 at Belsize Park. A long time for a first job but such was the variety of design work and of my involvement within it, it was difficult to move on. Even much larger and more prestigious design companies of the time seemed tame by comparison. (and you never knew what was going to happen next). It was at times very hard work but you always knew that there would be some ‘reward.’ A long lunch, which then became dinner (often still seated at the same table) which ended up in some drinking club or more often as not at Bill Bentleys or Henrys (off Baker Street). I remember Roger Sims and of course meeting Frank Grainger in a Nottingham casino. There are many many stories.

  • I would have loved to have done that, it sounds amazing. Please do add any of the stories you like here!

  • Thank you for this posting this information about Royston. My husband, British balloon pilot, Julian Nott,, died a few months ago and going through his archives I discovered the most wonderful collection of posters, all signed by Royston. Until then I only knew of Royston as a balloon pilot, my husband spoke of him often, they were great friends and his wife, Marie, was Julian’s PA for many years. Sadly I never met either of them. I had no idea that Royston was an artist, your site has given me more information than any other.

  • Yes it is. I would like to have met him, I think, because everyone who ever emails about him says he was wonderful.

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