It’s all Shelf Appeal‘s fault again.  Her post about Bruce Angrave led to this French blogger posting some more late last year which was then tweeted by Kickcan & Conkers.  Which led in turn to some tapping and muttering in the next door room as Mr Crownfolio searched the web.  A few days later the postman rang on the doorbell.

Inside front cover of Bruce Angrave paper Sculpture book

Ex-Hendon library, with no dust jacket and all in black in white, but still a good use of just a few pounds.  Because it’s packed with goodies.  Quite apart from Angrave’s own work, like these figures for the Festival of Britain,

Bruce Angrave paper sculpture figures from Festival of Britain

there’s also a history of paper sculpture through the ages, as well as a review of paper sculptors working at the time.  And there were quite a few of them about.  This 5′ high paper fantasia was built by Alan Farmer for the Ideal Home Show.

Alan Farmer figure for HP Sauce Ideal home show from paper sculpture book

While this fairground horse was produced by Studio Diana for the British Industries Fair.

Studio Diana horse for British Industries Fair from Paper Sculpture book

Interestingly, along with a number of other examples in the book, the horse was commissioned by Beverley Pick, who clearly liked paper sculpture a great deal.

But best of all, there are instructions on how to make your own paper sculpture.  Perhaps you would like to make your own version of the wonderful gentleman here.

BRuce Angrave paper sculpture of posh old codger

Bruce Angrave paper sculpture how to diagram

The diagram above is just the beginning, there are also another ten pages of diagrams, instructions and photos.  There’s nothing like jumping in at the deep end, is there.  But if anyone wants to have a go, I will happily scan the whole thing, and then feature the finished results on here.

Quite apart from enjoying the book for its own sake, it has also provoked me to some thinking.  For a start, it’s made me look at Angrave’s posters again. Some are conventionally produced, like this Hastings poster that I’ve mentioned before.

Angrave hastings vintage travel poster

But others, like this 1964 London Transport poster, are actually produced as paper sculptures (and then photographed?  I have no idea).

Bruce Angrave London Transport poster 1964 Christopher Wren

We’ve got a copy of that somewhere I think.

But the other thought is provoked by this, the frontispiece photo.  In it Angrave is producing a logo for Pathe News, for use in what would now be called an ident.

Bruce Angrave makes Pathe News cockerel logo in paper

I had never thought that part of the purpose of paper sculpture was to produce CGI before the computer was up to the job.  But perhaps it was.

  • I think if they could make it in paper, they did, in those lovely inter-war years. What’s also interesting is the Polish emigres that taught us how to do it all. Very hard to find anything out about them, though.

  • Why 90% of all good post war design was done by emigres is something I mean to post about when I can get my head round it.

    Beverley Pick’s niece posted on an old page recently, and mentioned in passing that he was originally from Austria too. It probably all connects up with the Romantic Moderns British romanticism idea. Either that or poor teaching in art schools. Any thoughts?

  • French blogger’s writing ;-).
    I don’t think it was meant to produce CGI before time. It was just meant to produce 3D pictures… CGI just made it easier and faster/ Have you ever heard Matthew Reinhart & Robert Sabuda explaining how they considered their art vs animation ? Quite similar.
    By the way do you have the exact book references ? I will happily give it a try whenever I’ll find the time (unless you tell me I have little chance to find it now that the postman has delivered the last one)
    Thank you for digging up this gem, i’ll surely track back.

  • This form of ahem “Cut and Glued Imagery” is a real skill – I had no idea of it’s Polish history – but it perhaps does explain the design of some of the post war posters (and indeed war posters) that I’ve seen and have and wondered about from time to time.

  • There’s actually tons more about its history and practice – as well as Angrave explaining how he himself works – in the book, it’s well worth a look should you ever come across a copy!

  • Hello. I have 3 books by Bruce Angrave : “Cat-alogue”, “Magnifi-cat” and “Tripli-cat”. They are drawings of cats, with puns, previously published in Woman Magazine in the seventies. Do you know if it’s the same Bruce Angrave? Thank you for your answer.

  • Excellent blog – and I made the sculpture of the ‘wonderful gentleman’ many years ago : he is Franklin D Roosevelt. I traced all the pieces onto a sheet of glass and then projected them using a bike lamp onto cartridge paper (in my Ma’s pantry) to scale them up. This was long before photocopiers were accessible, with the pince nez made out of a squash bottle.

  • This is possibly one of the best things anyone has ever told me on this blog. Do you have any pictures?!

  • I am 88, and did paper sculptor in my ‘other’ young life. I remember a very detailed ‘tern’ bird, I would be interested in any books on Bruce Angrave.

    One of my grand-daughters is starting in this media.

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