Golf and pageantry

The weather is grey, the economy going into a tailspin, but still those auctions keep on coming.  This week’s offering is from The International Poster Center in New York.

Because it’s in New York, it’s heavy on the usual suspects of Art Nouveau, bicycle posters (which for some reason that escapes me are disproportionally collected and expensive), French travel posters and so on.  Although I do quite like this Cassandre, if only as a terrible warning of what television might do to you.

Cassandre 1951 vintage poster for Phillips television
Cassandre, 1951, est. $1,400-1,700

Naturally there are golf posters too, although here at least there is a small amount of British interest.

Rowland Hilder come to Britain for golf vintage travel poster
Rowland Hilder, est. $1,200-1,500

North Berwick vintage travel poster golf Andrew Johnson 1930
Andrew Johnson, 1930, est. $2,000-3,000

People with lots of money do choose the oddest things sometimes.

Elsewhere there are a few more British odds and ends, although they tend towards the traditional, you might even say stereotypical view of Britain.  Golf and pageantry, that is probably what we mean to the Americans.

Christopher Clark Trooping the Colour poster 1952 vintage travel british railways
Christopher Clark, 1952, est. $1,500-2,000

Seeing as we’re here, the poster above raises an interesting question about dating.  The auction house have dated it as 1932.  Which is approximately when the picture was painted, but given that it was previously issued in 1930 as an LMS poster, I’m not even sure that that’s quite right.  Here’s the earlier poster from 1930.

Christopher Clark earlier 1930 for LMS vintage railway poster using same image

But neither of these are really the date of the poster, as the British Railways logo shows – it was actually printed in 1952.  So which is the answer ?  I suppose it depends whether you’re seeing this as a print of the painting, or as a poster itself.  I’d date it at 1952 on that basis – what do you reckon?

Along the same lines is this, which might as well be a print of a painting rather than the Southern region poster it claims to be.

Anna Zinkeisen Southern Region poster Laying of Foundation Stone at Southampton Docks
Anna Zinkeisen, 1938, est. $2,000-2,500

The frame is particularly bemusing, because the description says merely,

B+/ Slight tears at horizontal fold.

but the image on NMSI has no such frame.  So what is going on here?  Search me.

Fortunately there are a couple of pieces of modernity to lighten the day.  Like this Austin Cooper, even if the image is stubbornly retrograde today.

Austin Cooper golliwog vintage London Transport poster Shop between 1928
Austin Cooper, 1928, est. $1,200-1,700

Along with this McKnight Kauffer.

McKnight Kauffer vintage shell poster lubricating oil 1937
McKnight Kauffer, 1937, est. $1,000-1,200

Now the McKnight Kauffer isn’t alone, because one thing that the New York auction does have going for it is an interesting selection of Shell posters.

Vintage Shell poster friend to the farmer Applebee 1952
Leonard Applebee, 1952, est. $700-900

Vintage Shell poster friend to the farmer Hussey 1952
Harold Hussey, 1952, est. $700-900

These two are the most pedestrian of the bunch, but I’m putting them here because the estimates seem quite high.  I can say this from a position of some confidence, given that we bought one of these on eBay for the grand sum of just £12.50 a few years ago.

This Ben Nicholson, however, is great.

Ben Nicholson vintage shell poster Guardsmen use Shell 1938
Ben Nicholson, 1938, est. $800-1,000

But I also rather like this, by Sir Cedric Lockwood Morris.

Summer Shell vintage poster by Cedric Lockwood Morris
Cedric Morris, 1938, est. $800-1,000

I like it and him even better for having read this fantastic reminiscence.  Anyone who gets into a fight with Munnings has a lot going for them.

Should any of these take your fancy, you can bid online via LiveAuctioneers.  But I have to warn you that buyers’ commission comes in  at a rather painful 22.5%, and then you’ve got to get the thing back over the Atlantic too.

All of which makes eBay seem an attractive option.  If only there was anything out there to buy.  All I can offer you at the moment is a lot of rather late Public Information Posters.  Which I’m mainly pulling out to reinforce a point I’ve made before, which is that National Savings posters are rarely design classics.

Vintage National Savings poster from ebay Background to Savings

Vintage National Savings poster EU map

vintage national savings poster inflation

The only one I come close to liking is this incentive to teeth-brushing.

Magic Roundabout brush your teeth vintage public information poster

But I’m not sure I’d pay the £9.99 they’re asking, although I am sure someone will.

The best lot I can find at the moment isn’t even a poster.

Porgy and Bess LP cover by Reginald Mount

The cover design for this LP is by Reginald Mount.  But it would be wasted tucked away on a shelf.

There was one good thing on eBay this week, but we bought it.  So I’ll share that with you when it arrives.

  • Looking at your previous posts I see that you like to receive scraps of biographical information. Re Harold Hussey (Shell Tractor Oil poster, 1952):
    Harold David Hussey (1912-1998). In 1932 or thereabouts Harold met Barnett Freedman who found him a job in the advertising department of Shell-Mex BP Ltd, working under the studio management of Tom Gentleman. Realising his shortcomings as an artist he attended evening classes at the Working Men’s College in Mornington Crescent and later, with Freedman’s help, attended the Royal College of Art. He completed his studies but the Second World War curtailed his artistic ambitions. After the War (he served in the Royal Engineers) he freelanced as a commercial artist (4 posters for Shell, 1 for London Transport) and took up teaching at Hornsey School of Art, eventually becoming Principal Lecturer. He painted extensively in watercolours and oils – mainly topographical scenes.

  • I was doing some poster research for a client – I have a vintage gallery in Montreal – and stumbled across your site… I found it to be informative and ironic (two of my favourite things!) and I am going to bookmark you pronto… if you’re ever in Montreal, stop in! Best, Karen

  • As the son of the artist Harold Hussey I can confirm that the biographical details provided by Dr G are correct. I should just like to add some details about the London Transport montage of birds that you provide a link for. This was a rather ‘advanced’ design for the Underground and was also unusual as Harold executed the original in wax crayon. This apparently gave the printers some grief as they attempted to reproduce it!

  • As the son of Barnett Freedman I would just like to add that Harold was one of my father and mother’s very dearest friends. Harold and his family were very close to our whole family. He often helped my father when dad’s health was not too good. From time to time he could be found in dad’s studio when deadlines were tight! In the 1970s he enjoyed a trip to Papua New Guinea with his son Charles, when they stayed with me. Harold produced some charming small watercolours of life in Lae and Bulolo and Goroka. A truly lovely man with a huge attachment to the countryside and all things in nature. Still sorely missed by us all.

  • Thank you, as always it’s wonderful to hear about these artists from the people who knew them. His love of the countryside really showed in his work, too.

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