Nothing warms the cockles of my heart like finding a new archive or designer. Even better, both. So today – thanks once again to the lovely online library which is VADS – meet A E Halliwell and his archive.
Halliwell was more of an arts educator than a full-time designer, teaching at the Central School and Camberwell. But before that, he did do a number of rather good modern posters, mainly for London Transport.
Surprisingly, not all of the designs in the Halliwell archive are in the London Transport Museum Collection – like the Molesey Regatta one above. I don’t know whether this is because the designs were rejected or in fact that the LTM archive isn’t as omniscient as I’d always thought. It would be interesting to know though.
Given the style of the designs above, it’s not surprising to discover that he also produced posters for the Southern Railway too.
Although he did also manage to introduce a surprising touch of Bloomsbury to railway advertising with this 1928 poster.
It’s good, but I also think it’s a nifty piece of niche marketing, the idea being that people who had enough money to travel abroad (not many in 1928) were probably sophisticated enough to deal with a less literal version of the modern.
But there are other gems in there too. Some of his best work, for me, was done for the state.
But there are more reasons to like the archive too. One is that it preserves a lot of Halliwell’s more ephemeral designs, the kind of things that not only don’t tend to survive, but are rarely attributed when they do.
I particularly like the Birds Custard design.
Even when Halliwell moved more into teaching than commercial work, he still designed, and the archive also has a good selection of these, too. I’m guessing, as it’s one performance only, that this must have been a student play.
While others are more obviously related to his teaching work.
All of these are dated 1930 by the archive. I would be surprised, to say the least.
But best of all, if you’re like me and prefer the more modern stuff to the 1920s deco, is that Halliwell also collected some of his favourite student work over the years. Some of which is really excellent.
I particularly covet this one.
Although I’m not entirely convinced I haven’t seen that in a 1950s design annual. I will do some research and report back.
I have definitely seen this one before too, but can’t remember where. Can anyone help with where or how?
This one, meanwhile, could only have been student work.
Why didn’t the future look like this in the end? I think we were robbed.