Cigarettes, Germs and Paper

The Reginald Mount posters coming up for sale at Van Sabben, which I blogged about last week, have made me realise that I’ve never properly written about his work, in particular the posters he produced as Mount/Evans along with Eileen Evans.  This is particularly surprising because not only was the first poster ever to appear on Quad Royal a Mount/Evans production, but it’s one of several we own.  This one hangs above Mr Crownfolio’s desk as a perpetual warning.

Don't Brag about your job Mount Evans poster for COI 1964
That we have so many is partly a matter of chance; what I think was the residue of the Mount/Evans studio, or at least a fair collection of their duplicates, was being sold through Onslows just as we started collecting posters.  So we bought some of them.  But it’s also because they, and he, produced some great work.

Waste Paper Still Wanted, Mount Evans

Reginald Mount only really hoves into view in 1939, when he was taken on by the Ministry of Information as one of only a very small number of in-house designers.  Before that it seems that he worked for advertising agencies such as Lintas and so probably never got to sign anything he did.  Eileen Evans joined him there as a filing clerk, until her own design skills were noticed, and from then she and Mount worked together for more than thirty years.  Two of the posters she designed are below (from the VADS/IWM collection).

Eileen Evans give blood poster

Eileen Evans Save paper salvage poster

After the war, both Mount and Evans stayed on when the MoI became the Central Office of Information.  Dorrit Dekk remembers working with both of them in the late 1940s.

The studio existed – Reggie Mount had been there right through the war and Eileen Evans – Reggie was senior designer and Eileen was his second in charge – I mean his right hand helper […] but Reggie taught me everything to make me into a designer.

My guess would be that this arrangement continued for some time into the 1950s, because plenty of posters exist from the early to mid 1950s just signed Reginald Mount.  These include some of the Keep Britain Tidy ones which pop up at auction every so often.

REginald Mount poster Keep Britain Tidy 1950s

Reginald Mount Keep Britain Tidy poster 1950s

As well as some more obscure ones – this is for a Mozart Bicentenary Exhibition at the British Museum.

REginald Mount poster Keep Britain Tidy 1950s

Then, somewhere along the line they either go part-time or freelance or both.  Reginald Mount is certainly listed as one of the founding partners of Artist Partners in 1953.  But much later on, they seem to have gone into formal partnership as Mount/Evans, although quite when I don’t know.  The earliest poster with this credit that we have is from 1963.

Mount/Evans Christmas Driving poster 1963 for CoI

(Apologies for the slightly scrappy quality of some of the photos; they were taken for reference a long time before the blog was ever thought of).

Although they might have left the employment of the government, the CoI still seem to have provided the majority of their commissions.  Some were for the public, like this passport poster from  1966.

Mount evans passport poster CoI 1966

While others were only for internal communications, like these secrecy posters, which belong to the same set as ‘Don’t Brag About Your Job’ above.

Mount Evans Combination Numbers Keep Our Secrets Secret
Keep Our Secrets Secret Mount Evans Unneccessary Dupliation Central Office of Information

Although much of this is guesswork, because they worked together and signed posters as Mount/Evans occasionally before this.  And Reginald Mount also produced posters under his own name in the 1960s, like this anti-smoking poster in the Science Museum.

Reginald Mount anti smoking poster 1960s
Not only is it the close, but hacking relative of ‘Don’t Brag About Your Job’ above,  but Mount/Evans also produced several posters on a similar theme.

Mount Evans smoking poster hand

All of which leaves me a bit confused about how they were working.

What’s more, it’s proving quite hard to find any clarity.  Not only is very little written about them, but Google is not my friend: the existence of a Mount Evans in Canada (very popular with walkers, it seems) and a street called Reginald Mount in Leeds does not make for easy searching.  So if you’ve got any more information, please do get in contact.  I’ve also ordered a book about the Central Office of Information which may or may not help.

But their work is starting to become more appreciated, and to appear on the market too.  This Reginald Mount VD poster is for sale at Books & Things for £120.

Mount VD poster 1960 Books and Things

While this health poster – with what must be a very early Mount/Evans signature – is now a very reasonable £55 on eBay.

Mount Evans germs poster on eBay

Or possibly even less for a best offer.

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