As I mentioned then, the Graphis article I posted about a couple of days ago has raised a few questions.
The easy one – in the sense that it is factual rather than philosophical – is about this wonderful set of GPO posters, Lines of Communication. Four are illustrated in Graphis, of which I can find three in the BPMA catalogue.
The fourth one in Graphis is also by Schleger, but doesn’t turn up in the BPMA catalogue at all. It does very much remind me of his pre-war poster for Shell too.
I think the artwork for this one probably went to the BT archives instead because it’s about telegraphs; there is certainly something likely there, but it’s not illustrated so I can’t say for certain.
But why aren’t these fantastic posters better known? My guess is that they were never produced. This is partly because I’ve never ever seen one in an auction or illustrated anywhere else, but also because even the BPMA and BT archives only have the artworks, no printed posters. Which, considering they are some of the loveliest things ever to come out of the GPO is nothing short of a crime.
It gets worse. Because there are more in the series that they inexplicably failed to send to the printers either.
Two are by Henrion.
While the third is by John Rowland Barker, aka Kraber. (He’s clearly very interesting, and we will return to him another day I think.)
Graphis seem to have merged two different series of posters into one in their article, because the Country Postman image also has a pair.
There is also a third illustration of The River Postman which might have made up the series, but it’s not one tenth as good so I won’t bother you with it.
Judging by their format, these were most likely intended as GPO Educational posters which were distributed to schools rather than displayed in post offices. But why these ones were commissioned but never printed or sent out I do not know, I really don’t.
Somewhere in the archives, there must be a memo explaining this folly, and one day I will dig it out and tell you why. For the moment, I will just weep gently. And if anyone else out there can shed any more light on this, please do let me know.