Meet Royston Cooper.
I rather wish I had, actually. Quite a few people have contacted the blog over the last year or two about him, and they all remember an extraordinary and extrovert character.
The picture was drawn by James Holland, a friend of Royston’s, in 1954, and was very kindly passed on by the artist’s daughter, Jane.
I would have liked to honour the picture by digging out a few new Royston Cooper designs for you, but frustratingly, I can’t find any. But they must exist, because not only did Jane Holland remember a campaign he designed for Ribena, but Artist Partners have also put a brief professional biography on their website. From which you can see that he did simply tons of commercial work which must be out there somewhere, even if most of it probably wasn’t signed. I think a trip through Designers In Britain may be called for one of these days.
Until I get round to that, however, you can have one of his fine art prints.
You can actually have this if you want, because it’s on eBay as a Buy It Now for just £44.99. I quite like it, but wall space is at a bit of a premium round here so I think we’ll pass.
While I am on the subject of unobtainable delights which have been lost by history, it’s probably worth mentioning the John Burningham exhibition at the London Transport Museum. He designed a new poster in honour of it, which is mostly ordinary type, but his bit is lovely.
We visited the show at the weekend. It’s small but perfectly formed, and contains as well as the better known LT posters, a good handful of designs for coach posters which I’ve never seen before. One in particular, of cats in a boat, is wonderful, but I can’t find a picture of it anywhere. The closest I can come is this, on the right, part of a lot from last year’s Morphets sale.
And if anyone can explain to me why this lot went for just £10, and not to us, I’d like to hear it. Mind you it was Lot 908, I think my brain had probably gone into overload by then.
It’s probably worth reminding you that not only is his autobiography wonderful, but John Burningham is at the LT Museum tonight, in conversation with Robert Elms. I, sadly, will not be there, as I have a prior engagement with a children’s party at a soft play centre. Let joy be unbounded.
I too like Royston Cooper’s work – and yes, annoyingly, I never manage to find much. However, I do enjoy this lovely brochure
I will go through Designers in Britain one of these days and see if I can find some of the later corporate work so we know what we’re looking for. That brochure is fantastic, and I think I did put it on the blog a while back. But we definitely all need more Royston Cooper.