Post Office Love

This picture arrived in the Quad Royal inbox a few weeks ago.

3 x post office savings bank posters from 1969

A very lucky man called Brian Shepherd had found this trio in his loft.  They’re mounted on board, and so it seems that they’d been used as trays to store apples and pears up there in the dark.  A waste of some very fine posters if you ask me.

Now Brian emailed because he wanted to know a bit more about them.  This one (my favourite and a bit of a psychedelic masterpiece if you ask me) is signed Dorrit Dekk.

Dorrit Dekk Love Post Office Savings Bank poster 1969

The Beatles might be asking for a few royalties on this one, which is by Martina Selway.  As far as I can tell, she seems to have done a lot of designs for the GPO and only a couple more for London Transport.  But a surprisingly copious biography out there on the web reveals that this is because she then went into illustrating children’s books.  So now we know.

Martina Selway Join the Club Post Office Savings Bank poster 1969

Then there is the third, which is a bit of a mystery.

Anonymous The Lasting Fashion Post Office Savings Bank poster 1969

The signature is only a pair of initials which might say dy, or jy, or jl, to be honest it’s hard to say.

Mystery signature on Post Office Savings Bank poster 1969

So the first mystery is who is this by?

Mr Shepherd is a bit of a sleuth, because he started to do some more research into the posters and even scoured the National Archives to see what he could discover.  Which was that these posters were all commissioned in 1969.  Which then raises another question, because 1969 was the year that the Post Office Savings Bank turned into the National Savings Bank.  Which makes me wonder whether these posters were ever actually used – or is the change of name the reason why they ended up lining fruit trays instead?  I’ve asked the lovely people at the BPMA, but they can’t shed much light on it.  So if you know any more, please do get in touch, I’d love to know.

Even without that knowledge, though, they’re still a great set of posters; proof that not all artistic merit had fled from the poster by the end of the 1960s.

That’s not the end of it, either.  If you want to buy any of these, he has put each of them up for sale on eBay.  So if you’ve taken a shine to any of them, you now know where to go.

  • Saw these impeccably researched card-mounted posters on Ebay the other day … I couldn’t believe they really were in wonderful condition, having been stored in the proverbial “dark recesses of a loft” for so long, so good to hear that, actually, they are. That POSB kipper tie is just fab, the very acme of 60s sartorial elegance – & believe me I have seen a few kipper ties to conjure with whilst scanning 60s & 70s GPO posters at the BPMA! I shan’t be bidding, but I do regret the Dekk – that is quite my sort of psychedelia & when I saw it, I thought of you!

    A little pedantic perhaps, but having been in on the tail end of all this first time around, I observe that longer skirt length on the surreal POSB dress mannequin is actually midi-length; maxi would be right down there amongst the curlicues. Still, when did art ever have to follow life ..?

  • I agree with you about the dress length – but that whole poster is just a little bit odd, as the style is almost 1950s rather than 60s, it’s only the text that has any hint it was commissioned in 1969.

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