Paddenalia, inter alia.

I’ve been meaning to post this for ages, and now the Jubilee has been and gone but I’m carrying on regardless.  They’re Marks and Spencers’ Jubilee packaging designs – this is the tin we bought.

Marks and Spencers Jubilee shortbread tin

Remind you of anyone?  To me, there is a definite touch of Daphne Padden about them, particularly this pigeon.

M&S Jubilee packaging for teacakes - pigeon

And of course she designed for Marks and Spencers too.

Daphne Padden Marks and Spencers Christmas cake design

But this isn’t them raiding their archives, they are apparently by an illustrator called Phil Hankinson.  I must drop him a line and ask whether he likes Daphne Padden or whether it is just a happy accident.

Marks and Spencers Jubilee teacake packet

The pictures (because I ran out of time to take them myself and we’re still eating the shortbread anyway) are borrowed from H is For Home’s blog about the packets.  They did it properly, and on time, not like me.

While we’re on the subject of Daphne Padden, a few of her paintings (and a couple of her father’s too) are up for auction tomorrow.  It’s a saleroom close to where she lived, so I wonder what the connection is?

Daphne Padden bird watercolour paintings
Daphne Padden, est £30-50

Dominic Winter’s forthcoming sale, meanwhile, contains a small set of McKnight Kauffer posters, which are worth taking note of because they include this one which I’ve never, ever seen before.

McKnight Kauffer elephant ballet
McKnight Kauffer, 1942, est. £400-600

Yes, that is for an elephant ballet to the music of Stravinsky.  I will let the catalogue explain more…

This advertised the extraordinary Circus Polka, an act featuring fifty elephants in tutus ridden by similarly-clad dancers, which brought together the remarkable talents of the dancer and choreographer George Balanchine (1904-1983), the composer Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971), and the circus manager John Ringling North. By 1942 Stravinsky was an established composer living in Hollywood, and Balanchine was a well-known choreographer and the founder of the American School of Ballet. The elephant ballet was performed during the 1942 season entitled Holidays, in New York’s Madison Garden building where Barnum’s circus had performed since 1881.

These two are also discoveries for me.

McKNight Kauffer Eastman Gloves poster 1926 Dominic Winter
McKnight Kauffer, 1926, est. £200-400

McKnight Kauffer Schools exhibition News Chronicle 1938 poster
McKnight Kauffer, 1938, est. £100-150

This is considerably more familiar, mind you.

McKnight Kauffer ARP poster home front world war two Dominic Winter
McKnight Kauffer, 1938, est. £100-150

There seems to be an unerring rule that wherever the McKnight Kauffer ARP poster is offered for sale, the Pat Keely treatment of the theme must also be there too, and it applies here just as always.

Pat Keely ARP Calling You poster home front 1938 Dominic Winter
Pat Keely, 1938, est. £100-150

I wonder whether these went out together, and whether quite a few were saved together by their recipients as souvenirs of what must have seemed, even then, to be a turning point in Britain’s history.  Later on in the war, the pressure to salvage paper must have been greater, and so fewer posters survived.  Or do these ones exist in great numbers because of an enormous print run?

Also for sale are a couple of Lyons prints, of which my favourite is this John Minton.

John Minton Apple Orchards Lyons Print Dominic Winter
John Minton, 1951, £200-300

More obscure, but quite enticing despite this, are a collection of Edward Bawden and John Aldridge wallpaper samples.

Edward Bawden wallpaper design Dominic Winter
Edward Bawden, c1940s-50s, est £300-500

But then they’re just as expensive as a good poster, and quite a bit smaller, so perhaps not.

While we’re on this kind of track, shall I draw your attention to a few things worth noticing on eBay as well?  Top Quad Royal tip is this Hans Unger, although it comes with a rather aggressive start price of £193.  But it’s still nice.

Hans Unger 1959 London Transport poster theatre

We have a copy ourselves, but one which could probably win a competition  for worst preservation and condition of a poster ever.  It’s so bad that I am too embarrassed to put a picture of it on here.  Mr Crownfolio is saving it for when he retrains as a poster conservator, but even then it may still be beyond rescue.

This earlier London Transport poster is rather less my personal cup of tea but probably a bit more of a bargain at £120.  It’s by Alan Sorrell and dates from 1938 and is, if you ask me, a rare example of neo-classicism in poster design of the times.

London transport poster 1938 Alan Sorrell river

While this is an interesting and quite rare Home Front poster for just £39.99.  This campaign was one of the rare early succeses for the Ministry of Information. who generally spent the first two years of the war getting everyone’s backs up.

Home front poster Go To It World War Two ministry of information 1940

But then that price probably reflects the fact that while it is a very important piece of historical ephemera, most people, including me, don’t actually want to sit and look at it all day.

A sentiment that also applies in even greater measure to this.

1960s southern region train map thingy

Advertised as a ‘fantastic train poster from the 60s70s’, it has a Buy It Now price of  £175, but then the seller clearly had a crisis of confidence because the opening bid is set at £10.  What am I missing here?  Can any train fans enlighten me?


  • Hi… nice to finally find out who did the wonderful M&S package illustrations! I have the brilliant first edition London bus biscuit tin sitting on top of my fridge. It’s interesting how M&S have over recent years embraced talented illustrators in their food packaging (saana anuka being another illustrator employed recently by M&S), which has to be applauded. It would be interesting to take a look at some packaging illustration from the likes of Padden, Eckersley etc from back in the day . I recently came across some limited edition Kellogs cereal boxes in Sainsburys which were reproductions of classic packages fro the early 50s to tie-in with the Jubilee celebrations (Frosties, Rice Krispies, Coco-Pops & Corn Flakes ) & I was blown away by just how beautiful they looked, and at the same time how fantastically modern they looked! If only manufacturers could be brave enough today to employ some of our illustration talent we have at our disposal!

  • They are great, aren’t they. My favourite was the Beefeater box; unfortunately I didn’t really want ten packs of chocolate so we didn’t get one.

    I agree, I could look at old packaging all day, and I’m surprised that companies aren’t using their archives more – and commissioning new stuff to match.

  • I’m wary to call myself a ‘train fan’ – but that last ebay image is, I think, simply the fold out map from a 50s or 60s BR Southern Region timetable as it looks familiar (although it would need to show dimensions to be certain). To show how ‘untrained’ I am these days I cannot confirm as my timetables are packed up and in store!

    I too like the M&S items at present and on my list of things to do when I’m next up with the family in W Yorkshire is to go to the M&S Archive exhibition in Leeds – the leaflet is too tempting not to!

  • Well worth £175 then…

    If you do go the M&S Archive, please report back, I’m not going to get there this year I don’t think.

  • The chief source of inspiration for all that lovely packaging at marks and spencer is undoubtedly Miroslav Sasek. In particular, his ‘This is London’ book published in 1959 by W H Allen and reprinted a few years ago by Universal. Many of the figures, like that charming policeman, are very easy to locate in that book!
    If this is news to you then Sasek’s ‘This is’ books are well worth acquiring: you will love them. He did about fifteen cities. And one book all about the United Nations assembly which is a personal favourite.

  • I think we’ve got one of those upstairs (or rather Small Crownfolio does), so I will go and inspect. I am sure you are right though.

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