Kroll and more

So much has actually arrived here at Quad Royal over the last few weeks that I couldn’t fit it all into one post.  Which means that it’s back to the mailbox again today.

At the start of the summer I posted about Stan Krol, mostly along the lines of how little I knew about him.  Luisa Valerio got in touch and gave me a few more details – in fact it’s probably worth reproducing her comment here for those of you who missed it at the time.

He was born in Poland (grew up in Warsaw), in a jewish family, only son, his parents had a paint factory. He studied chemistry. Just before WWII left Poland alone and travelled throughout europe until he reached England, about 1940. Then he joined the army, in scotland. There was some long illness, and after that Stan started a new life: studied at st. andrews university and became a graphic designer. Worked in London as a freelance artist from then on. Married Hazel (ballerina from Berlin, real name Ingeborg) at 54, no children. They lived in Barnes, London. Stan died in 1985, Hazel in 2001. I remember him as a very kind and good humored person, who loved his work. I visited him in London from the late seventies and saw drawers full of posters in his studio. My favourite was another cat safety warning: “be seen, wear white at night” . Many people must have kept stan’s beautiful new year’s cards – he designed one every year.

Luisa has now gone to the effort of sending me some of his designs too. So here’s the black cat poster, but turned into his card that year.

Stan Krol New years card with black cat rospa design 1968

If anyone has that poster, can I have it please?

Here’s another one of his cards, and it’s worth my reproducing the inside too; it’s a good piece of design for a client I wouldn’t otherwise have suspected of commissioning that sort of thing.

Stan Krol Christmas card port of boulogne

Stan Krol christmas card port of boulogne inside

How many great bits of design like that have just disappeared? Uncountable numbers I should think.   Here are a few more of his cards, which are also numbers.

Stan Kroll card 1961

Stan Kroll card 1966

And also a dog.  Which is brilliant.

Stan Krol dog new year card

To cap this all off  below is Stan himself, in Portugal in 1940.


Given that he is a refugee without a country to call his own, in the middle of a world war, he is looking both dapper and cheerful.  I respect that a lot.

I also got an invitation to the British Art Fair at the Royal College of Art next week.  Neil Jennings, who is exhibiting there and sent the invitation, is promising Barbara Jones, Edward Bawden and Kenneth Rowntree amongst others.  Here’s the Barbara Jones for your viewing pleasure.  I particularly like the stook duck houses, which are exactly the kind of thing to catch her attention.

Barbara Jones watercolour 1967 mill poin

Along with its blurb:

Barbara Jones Calbourne Water Mill, Isle of Wight
Watercolour, c.1967.  Inscribed verso by the artist in pencil, Robert John Weekes/Send Faber Leads/Roller Mill/Calbourne I.o.W.

Although the work is undated, it relates to another work from the same collection, dated 1967
Provenance: Private collection, Sussex.

There’s been more too, including a railwayana catalogue and a copy of Modern Publicity, along with my very own copy of the catalogue for the giant Christies London Transport sale. Some or all of which will appear on the blog next week.  Or something completely different if I get distracted.  Wait and see.

  • This also emphasises again what a huge contribution the refugee population made to our cultural life and, indeed, our sense of ‘Britishness’

  • Absolutely. I’ve only ever posted about this in the most general terms, as I don’t have a proper theory about the whys and wherefores of this. It may be down to something as simple as the superiority of art education on the continent before the war.

    Or perhaps this is just the great thing that immigration does, bring in new thoughts and ideas and revitalise a culture.

  • Hi! I was doing research on the artist, because my auction house just got in the Cat poster you liked “Be Seen / Wear White at Night.” It will likely be in our August 7th vintage Poster auction at Swann Galleries in NYC for a few hundred dollars.

    Feel free to message me at my work email if you might still be interested!

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