Keeping in Touch

In the last post I only managed to get through about half the auctions that are out there  so today for your entertainment and edification, here is part two.  But first, a small digression.  Lest people think I have been victimising Christies over their high prices, I have to report that the problem is much more widespread than just one auction house.  I mentioned the GCR Railwayana auction a week or two ago, although the sharp-eyed amongst you will have noticed that I failed to call your attention to this little gem.

Southport British railways poster 1950s Felix Kelly?

Sadly we didn’t get it, the hammer price was £230, which was rather more than we’d bid.  It was listed as anonymous, but I would be prepared to make a bet that it could well be the work of Felix Kelly, who also designed these two posters for New Brighton and Wallasey, just down the road.

New Brighton/Wallasey - Have Fun in Sunny  Cheshire', 1956.British Railways (London Midland Region) poster. Artwork by Ken or Felix Kelly

New Brighton, Wallasey, for Pleasure!Õ,  BR (LMR) poster, 1954. Felix Kelly

But to return to my original point, railwayana auctions used to be a place where post-war posters could be picked up, at least sometimes, for a song.  Not any more, not for the sensible posters like this Scilly Isles one which fetched  £400.

John Smith Scilly ISles British Railways poster 1950s

Nor for the kitch – the Fleetwood whale pun also went for £410.

Fleetwood whale British Railways poster Carswell 1950s

Really, where are we meant to get posters from these days?

While I’m on the subject, there is another railwayana auction in the offing, this time Great Western Railwayana Auctions on November 10th, and once again there is a good range of posters.

Thornton Cleveleys British Railways poster 1950
Kenneth Steel, 1950

Although, as ever, there are no estimates, so who knows what they will fetch?

There are many sensible posters of various kinds.

Frank Mason East Coast havens british railways poster 1950s
Frank Mason, 1950s.

But there is also a rich seam of 1950s kitsch to be found too, of which this is my favourite

Geoff Sadler thornton cleveleys poster british railways 1950s
Geoff Sadler, 1960s

Although I am also quite fond of the idea of Hereward the Wake being a selling point.

Lance Cattermole Hereward the Wake Ely Cathedral poster 1959 British Railways

And there’s plenty more where those came from too.

Glenn Steward Teighnmouth British Railways poster
Glenn Steward, n.d.

Rhyl British Railways poster leonard 1961
Leonard, 1961

British Railways poster Blackpool greene 1950s
Greene, 1950s

There are also a couple of sets of this kind of GPO poster if you are interested.

Vintage GPO poster the post office in town educational

They’ll probably not be too expensive at a railwayana auction, although I can’t vouch for the prices on the rest of what’s on offer.  Expensive, judging by recent events.

Elsewhere, Dreweatt’s in Bristol is offering yet another batch of Percy Drake Brookshaw posters, once again being sold by his family.

A London Underground advertising poster, for the University boat race, 1937, by Percy Drake Brookshaw (1907-93)

There are other ones too, but you’ve seen them before.  Did his family live in a house just stacked with copies of his posters?  I think we need to know.

Finally, there are at last a few odds and ends popping up on eBay.  This Stan Krol coach poster, is a bit overpriced at £45 opening bid if you ask me, although it’s always good to see a coach poster at all.

Stan Krol bridlington coach poste 1960s

This Frank Newbould in contrast is currently cheap at £20, although I doubt that will last.

Frank Newbould National savings poster

This World War Two Ministry of Fuel poster isn’t that interesting, although someone will love it I am sure.

World War two save fuel poster Ministry of Fuel

Last but definitely not least, there is an edition of Barbara Jones’s Design for Death.  Not only is it just £9.99,  but it is being sold for charity, so I am sure one of you will want that.  It is for charity after all.

  • My friends at Dreweatts assure me that the Drake Brookshaw lode is just about mined out. Praise be, as far as I’m concerned. I’ve never managed to buy one lot out of the dozens that have appeared, prices never leaving me a reasonable margin for selling on.
    Not that that’s anyone’s fault but mine. However, having underbid most of the lots I do feel that I’ve done my bit for the Drake Brookshaw pension fund. And I have bought other profitable things whilst hanging around not buying DBs. But, splendid as they are ( well, most of them ), I shall be quite happy not to see any of them again. Unless they’re a bargain…

  • Yes, the Drake Brookshaw’s haven’t done too badly out of it, have they… Are there such things as bargain posters any more? I do hope so.

  • Bargain posters are currently I believe, rarer than recent sightings of Hereward the Wake in Ely. Lots of auctions coming up pre xmas now, fascinated to see what will happen

  • I’m hoping that bargains have slightly more of a chance of a comeback than Hereward, though. Otherwise what shall we do with ourselves? Except watch other people buying them.

  • The Sunny Chesire posters were not done by Felix Kelly but rather Kenneth Roy Kelly MBE, my grandfather. I have the original artwork hanging on my wall. He also did TWA advertisements as well as designing the Popsicle logo.

  • Hi! I can tell you that the Southport poster was designed by William (Bill) Rushton, the Studio Manager at Forbes Keir Advertising in Liverpool, around 1962. The actual artwork was done at full size by me working from Bill’s smaller layout. I have a picture somewhere of myself with the completed artwork.
    Best wishes and keep up the good work.
    Jim G.

  • Sorry for being so late to this – that’s fabulous information, thank you. Would love to see the picture if you ever find it.

  • Hi
    Great to see all these old posters …. I worked as a junior in the studio at Forbes Keir for a year July 1965/1966. I was let loose on the ‘Letraset’ pieces.
    Worked with John and Mr. Whiteside (never knew his first name.). I remember Mr. Rushton had his tea in a green cup!!
    Elaine (Paterson).

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