And where are we going to do that? At Brighton, of course. At least that’s according to one of these posters (top right, if you’re squinting hard).
The picture has turned up at a forthcoming auction in Nottingham*, and it’s very interesting, because it depicts, apparently, a poster exhibition in Brighton in 1925.
Once again, we’re back into the realms of things we weren’t even aware that we didn’t know. I’ve written before about both the railway companies, Shell and London Transport exhibiting their own posters. But in those cases they were showcasing their companies’ commissioning of culture, and aiming to garner kudos with both the posters and the exhbitions. What’s going on here seems to be a bit different. All of the posters look not only contemporary to the exhibition, but also commercial. So what is this?
I’m not entirely sure. What’s more, the mystery then deepens a bit further, because after doing a reasonable amount of scratching about on the internet, I can’t find a single one of these posters. At first I thought this was, but on closer scrutiny it’s just the same view as the one above.
Peculiarer and peculiarer. But I think there are two possibilities. One is that there are oceans and oceans of tourist posters which were never saved by railway archives or visitors. Which is enticing but even I have to admit, not that likely.
The other – and I owe this suggestion to Mr Crownfolio – is that it’s a competition. Design a poster for Brighton in 1925. I think that’s got to be the answer. Even this gives us food for thought, though. Just look at the sheer number of posters up on those walls; that’s an awful lot of people who either are poster designers or quite fancy their chances at being one. Which is in itself a reminder that the poster, at this moment in time, was the most glamorous and up to date advertising medium there could be.
The other aspect which interests me is that it catches the seaside poster in a moment of transition. Some of the posters seem quite old fashioned – referring to Doctor Brighton, watering holes and Regency glories. But scattered amongst them are some bathing beauties who wouldn’t shame a Tom Purvis poster of the 1930s like the one below.
I’m sure it has to be a competition. Even so, I’d quite like someone to prove me wrong by finding one or more of the posters out there in an archive or auction somewhere. Any takers?
*The auctioneers of the picture are worth a footnote all to themselves. They are Britain’s leading auctioneers for Cricket, postcards, ephemera and beer labels. How do you end up with a set of specialisms like that, I wonder.