Setting off

Small Crownfolio has just started doing sets in maths.  Turns out it’s going to come in quite handy on here too, because it’s pretty much the only way I can find to get a handle on the next Christies poster sale, which is bearing down on us like a juggernaut upon a hedgehog (translation, it’s on Thursday this week).

There are a few sets, as ever, which are outside the purview of this blog, like the set of foreign posters.

René Gruau (Renato de Zavagli, 1909-2004)  AIR FRANCE, FRENCH RIVIERA  silkscreen and lithograph in colours, 1963
Rene Gruau, 1963, est. £800-1,200

More surprisingly, there is also the set of film posters.

Saul Bass (1927-1996) VERTIGO 1958
Saul Bass, 1958, est. £4,000-6,000

What does it mean that the poster and film poster sales are combined?  Are the two worlds starting to come together because they are all being bought for their design?  Or does it mean that each sale on its own couldn’t bring in enough lots to be worth running?  Or am I over-interpreting everything hugely?

Amongst the posters that I am prepared to be interested in, most of the usual suspects are present.

Theyre Lee-Elliot (1903-1988) WINGS OVER EUROPE, BRITISH AIRWAYS lithograph in colours, 1946
Theyre Lee-Elliott, 1946, est. £700-900

Francis Bernard (1900-1979)  AIR ORIENT  lithograph in colours, 1932
Francis Bernard, 1932, est. £4,000-6,000

Edmond Vaughan (1906-1996) SOUTH FOR WINTER SUNSHINE lithograph in colours, 1932
Edmond Vaughan, 1932, est. £1,200-1,800

David Klein, 1960, est. £800-1,200

Set of posters that Crownfolio has seen before at very many auctions = {airline posters, railway posters, nice posters by David Klein}

But there are other more unexpected aggregations too.  How about the set of posters with posh people on them?

Harry Tittensor (1887-1942)  HARROGATE  lithograph in colours, 1941
Harry Tittensor, 1941, est. £1,000-1,500

Frank Newbould (1887-1951) EDINBURGH, 'MONS MEG' lithograph in colours, 1935
Frank Newbould, 1935, est. £3,000-5,000

Charles Mozley (1914-1991) THESE PEOPLE USE SHELL, BLONDES AND BRUNETTES lithograph in colours, 1939
Charles Mozley, 1939, est. £800-1,200

George Sheringham (1884-1937) UP RIVER lithograph in colours, 1926
George Sheringham, 1926, est. £1,000-1,500

It’s quite a big set once you start looking fot them.  And that’s not even including the  somewhat related set of people doing posh sports.

Anna Katrina Zinkeisen (1901-1976)  WIMBLEDON TENNIS  lithograph in colours, 1934
Anna Zinkeisen, 1934, est. £700-900

Herry (Heather) Perry (1893-1962)  BOAT RACE  lithograph in colours, 1935
Herry Perry, 1935, est. £1,000-1,500

Davies HEAD OF THE RIVER RACE lithograph in colours, 1939
Davies, 1939, est. £700-900

As you may be able to guess from the last few images, there is also a further interesting set, which is the set of small London Transport bus posters.  The cardinality of this set is nineteen, which is nineteen more than you usually get in a Christies sale or indeed almost anywhere else.  I wonder whether this is one person’s collection?

Andre Edouard Marty (1882-1974)  BLUEBELL TIME  lithograph in colours, 1933
Andre Marty, 1933, est. £1,000-1,500

Mostly this set overlaps with the set of sporting posters, but there are a few rather pleasing exceptions.

Paul Nash (1888-1946) BRITISH INDUSTRIES FAIR lithograph in colours, 1935
Paul Nash, 1935, est. £1,000-1,500

Clifford (1907-1985) & Rosemary (1910-1998) Ellis GIANT PANDA lithograph in colours, 1939
Clifford and Rosemary Ellis, 1939, est. £800-1,200

Anna Katrina Zinkeisen (1901-1976) R.A.F. DISPLAY, COLINDALE lithograph in colours, 1934
Anna Zinkeisen, 1934, est. £700-900

All of them, whatever the subject, give me that same sense of monetary vertigo, because those estimates mean a lot of money for a very small piece of paper.  Each one is just 25 x 31cm, which is not very big at all.

Tom Eckersley (1914-1997) & Eric Lombers (1914-1978)  RUGBY LEAGUE FINAL  lithograph in colours, 1936
Eckersley Lombers, 1936, est. £1,000-1,500

Of course there are also plenty of things which don’t fit into tidy sets, like this Olympic Abram Games which I can say with some confidence that I’ve never seen before.

Abram Games (1914-1996)  FLY BEA, OLYMPIC GAMES LONDON  lithograph in colours, 1948
Abram Games, 1948, est. £2,000-3,000

This Frank Sherwin is also interesting, at least to me, because I posted about the original painting not so long ago and now here is the poster in a sale.

Frank Sherwin (1896-1985)  KENT - THE GARDEN OF ENGLAND
Frank Sherwin, est. £1,000-1,500

I still like it, but not enough to buy it.

There’s also a single Empire Marketing Board poster.

Charles Pears (1873-1958)  Gibraltar, The Empire Marketing Board  offset lithograph in colours, c.1928
Charles Pears, 1928, est. £1,500-2,000

Now this came up recently, somewhere, and I’m wondering whether it might be the very same poster.  Except I can’t remember how or where.  Can anyone enlighten me?

  • I suspect the combining sales is due to a lack of sufficient material at the high end – if you have £1000 lower limit it rather precludes about 90% of available material. They must be turning away so much stuff – I don’t understand the logic.

  • I’m completely with you on that one, as I’m sure you know.

    Although what I suspect happened is that a general diktat came down about minimum lot prices from on high, something to do with preserving Christies’ image as a premium auctioneer, and was enacted without thought of what it would do to a small department like posters.

    The next question, too, is where has all that stuff that they are turning away gone to? I simply can’t see it anywhere else.

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