Postal Art

There is more to life than auctions. as proved by what Mr Crownfolio found on his internet wanderings recently.

GPO Art

What that link takes you to is a short Pathe film about, amazingly, the poster art of the GPO, dating from 1959.  Which means that you get treated to things like this Ruskin Spear.

Ruskin spear postman painting for GPO poster from pathe newsreal

This is the original, sitting on the walls of the GPO Head Office, where you can also find this rather lovely view of Iwerne Minster by John Minton as well.

John Minton painting of Iwerne Minster for GPO poster design on Pathe newsreel

But don’t worry, as the very period commentary will tell you, if you want to see art works like this without travelling to London, just pop into your local Post Office where these posters will be on display.

GPO posters on display from pathe newsreel 1959

The featured set of posters, mostly done by ‘arty’ artists, were apparently intended to give the viewer an awareness of place, which would in turn lead them to address their letters in the correct fashion.  Apparently.

But that’s not all there is on offer, the film also features the range of Greetings Telegrams which the GPO now offers, and it’s possible to play the game of Spot-the-Barbara-Jones-birdie (posted before here if you want a closer look).

Mixed GPO greetings telegrams from Pathe film including Barbara Jones

Sadly, the designer that they choose to feature isn’t Ms Jones herself, but one Shirley Thompson.  She’s shown working with F.B. Savage, head of the design department, on a Valentine’s Telegram.  But oh, just look at that office.

GPO art office from pathe film

I’d happily take anything they’ve got in there.  Frustratingly, though I can’t quite work out what they’ve got tucked down the side of the desk there.  It ought by rights to be one of these.

Tom Eckersley cat ornament poster GPO pack parcels carefully

Tom Eckersley toby jug please pack parcesl carefully GPO poster

Except neither of them quite match.  Is it a first draft?  Or is it something else altogther?  I can’t find anything more likely in the BPMA catalogue so if anyone can provide a positive identification, please do.

This film is by no means the end of things either, I can see just from its own page that there is another short film entitled ARP Posters.

Early ARP poster woman from Pathe newsreel

 

It’s a soundless set of rushes, just showing a set of early ARP posters in various ways.  But it’s valuable nonetheless.  I’ve never seen some of these posters before.

ARP egg timer poster from Pathe newsreel

 

I wonder what else lurks within their archives, waiting to be discovered?

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4 Comments

  1. Nick Morgan
    Posted May 29, 2013 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    Thanks for unearthing this wonderful little gem, although like all these things it’s a double-edged sword showing how far we’ve moved from this pride in public service

  2. Nick Morgan
    Posted May 29, 2013 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    Any idea who the artist is of the Cornish harbour scene?

  3. Posted May 29, 2013 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    The Cornish scene is ‘This is Polruan’, by David Knight.

  4. crownfolio
    Posted May 29, 2013 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    Well exactly – the idea of doing anything that isn’t for profit seems utterly alien now. More’s the pity. There’s an element of pride in being British too, which has gone.

    And thank you very much for answering that query!

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