See London

Onwards and upwards then, onwards and upwards.   Which today means London Transport Auctions, whose next auction is on November 1st.

As ever, along with the opportunity to buy a conductor’s hat or the radiator grille from a Routemaster, there are also a fair number of posters, some of them being rather good.  Really rather good – I would quite happily buy any or all of the posters on today’s blog, the only exception being the one we already own.  So this is going to be a relatively straightforward scoot through what’s taken my fancy, with the posters being allowed to speak for themselves.  For a change.

As I’ve been mentioning John Bainbridge quite recently, shall we start with him?

Original 1953 London Transport double-royal POSTER 'Buckingham Palace' by John Bainbridge (1919- 1978) who designed posters for LT from 1953-1957.
John Bainbridge, 1953, est. £75-90

Original 1956 London Transport double-royal POSTER 'Epping Forest' (Dick Turpin) by John Bainbridge (1919-1978) who designed posters for LT from 1953- 1957.
John Bainbridge, 1956, est. £40-60

And look, we have not only dates but proper estimates too from these lovely people.  Although the estimates, even allowing for some edge wear, do seem quite conservative, so it will be interesting to see what these actually go for.  I’m less likely to live with a royalist guardsman, but I’d happily pay £60 for Dick Turpin any day.

There are a couple more posters from the same year as the second Bainbridge, both excellent, which makes me wonder if someone went on a buying spree that year, and the results have just emerged from the attic.

Original 1956 London Transport double-royal POSTER 'The Tower' by Hans Unger (1915-1975)
Hans Unger, 1956, est. £75-100

Original 1956 London Transport double-royal POSTER 'Visitor's London' by Frederic Henri Kay Henrion (1914-1990) who designed posters for LT from 1942-1956.
F H K Henrion, 1956, est. £75-100

I have, briefly, written about this Henrion series before, but they deserve some more attention really, for being both insane and at the same time very, very ahead of their time.  But now is not the moment.

And that’s not the end of the 1950s classics either; there are also these two to take into consideration.

http://vintageposterblog.com/2010/09/17/ahead-of-his-time/#.VFEX_4d3agQ
Victor Galbraith, 1959, est. £75-100

 Original 1953 London T ransport double-royal POS TER from Coronation Y ear 'Kensington Palace' by Sheila Robinson (1925- 1987) who designed posters for L T 1951-53.
Sheila Robinson, 1953, est. £70-90

Or if you fancy something smaller, there is this Harry Stevens bus poster for the Lord Mayor’s Show.

Original 1959 London Transport POSTER 'Lord Mayor's Show' by Harry Stevens (1919-2008)
Harry Stevens, 1959, est. £50-100

On a price per square inch value (I’m estimating here, I haven’t actually worked it out) I don’t think that Stevens is worth that much more than Unger – or indeed than most of the posters I’ve already mentioned above.  But, as ever, I am quite prepared to be proved wrong.

Now I do tend to prefer post-war graphics but I’m not leaving out the earlier posters from the sale, it’s just that there really are very few of them in comparison.  There are one or two wartime ones, of which this Bruce Angrave blackout poster is probably my favourite.

Original 1942 WW2 London Transport POSTER 'In the Blackout.....make sure it is the platform side' by Bruce Angrave (1914-1983)
Bruce Angrave, 1942, est. £75-125.

Plus there is also this rather lovely little 1938 bus poster, but I’m sure I like it because it’s not so much of the thirties as pointing the way forward to the Festival of Britain styles of the early fifties.

Original 1938 London Transport POSTER 'A.A.A. Championships, White City' (Amateur Athletics) by Harry Blacker (1910-1999) who designed posters for London Transport in 1938/39.
Harry Blacker, 1938, est. £75-125

Apparently after being a designer before the war, Blacker gained fame in the 1960s as a cartoonist, particularly for the Jewish Chronicle.  But he did a number of posters, so I will keep an eye out for him.

Meanwhile, these were issued in the early 50s, but aesthetically are a product of the decade before.

Pair of original 1951 London Transport POSTERS 'Men Conductors Wanted' & 'Women Conductors Wanted' featuring an illustration of a speeding double- deck bus with a conductor hanging on to the platform pole. By an unknown artist.
Anon, 1951, est. £60-75

And obviously, you need two, because no man would become a bus conductor if the poster were addressed to women, or vice versa, would they.

There are, as ever, more posters, so do go over and have a look at their catalogue.  Meanwhile, I will be back next week with the Christies auction, and, possibly, some more thoughts too.

 

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5 Comments

  1. Posted October 29, 2014 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    As well as great designers, they also clearly had someone turning out bonkers rhymes for their posters – I particularly like “pceremony”. Thanks for a great blog.

  2. Posted November 3, 2014 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    Well, I watched the auction online (at least the poster bit), and wished I’d had some spare money and had signed up in advance! There were certainly a few bargains to be had; and also a few which did quite well.
    All in all a pretty good set of post-war LT posters. The question we are obviously wondering is whether they are getting more valuable as well as a bit more common on the market. I’m certainly seeing more in auctions now, but prices generally still seem quite low compared to other vintage posters; particularly for the 50’s and 60’s ones. Do they not have a big following, does everyone own them all already, does nobody know about them? So many questions, so few answers, but that’s poster life I guess…..

  3. crownfolio
    Posted November 3, 2014 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    Yes, the rhymes are brilliant, aren’t they – and they continue on the posters for a few years. I’d love to know who was responsible for the words.

    And I didn’t watch it online, and can’t find the results on the website yet, but I take it that I will also be gnashing my teeth at a few missed opportunities. As for the prices, it’s fairly random still, as far as I can tell, although there is some kind of rule that if we bid on them, the prices are high, and if we don’t, they aren’t.

  4. David Bownes
    Posted November 5, 2014 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    Harry Stevens’ Mayor looks like a prototype Captain Pugwash. Interestingly (well, sort of) Hans Unger was LT’s most prolific poster artist and deserves to be better known. One reason why these posters survive is that the LT poster shop reopened in 1964, after prolonged austerity closure, and sold stockpiles of unissued designs.

  5. crownfolio
    Posted November 6, 2014 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Haha. Yes, very true. And also true about Unger, how shall we set about this?

    That’s also a very useful bit of information. So presumably then, there is a range of dates for which there were quite a lot of posters available. Perhaps this is why so many of them came on the market. In fact that reminds me that I have more of Rik Shepherd’s memorabilia from the LT and GPO poster shops to post on here one day. Must do that soon.

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