Two lives

Few things please me more than finding other people writing well about posters and poster people, particularly when it tells me something I didn’t know.  Which means that today I am very happy, because I can point you at not one but two interesting bits of the internet.

'Norwich', BR poster, c 1950sPoster produced for British Railways (BR) to promote rail travel to the city of Norwich, Norfolk. The poster shows a pictorial city view of Norwich's famous characters and buildings. Norwich Cathedral, the Norman castle and the cityÕs many medieval churches are all included. Artwork by Kerry Lee.

A while ago, I mentioned map poster artist Kerry Lee in passing.  This ended up in a conversation with Dick Raines, who has a number of Kerry Lee posters and very easily persuaded me how lovely they are.

Cambridge BR poster by Kerry Lee

Dick got back in contact a few weeks ago to say that he’d found a very good blog post about the life and work of Kerry Lee, on the blog of a small gallery that specialises in maps.

It’s a great piece of proper research, so much that it turned into two posts worth.  And as an added bonus, Kerry Lee seems to have been a really lovely man too.

I won’t regurgitate it all here, because you really should go over and read it on the Bryars and Bryars website, but I do like the fact that he apparently included a small picture of himself, with a dog, in all of his maps.  Here’s their image of just one of these.

Kerry Lee and his dog

Now I want to go and look at every single other poster close up to find out if that’s really true.

More recently, after the poster below came up in an auction, I also promised you a look at the life of the designer Mario Armengol, whose work it is.

Poster British Railways 'Come To Coney Beach, Porthcawl - Britain's Brightest Pleasure Beach' by Mario Armengol 1952, double royal 25in x 50in. Depicts a happy holidaymaker riding the carousel with the beach beyond

It turns out that Armengol was originally Catalan (and now I know that I can see Spanish echoes in the style of the girl on the fairground horse; she has little resemblance to anyone else on a British seaside poster).  After a complicated set of events involving the Spanish Civil War and the French Foreign Legion, he ended up in Britain as a refugee in 1941, then stayed in the country for the rest of his life.

As well as designing the poster above, he was a talented and prolific cartoonist, and worked for the CoI during the 195os, so may well have designed other, anonymous, posters.

Again, I’m not going to say a great deal more than that, because someone – I am guessing a family member – has put together a website of his life and work which includes a comprehensive biography which includes a great deal of information about his rather complex love life.  I can’t improve on that, so why don’t you go over there and read it instead?

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