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.
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.
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.
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.
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?