Banish Brain Fag

And where are we going to do that?  At Brighton, of course.  At least that’s according to one of these posters (top right, if you’re squinting hard).

Brighton travel poster exhibition 1925

The picture has turned up at a forthcoming auction in Nottingham*, and it’s very interesting, because it depicts, apparently, a poster exhibition in Brighton in 1925.

Once again, we’re back into the realms of things we weren’t even aware that we didn’t know.  I’ve written before about both the railway companies, Shell and London Transport exhibiting their own posters.  But in those cases they were showcasing their companies’ commissioning of culture, and aiming to garner kudos with both the posters and the exhbitions.   What’s going on here seems to be a bit different.  All of the posters look not only contemporary to the exhibition, but also commercial.  So what is this?

I’m not entirely sure.  What’s more, the mystery then deepens a bit further, because after doing a reasonable amount of scratching about on the internet, I can’t find a single one of these posters.  At first I thought this was, but on closer scrutiny it’s just the same view as the one above.

Brighton poster artwork by tf

Peculiarer and peculiarer.  But I think there are two possibilities.  One is that there are oceans and oceans of tourist posters which were never saved by railway archives or visitors.  Which is enticing but even I have to admit, not that likely.

The other – and I owe this suggestion to Mr Crownfolio – is that it’s a competition.  Design a poster for Brighton in 1925. I think that’s got to be the answer.  Even this gives us food for thought, though.  Just look at the sheer number of posters up on those walls; that’s an awful lot of people who either are poster designers or quite fancy their chances at being one.  Which is in itself a reminder that the poster, at this moment in time, was the most glamorous and up to date advertising medium there could be.

The other aspect which interests me is that it catches the seaside poster in a moment of transition.  Some of the posters seem quite old fashioned – referring to Doctor Brighton, watering holes and Regency glories.  But scattered amongst them are some bathing beauties who wouldn’t shame a Tom Purvis poster of the 1930s like the one below.

I’m sure it has to be a competition.  Even so, I’d quite like someone to prove me wrong by finding one or more of the posters out there in an archive or auction somewhere.  Any takers?

*The auctioneers of the picture are worth a footnote all to themselves.  They are Britain’s leading auctioneers for Cricket, postcards, ephemera and beer labels.  How do you end up with a set of specialisms like that, I wonder.

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Where are we?

Just when I thought I’d got on top of the auction situation, another one pops up.  This time it’s Onslows, whose winter sale will be on 19th December.  The catalogue isn’t up yet, but there are a few preview images to whet your appetite, of which this is my favourite.

Quantas Australia travel poster c. 1950 Anonymous
Frank McNamara, circa 1950, est. £400-500

When it’s almost freezing outside, sampling the 1950s in Australia sounds like a very tempting proposition.

There is also the opportunity to get one or two posters at prices cheaper than a Christies sale.

Herz (Walter B.1909) Olympic Games London 1948 poster
Herz, 1948, est. £800-1,200

Fougasse Careless talk posters set of 8 World war two propaganda
Fougasse, 1940, est. £800-1,200

As well as this, which is just endearingly bonkers.

Czech skiing poster 1950 from Onslows woman leaning on ski
Czech, c.1950, est. £700-1,000

There’s another forthcoming railwayana auction too, at Talisman, but I am relieved to say that there isn’t a single poster of interest to me in there.  Although I have been looking at these catalogues for so long now that the opportunity to buy a large sign which says Pyewipe West Sidings is becoming increasingly tempting.

Meanwhile on eBay there are posters galore.  One of the prize exhibits is probably this Daphne Padden, from the earlier, more conventional phase of her career.

Daphne Padden BEA Paris poster 1953

People clearly liked the style and image, as this is a poster which comes up more often than it ought to.  At a current price of just under £70 – from the U.S. – it is going cheap too.

Another poster of possibly an even higher calibre, if not entirely my cup of tea, is this Jean Carlu World War Two design.

Jean carlu give em both barrels poster world war two american

It looks in very good condition, and so is an extreme bargain at just £18 right now, possibly because they’ve mis-spelt Jean Carlu in the listing and title.  You read it here first.

If you fancy something a bit more British, there is always this wartime poster, if you can get past the slightly sexist weediness of the woman.

Womens land army world war two propaganda poster uk

But be warned, it’s tiny. just 9″ x 6″.  An identical version sold for £64 on eBay last week, so it will probably go for a bit more than it’s current 99p then, even with the typing on the back.

The rest of what is on offer, though, is starting to look like a trend.  Take, for example, this Post Office Savings Bank Poster.

Post Office Savings Banks poster keep your head above water

This 1965 London Transport poster (which oddly isn’t on the London Transport Museum site so I can’t tell you anything more about it).

London transport 1960s bus poster Avoid the Squeeze

And perhaps best of all these two delightful Homepride posters.

Homepride Flour men poster with best wishes

Homepride flour poster where are we

What it’s looking like is that later 60s and 70s graphics are starting to be seen as, if not yet collectable, certainly worth selling.  It’s not always good design – although the two Homepride posters are classics and deserve to be revered as such – but it’s definitely out there.

Because that’s not all there is.  I mentioned this Bridlington poster last week as being expensive at £45.

Stan Krol bridlington coach poste 1960s

It finally sold for £25, and there is another one up now too if you think that’s more like a fair price.   But the seller has clearly found a stack of this kind of thing somewhere, just take a look at these.

British railways mystery tours poster 1969

1970s fire extinguisher poster

I think that’s enough to constitute a trend, don’t you?  Although the same person is also selling this.

Mablethorpe coach poster Atkins

Now to my mind that’s the best of the bunch.  But then I’m probably entirely out of fashion.

Finally, we’ve just bought a rather expensive poster on eBay ourselves.  More news on that when it arrives.  And yes, I know we’re meant to be spending the money on carpets.

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Events, overtaken by

Sorry it has been a bit quiet on Quad Royal these last few days, a normal service will return next week.

In the meantime, though, can I just point you at this.

1950s Modern cover image Shire books

It’s the second book I’ve done for Shire, not about posters this time but why and how Britain fell in love with the modern in the 1950s, and just how much the Festival of Britain actually has to answer for.

I’ll tell you some more about it in the next couple of weeks – and there might even be a competition to boot – but Amazon have just informed me it’s for sale right now, so I thought I’d tell you that.   And show you a couple of the pretty pictures you will get if you do buy a copy.

So here’s a type sample from the Festival of Britain, and a lovely post-war poster by Dorrit Dekk to brighten up your Friday.  Hope it works.

Festival of Britain type sample from Designers in Britain

Dorrit Dekk Bones Salvage propaganda poster 1940s WW2


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Keeping in Touch

In the last post I only managed to get through about half the auctions that are out there  so today for your entertainment and edification, here is part two.  But first, a small digression.  Lest people think I have been victimising Christies over their high prices, I have to report that the problem is much more widespread than just one auction house.  I mentioned the GCR Railwayana auction a week or two ago, although the sharp-eyed amongst you will have noticed that I failed to call your attention to this little gem.

Southport British railways poster 1950s Felix Kelly?

Sadly we didn’t get it, the hammer price was £230, which was rather more than we’d bid.  It was listed as anonymous, but I would be prepared to make a bet that it could well be the work of Felix Kelly, who also designed these two posters for New Brighton and Wallasey, just down the road.

New Brighton/Wallasey - Have Fun in Sunny  Cheshire', 1956.British Railways (London Midland Region) poster. Artwork by Ken or Felix Kelly

New Brighton, Wallasey, for Pleasure!Õ,  BR (LMR) poster, 1954. Felix Kelly

But to return to my original point, railwayana auctions used to be a place where post-war posters could be picked up, at least sometimes, for a song.  Not any more, not for the sensible posters like this Scilly Isles one which fetched  £400.

John Smith Scilly ISles British Railways poster 1950s

Nor for the kitch – the Fleetwood whale pun also went for £410.

Fleetwood whale British Railways poster Carswell 1950s

Really, where are we meant to get posters from these days?

While I’m on the subject, there is another railwayana auction in the offing, this time Great Western Railwayana Auctions on November 10th, and once again there is a good range of posters.

Thornton Cleveleys British Railways poster 1950
Kenneth Steel, 1950

Although, as ever, there are no estimates, so who knows what they will fetch?

There are many sensible posters of various kinds.

Frank Mason East Coast havens british railways poster 1950s
Frank Mason, 1950s.

But there is also a rich seam of 1950s kitsch to be found too, of which this is my favourite

Geoff Sadler thornton cleveleys poster british railways 1950s
Geoff Sadler, 1960s

Although I am also quite fond of the idea of Hereward the Wake being a selling point.

Lance Cattermole Hereward the Wake Ely Cathedral poster 1959 British Railways

And there’s plenty more where those came from too.

Glenn Steward Teighnmouth British Railways poster
Glenn Steward, n.d.

Rhyl British Railways poster leonard 1961
Leonard, 1961

British Railways poster Blackpool greene 1950s
Greene, 1950s

There are also a couple of sets of this kind of GPO poster if you are interested.

Vintage GPO poster the post office in town educational

They’ll probably not be too expensive at a railwayana auction, although I can’t vouch for the prices on the rest of what’s on offer.  Expensive, judging by recent events.

Elsewhere, Dreweatt’s in Bristol is offering yet another batch of Percy Drake Brookshaw posters, once again being sold by his family.

A London Underground advertising poster, for the University boat race, 1937, by Percy Drake Brookshaw (1907-93)

There are other ones too, but you’ve seen them before.  Did his family live in a house just stacked with copies of his posters?  I think we need to know.

Finally, there are at last a few odds and ends popping up on eBay.  This Stan Krol coach poster, is a bit overpriced at £45 opening bid if you ask me, although it’s always good to see a coach poster at all.

Stan Krol bridlington coach poste 1960s

This Frank Newbould in contrast is currently cheap at £20, although I doubt that will last.

Frank Newbould National savings poster

This World War Two Ministry of Fuel poster isn’t that interesting, although someone will love it I am sure.

World War two save fuel poster Ministry of Fuel

Last but definitely not least, there is an edition of Barbara Jones’s Design for Death.  Not only is it just £9.99,  but it is being sold for charity, so I am sure one of you will want that.  It is for charity after all.

Posted in auctions, Uncategorized | 4 Responses

For the fun of it

As if the excitement of the Christies London Transport Museum sale wasn’t enough, there are now a whole slew of auctions pressing for our attention.  So many that I might not get them all into one post.  Shall we break ourselves in gently with an easy one?

PosterConnection in the US tell me that they are holding a sale in the Holiday Inn Express (near Fishermans Wharf) in San Francisco.  But there are only a very few British posters to detain us.  My personal favourites are this pair of airline posters.

Abram Games BEA poster 1947
Abram Games, 1947, est. $700.

Henrion BOAC poster south America 1948
Henrion, 1948, est. $600

One thing that I left out of my earlier musings about blue skies and airline posters was how early most of them are – they tend to date from the late 1940s and early 1950s in the main.  I wonder whether this is because the airlines – who brought in essential foreign revenue to put against the war debt – were allowed to advertise in a way that other, domestic businesses were not.  This might also explain why so many of these posters survive; they must have seemed to be dazzling pieces of modern design at a time when pretty much every other poster advertised the government.  Glamorous in short.

Henrion also gets another look in with this Punch poster.

Henrion Punch poster 1949
Henrion, 1949, est. $500

Although this does rather prove that other posters were available then.  Must research this more.

Finally, there is a Rowland Hilder, which ought to be exciting, except that it’s a National Savings Poster, and it turns out that the natural dreariness of National Savings posters drains the spirit from even an artist like Hilder.

Rowland Hilder War Savings poster 1942
Rowland Hilder, 1942, est $360

Why were National Savings posters so mediocre?  I do not know the answer to this.

There are a few other odds and ends of interest in there, including a few late McKnight Kauffer’s, but generally the rest is foreign, and therefore outside my remit.

The November Christies Sale is a similar miscellany, in fact they seem to have got enough lots to produce a second sale by merging posters and film posters.  But I don’t mind, because this means that for once I haven’t missed these two film posters.

Edward Bawden Titchfield Thunderbolt film poster 1953
Edward Bawden, 1953, £800 – £1,200

John Piper Pink String and Sealing Wax film poster 1945
John Piper, 1945, est. £800 – £1,200

Sidney James indeed.

Other than that, the line-up consists of the usual suspects.  There are airline and tourism posters from around the world, including a few rather fine examples by David Klein.

David Klein TWA las vegas poster
David Klein, 1963, est. £800 – £1,200

Along with the Abram Games design for Jersey.

Abram Games (1914-1996)  JERSEY  lithograph in colours, 1951 poster
Abram Games, 1951, est. £1,000 – £1,500

Also available is the usual heap/selection/motley assortment of railway posters (choose appropriate noun to suit your own point of view) of landscapes, seaside scenes and Terence Cuneo trains.  But also one or two quirkier ones.  There are a small selection of 1930s Southern posters which are not so much modernist as Art Deco; my favourite is, I think, this Pat Keely.

Pat (Patrick Cokayne) Keely (-1970)  "SOUTHERN BELLE"  lithograph in colours, 1930 poster
Pat Keely, 1930, est. £1,800 – £2,200

There on the other hand it might be this Edmund Vaughan.

Edmond Vaughan (1906-1996)  SOUTH FOR SUNSHINE  lithograph in colours, 1929 poster
Edmund Vaughan, 1929, est. £3,000 – £5,000

There is a Frank Newbould of Devon which is another contender for most psychedelic pre-war poster.

Frank Newbould (1887-1951)  SOUTH DEVON  lithograph in colours, 1946
Frank Newbould, 1946, est. £1,200 – £1,800

There is also this, which Mr Crownfolio dug out of an archive the other day, after I’d gone on about women looking at posters of holidays.

Stanislaus G. Brien  EAST COAST  lithograph in colours poster
Stanislaus G. Brien, est. £2,000 – £3,000

I’m not sure what I make of it really, except to think that the beach is rather too crowded to be entirely desirable.  Any thoughts anyone?

As well as railway posters, there are a very few London Transport posters in the sale.  I’ll have this, please, albeit not for that price.

Zero (Hans Schleger, 1898-1976)  EVOLUTION OF LONDON  1936 pair poster
Zero, 1936, est. £800 – £1,200

Pleasingly, there are even a few Shell posters too.  I feel as though I haven’t seen any for ages.

Paul Nash (1889-1946)  FOOTBALLERS PREFER SHELL  lithograph in colours, 1935 poster
Paul Nash, 1936, est. £2,000 – 3000

Finally, there are a few oddities. Inevitably, this is what I find interesting.  Most notable are this Reginald Mount, dating from the post-war continuation of lots of government posters giving you advice on almost everything.

Reginald Mount (1906-1979)  STAGGERED HOLIDAYS HELP EVERYBODY  offset lithograph in colours, c.1951
Reginald Mount, 1951, est. £600 – £800

Then there’s this Abram Games, rare for being an example of a commercial poster in the wild.  Oh and a classic piece of poster design too.

Abram Games (1914-1996)  FINANCIAL TIMES  lithograph in colours, c.1955 poster
Abram Games, 1955, est. £800 – £1,200

Finally, there is this McKnight Kauffer, which wins by being a double dose of modernism – his design advertising modernist architecture on display.

Edward McKnight Kauffer (1890-1954)  M.A.R.S., NEW EXHIBITION OF ARCHITECTURE  lithograph in colours, 1938 poster
McKnight Kauffer, 1938, £800 – £1,200

If there aren’t a load of architects fighting furiously over that one, something has gone wrong with the world.

Note I haven’t said anything about the estimates, mainly because after the last sale I have no idea at all.  Please do leave a comment in the box below if you do have any thoughts though, it would be much appreciated.

That’s probably as much as any of us can stand in one post, so I will return tomorrow or the next day with some more.  Bet you can’t wait.

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To my intense annoyance, the site seems to have been hacked at some point in the last few days, apologies if Quad Royal has been offline or not as you expected during this time.

I think it has all been fixed, so this should be the only pharmaceutical advertisement on here now.

McKnight Kauffer Enos Fruit Salts advertisement 1924 wot is ours

If you see any more, could you let me know?

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