Finish the job

Apologies for the long gap, summer holidays and renovations are rather eating into my writing time.  But I am going to dash in quickly now to tell you a bit more about the furthcoming Swann auction, because that is coming up in just four days time, on the 9th.

Anon, Florida, Trans Canadian airlines poster
Anon, 1950s, est. $400-600

Not unreasonably, it’s almost entirely stuffed with American posters, with European posters coming in a close second.

Esteban Santander poster 1958
Esteban,  1958, est. $400-600

But nonetheless, there are a few interesting items worthy of our British notice.

Harry Beck London Transport poster Chess Valley Rambles 1933

I mentioned the Harry Beck poster above last week, but if London Transport is your thing, there is also a Percy Drake Brookshaw on offer.

PERCY DRAKE BROOKSHAW (1907-1993) GREEN LINE in all weathers 1936 London Transport poster

It comes with a pair, as does this Betty Swanwick.

Betty Swanwick, Kew Gardens, London Transport poster 1937
Betty Swanwick, 1937, est. $400-600

Which comes as part of a job lot with a Dora Batty.  This is a bit text heavy, but even so both this and the Brookshaws don’t look expensive at all.

There are a similarly small number of railway posters on offer, but the few that there are do at least have the grace to be interesting.  I’ve never come across this rather jolly number before.

Broads, Arthur Michael 1937 railway poster
Arthur Michael, 1937, est. $1,000-2,000

While further down the listings you can also find this, which is another one to add to my list of industrial posters produced by the raliway companies.

1935 Albert Martin South Wales Docks Railway poster
Albert Martin, 1935, est. $700-1,000

Moreover, it’s a bit different to the ones we were discussing before, as its purpose doesn’t seem to be to demonstrate the glory of England’s industrial north, but rather to advertise a service to manufacturers, or indeed anyone else who would like to export things.

A forage in the National Railway Museum’s collections does reveal a couple more like this too, so it wasn’t a one off.

ÔCapacity/Mobility on the LNERÕ, LNER poster, 1933. Poster produced by London & North Eastern Railway (LNER) showing the Dogtooth Loading Dock, Ardwick, Manchester. Artwork by Henry George Gawthorn (1879-1941), who started out as an architect but later turned to pictorial art. He wrote several books on poster design and publicity and produced posters for LNER. He often inserted a self-portrait into many of his posters, complete with pince-nez and a panama hat.

Hull: Britains Cheapest PortÕ, LNER poster, 1929.

Although from 1933 and 1929 respectively, they are both by the same artist, Henry Gawthorn.  What that signifies, though, I don’t know.

Again, there are a few British World War Two posters are to be found lurking amongst the americana, like this Henrion.

FREDERIC HENRI KAY HENRION (1914-1990) VD / A SHADOW ON HAPPINESS. 1943.  British World War Two propaganda poster
FHK Henrion, 1943, est. $700-1,000

Graphically superb, but I’m not about to frame it and hang it on the wall.

And there’s also this Pat Keely, which I don’t think I’ve ever come across until now.

PATRICK COKAYNE KEELY (?-1970) THE NAVY THANKS YOU. 1943.  British propaganda poster ww2
Pat Keely, 1943, est. $800-1,200 

Along with a ton of these, which are good if you like pictures of machinery but that’s about all I can say in favour of them.

1942 briitish propaganda poster world war two help britain finish the job anon
Anon, 1942, est. $600-900

Terence Cuneo 1942 British propaganda poster world war two gun Help Britain Finish the Job
Anon, 1942, est. $600-900

The bottom one is apparently by Terence Cuneo, although that doesn’t seem to make any difference to the estimate.

Finally, there’s also an old favourite.

Denis Constanduros Farmers Prefer Shell poster

This is one of the posters which, a while back, led to my finding out a lot about Denis Constanduros and his aunt Mabel.  The short version is that he produced a few excellent posters and then was lured into broadcasting, quite possibly by his famous aunt Mabel.  Full details here and again here if you need to know more.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Beck again

I’m in the middle of writing a big long post about, well, things, but it’s hard work in the heat, and now Mr Crownfolio has been distracting me with interesting posters. Two to be precise, both of which are coming up for sale in American auctions, and both of which are worth five minutes of your time.

The first is being sold by Swann Auctions, and is noteworthy not because it is the greatest poster ever produced by London Transport during the 1930s – it isn’t – but because it’s a poster by Harry Beck, best known of course for designing the diagrammatic London Transport map.

Harry Beck London Transport poster Chess Valley Rambles 1933

I had no idea he’d produced posters at all, so there you go.  The London Transport Museum collection tells me that he did two others as well.

London Transport poster Cheap return fares, by Harry Beck, 1933

London Transport poster This week in London, by Harry Beck, 1932

Although it does rather appear that he only had one good idea overall.  Well one good poster idea, and then the flash of genius that was the tube map.

A tip, though.  When you are searching the LTM collection, don’t just put ‘Beck’ into the search box, otherwise you will be convinced that he was an unrecognised modernist designer of genius.  The results are muddied you see, because they also include the works of Richard Beck, who is very good, and has been written about on here before.

London Transport is Ever Ready Richard Beck poster

But that’s not all, because the search also brings you those of Maurice Beck, who hasn’t come to my attention until now.  It turns out that he was the photographer for British Vogue in the 1920s, and did a rather nifty line in photographic and photomontage posters as well.

Nothing left to chance, by Maurice Beck, 1930 London Transport poster

London Transport poster Everything ready to all the sports, by Maurice Beck, 1933

Together, though, the works of ‘Beck’ make a rather good modernist collection.

Meanwhile, somewhere out there on the American internet, this is going to be auctioned in September.

Warren Kenton London Transport poster on Greenwich - 1962

Mr Crownfolio partly pointed it out because of the rather, um, excitable write up.

London Transport poster on Greenwich – 1962 Amazing condition, quality and colors ! ! ! Greenwich was early in the space business… Object: Poster Place of origin: Greater London, England (issued) Date: 1962 (issued) Artist/Maker: Kenton, Warren, born 1933 (designer) London Transport Executive (issuer) Materials and Techniques: Colour lithograph Credit Line: Given by the London Transport Board This poster is actually house in the London museum ! Museum number: E.802-1963. Gallery location: Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C, case Y, shelf 69, box 1 Features the Greenwich Observatory !

It’s in a museum!  It features a building! Wow!

But once you’ve recovered from the hyperbole, it’s actually a rather wonderful poster and further proof of my thesis from just the other day that there are lots of under-recognised London Transport posters out there.

I was going to say that I can’t tell you anything about Warren Kenton, because the whole internet is clogged up with an astrologer of the same name.  Except it turns out that he’s one and the same person.  He designed one fantastic poster, then did a quite comprehensive career swerve and became a Kabbalistic astrologer.  Full biography here if you don’t believe me.

Posted in auctions, London Transport | Leave a comment


Right, it’s Friday afternoon, so shall we order some posters?

London Trransport poster catalogue 1976

I think that, as we’ve already got versions of the two Carol Barker ones, I’d like to order Foxes by Peter Roberson please.

Peter Roberson Foxes poster  London Transport 1971

Especially as the prices are so low.

London Transport price list 1976- ppster price details

As you may have guessed by now, we will have t o use some form of time travel if we actually want any of these posters sent to us; the catalogue, sadly dates from 1976. It’s a London Transport poster catalogue, detailing all of the reproduction and current posters that they were offering for sale.

There’s more on the other side too, and they’re even better.

London Transport poster catalogue 1976 part two

I’d take pretty much any of these if they were on offer.

It’s also a reminder that there were some very good illustrators still being used in the early 1970s.  We are lucky enough to own the Michael Carlo.

Michael Carlo Kew London Transport poster 1971

But the Graham Clarke one of Chenies is also very fine too.

1969 Graham Clarke Chenies London Transport poster 1971

(Apologies for the image sizes being all over the show today, but I’m not exactly spoiled for choice as these posters are clearly only of interest to me).

The catalogue has come, you won’t be surprised to learn, from Rik Shepherd, whose father kept all kinds of wonderful poster sales memorabilia – there’s a lot more where this came from and I’ll share some more of them on here in due course.

Rik also points out that some of the posters pictured in the catalogue are shown with the ‘This is a Reproduction of a London Transport Poster’ overprinting on them, as discussed on here before.  He and I are currently debating why and when this over-printing happened.  When it’s not so hot and my brain works properly, I’ll try and get our thoughts together and see what you reckon.

Posted in London Transport | 5 Responses


On 16th July, Bloomsbury are holding their Poster Sale, in what I’m hoping will be the last auction for a while – I say this mainly because I want to write about other things for a chance.

I’m not so jaded that I am going to do this, but I am aware that I could almost substitute what I wrote about Onslows in here with different illustrations, because the two sales are following a very similar pattern.

In particular, they both have a big selection of GPO posters, although in the case of Bloomsbury, they sell them in lots of ten so the estimates, although nominally higher than Onslows are actually cheaper on a per poster basis.  Which is confusing, in a trying to work out which brand of cornflakes in the supermarket is actually best value kind of way.  Perhaps we should price posters per square centimetre for the sake of clarity. Anyway, these are what’s on offer, but bear in mind that each one comes with nine unphotographed others.

HUVENEERS, Pieter H. SEND YOUR OVERSEAS PARCELS BY AIR MAIL. GPO lithograph in colours, 1954, vintage poster
PIeter Huveneers, 1954, est. £150-250

1955 vintage GPO poster BROWNING, H. W. BY AIR MAIL, GPO lithograph in colours
Browning, 1955, est. £150-250

vintage GPO poster GAPP BOTH NEED A CLEAR VIEW, GPO lithograph in colours, 1951,
Gapp, 1951, est. £150-250

This also connects up with the Onlows sale in that these – rather than the set on offer at Onslows – are the ones rescued from a skip when the Post Office were having a clear out.  So it’s an interesting coincidence that two sets have come on the market at the same time.  There is one more lot on offer at Bloomsbury as well,  fronted by this Tom Eckersley classic.

vintage GPO poster 1955 ECKERSLEY, Tom (1914-1997) POST EARLY, GPO ithograph
Tom Eckersley, 1955, est. £150-250

In another resemblance to Onslows, Bloomsbury also have a few fantastic Games posters tucked away at the end.  I won’t go through them all, but mostly they are good but not news to me because they have been much reproduced, like this London Transport example.

1950 London Transport vintage poster GAMES, Abram LONDON TRANSPORT, conducted tours lithograph in colours, printed by Waterlow & Sons Ltd, London
Abram Games, 1950, est. £150-250

This one, however is both new to me and utterly wonderful.

1952 poster GAMES, Abram (1914-1996) BLACKPOOL, British Railways
bram Games, 1952, est. £200-400

It’s apparently a British Railways poster  – and given that it’s in the collection of the NRM I see no reason to doubt this – but it doesn’t say BR on it anyway.  Which is unusual, but I imagine just the kind of thing Abram Games got away with and no one else was allowed to.

Onslows was full of Shell posters; Bloomsbury have but two.  They are, however, this kind and so both preferable and more valuable.

SUDDABY Rowland, (1912-1972 ) YOU CAN BE SURE OF SHELL, Darley Abbey lithograph in colours, 1937
Roland Suddaby, 1937, est.  £300-500

After that, however, I start to run out.  There are foreign posters (lots), film posters (just as many) and car posters (quite a few) but little to tickle my fancy.  The best thing I could find is this Lander, and it’s not one of his best.

British Railways poster LANDER, R.M. ISLE OF MAN lithograph in colours, c.1960,
R M Lander, 1960, est. £200-400

The only other thing that is of interest, although strictly speaking it’s more of a print, is this item by James Fitton.

James Fitton CEMA print pant
James Fitton, 1942, est. £300-500

Now I’ve come across one of these before.  It’s a print by CEMA, wartime fore-runner to the Arts Council and the prints look to be precursors of the School Prints and Lyons editions.  But I can’t find anything about them anywhere – do you lot know where they might be documented?  Or even a decent history of CEMA itself would do.  Anyway, there are actually a whole set available in the lot, so the estimate looks like somewhat of a bargain, if you like that kind of thing.

Even though it’s a bit short on my personal favourite kinds of posters, I still think the sale is good though, because I think Bloomsbury have answered the question that I asked a week or two ago, which was where are we to buy and sell mid range posters now that Christies have turned us away at the door?  Here, it seems.

FM Paignton British Railways tourism poster 1960
F M. 1960, est £200-400

That said, I do still have a couple of reservations.  One is very simply that they are not trying very hard with their catalogue.  For several of the posters I’ve illustrated up there, no dates have been given in the catalogue; in each case it’s been the matter of moments with Google for me to find out.  And given that two of those posters are for the GPO and London Transport, who in each case have comprehensive online catalogues, with dates, it’s pretty poor.

The other is the estimates.  They’re both wide and well, a bit vague.  Surely that fantastic Games of Blackpool has to be worth more than the average Lander?  So then I look at the catalogue and wonder how much they really know about their lots.  Still, I don’t suppose it matters too much.  This is, after all, an auction, and the market can judge for itself what a poster is worth.  But I do still feel very slightly cheated.

Finally, in a shameless piece of self-advertisement, we are selling some posters on eBay.  However, they are mostly world war two, mostly a bit shabby (OK, some a lot shabby) and surplus to requirements, so keep your expectations low and you won’t be disappointed.

Posted in auctions | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Responses

Cleaning up

Remember our Daphne Padden prints from last year?

Daphne Padden gardener print to buy

(Which are, incidentally, still available, if you want one just leave a comment or drop me a line via the contact form).

Daphne Padden London print to buy

Well now, thanks to the lovely people at To Dry For, you are now also able to buy Daphne Padden tea towels too.  Just take a look at this, beautifully printed onto linen and rather desirable.

To Dry For Daphne Padden Gardener tea towel

That’s not all, either,  because they’ve also made two more Padden designs into tea towels as well.

To Dry For Daphne Padden kitchen baking tea towel

Daphne Padden To Dry For chickens tea towel

It’s all very exciting if you ask me.

They are for sale right now via the To Dry For website, and in the next week or so I will be running some kind of competition with a couple of these as prizes.  Except I don’t know what kind of competition that might be yet.  Watch this space (or even suggest one of your own, you might just win a tea towel for that too).

To Dry For London Tea Towel Daphne Padden

Posted in designers | Tagged | 2 Responses

Look Mummy – posters!

We’ve considered Posterconnection before – they offer vast quantlties of posters on eBay, generally for quite a high price.  All of which means that I’m not suggesting that you buy either of these two, but simply that you might want to take a look at them.

The first is by Hans Unger, but not for one of his usual clients like London Transport.  In fact, I’ve never heard of British United Airways before.  But the poster is lovely.

HAns Unger travel poster British United Airlines to Holland

Yours for £378.12.  Precisely.

The second is even more interesting.  Its’s by Derrick Hass, who has been mentioned in despatches on here more than once, but whose poster designs don’t come up that often.

Derrick Hass Cooks travel poster from poster connection

The listing says it dates from 1954, and who am I to doubt them, because it is a classic bit of early 1950s design.  Yours, however, for nigh on £500.

But it’s probably worth drawing your attention to the fact that, if you look at PosterConnections completed listings, that almost none of their sales go for the asking price, but instead for some unspecified ‘Best Offer’.  So it might be worth a punt.

Elsewhere on eBay, there is further evidence that it is turning into a proper market place for proper vintage posters.  Take a look at these pair, for example, both being sold by the same seller (and apparently with the same lumps of chewing gum holding the corners down).

Shell petrol cheetahs the quick starting pair poster

Shell spring is here vintage poster

Both posters have reached almost £300 with a few days ago, which does seem to suggest that they will get as good a price as they would in any auction.

What’s interesting about these two,  though, is that they are both a bit battered around the edges; they’re not the kind of posters, perhaps, that Christies would accept.  So is this just the poster market spreading out to eBay, or is it something subtly different emerging, a place where the B+ posters now go.  If anyone knows what these would fetch in top condition, do say, as it will help  me work out what I think.

On a similar note, and for those who like early infographics, this London Transport poster by Aldo Cosomati is also up for auction.

1927 London Transport Poster Aldo Cosomati

Although with a starting price of £199, it remains to be seen how well it will do.  By way of comparison, the Shell posters had a starting price of £100 and have now shot away.  Sometimes you need to be brave with starting prices on eBay in order to reap the reward.  I have no idea why that works, but it does.

Back in the world of things that I am more likely to afford, there are also some interesting items.  We would bid on this Lander, for example, were it not for the fact that we’ve got one already.

R M Lander British Railways Plymouth poster

Although with a starting price of £90, perhaps we wouldn’t.  The colours are fantastic though.

And finally, despite the title of the listing, this coach poster isn’t by Daphne Padden but Studio Seven.

Studio Seven Bristol Omnibus coach poster

Something they do admit in the text, but even so it’s a bit cheeky.  And I wouldn’t have thought Daphne Padden gets that many searches on eBay, but then I might be wrong.  That starts at £65, but has (for what reason I do not know) been backed onto linen so who knows what it’s worth really?  Still, it’s an auction, so we can all find out in due course.

Posted in Uncategorized | 9 Responses