On Show

For those of you in or near London a public information broadcast.  Friend of this blog, Neil Jennings is mounting an exhibition next week at the Art Workers Guild in Queen Square in Bloomsbury.  The cast list looks wonderful, including as it does Edward Bawden, Barbara Jones, Barnett Freedman and Kenneth Rowntree.  And this poster too, apparently.

Michael Middleton 1936 vintage LT poster

It’s by Michael Middleton, who’s new to me, and dates from 1936, apparently.

Anyhow, the show is open Mon, Thursday and Friday for the next couple of weeks, starting on the 5th and you can go and see it if you like.

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King listing

All I seem to do at the moment on this blog is write about eBay.  In part this is because I’ve got my head thoroughly stuck into writing a book instead, and so there isn’t much mental bandwidth left for thinking about posters.  (A normal service will be resumed in due course, I promise).  But it’s also because eBay keeps chucking wonderful stuff at me.  Take a look at these.

Complete set of King Penguins end on

What you are seeing there is a complete set of King Penguins, curently at £235 without having reached their reserve.  But I don’t really mind what they sell for because the photographs – and obviously the books themselves – are artworks in their own right.

King Penguins one

King Penguins again

A comprehensive condition report which is at the same time a thing of beauty.  I like that.

King Penguins further

King Penguins final

And this is just a small selection, there are loads more on the listing if you’d like to take a look.

While I’ve got your attention, you might also like to know about these posters.

Tom Eckersley vintage London College of Printing library poster

Tom Eckersley vintage poster national Business Calendar Awards

Tom Eckersley vintage wildscreen poster butterfly

Three late Tom Eckersleys, all with a starting price of £50, but be warned, the bids have started to come in already.

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Without linen on backside

At last.  I’ve been banging on about PosterConnection’s shop on eBay for quite a while now – its selection is enough to persuade me to be interested in foreign posters every so often.  Now, finally, they are also selling some British designs.  And good ones too.  Pick of the pops has to be this Daphne Padden.

Daphne Padden Royal Blue vintage coach poster sailor 1957

They are asking about £250 for it, and I can’t work out whether that’s a reasonable price or not.  This is mainly because the last time I saw one of these going past an auction was at the final Morphets sale, where the prices were definitely depressed by the sheer quantity of what was on offer.  What is this worth? Do any of you lot know?

A few other British posters are on offer, of which my favourite is this poster by Harry Stevens from 1960.

Southern Coach vintage poster boy at seaside Harry Stevens 1960

Once again, there is also the chance to see Britain from the foreign point of view.  Which can be quite different, because I definitely don’t remember Manchester ever looking like this.  With the possible exception of the air colour, that is.

Swissair Manchester poster Harry Ott 1951

But I do rather like this cricketing lion.

Cricketing Lion Host Buzas 1960 vintage travel poster

He could almost be by Royston Cooper, but in fact he’s the work of one Host Buzas in 1960.  Good show.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering about the title, that’s how all of these posters are described.

There’s good stuff elsewhere on eBay too at the moment.  Perhaps most urgently, I need to point you at this Abram Games poster, which is a lovely joyful one without bullets or dead people or blood in it.  I know that’s not his fault, he was working for the Army so it was part of the job description, but I do find the results quite hard work sometimes.

Vintage Abram Games army civvy street poster world war two

The bloke who is selling this had the experience which I can only dream of; they bought a new house and found a whole roll of these posters up in the attic.  They’re in very good condition too.  I know this for certain because we’ve already bought one, and very lovely it is too.

While we’re on the subject of attic finds, you might want to watch the Antiques Roadshow on Sunday, because a Scottish woman brought in fifteen Keep Calm and Carry On posters – story here, and indeed everywhere else.  This brings the total known to exist to somewhere round about twenty and they are apparently worth £1,000 each; although how they’ve worked that out when no one has ever auctioned one before and the rip-offs are plastering the internet like bad grafitti I don’t know.  And if they say on the show – as I am pretty sure they will judging by the news story – that they were produced for use in the event of invasion when this is not true I will shout at the television.  So there.

Rant over, back to eBay.  A couple of posters we are probably not going to buy are these two Festival of Britain designs. They are wonderful, but their prices are already soaring into the stratosphere with a couple of days to go.

Festival of Britain vintage poster Abram Games

Festival of Britain vintage poster Abram Games

Festival of Britain is such a lovely searchable term, isn’t it.

For those of us without a bottomless wallet there is both this Amstutz, from 1967 (the sellers has a number of other GPO posters but I can’t quite get excited about them).

Vintage GPO guide poster Amstutz 1967

And then this psychedelic oddity.

boots poster, mad, black and white

They’re both being sold abroad, so might not go for that much.

Finally, this is not a poster, but might be of interest to one or two of you.

how to draw like Ashley havinden

I’d like to be able to draw just like that.  Now off you go, I’ve got a television to shout at.

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Oh my ears and whiskers

See that poster?  That’s me right now, so apologies if posting gets a bit erratic for the next week or two.

Grave-Schmidt from 1954 vintage german poster

If you like what you see, it’s for sale on eBay at the moment, courtesy of PosterConnection.  They’re selling some interesting things at the moment, so more about that tomorrow.  Or perhaps the day after.

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I’m feeling a bit guilty about this one.  I didn’t get round to mentioning an auction in Marseilles last week as there was too much else on.  Well, I thought, people aren’t actually likely to bid, as it’s a long way away, in French and the postage will cost a fortune.

What mainly interested me was not just that a few British posters had cropped up in an auction on the far side of France, but also that, once again, it was the airline posters which were appearing.

Anonymous 1950s BEA poster

This anonymous BEA one, even though I haven’t seen it before, is perhaps the most standard in its blue-sky thinking.  While the only place I’ve ever seen the one below is on the cover of Paul Rennie’s Modern British Posters.

Vintage airline poster Kenneth Rowntree 1957 BEA

It’s by Kenneth Rowntree and from 1957 should you be minded to know.

This one, by Adelman and from a year earlier, is just plain odd.

Adelman BEA poster 1956 inexplicable

What is it advertising?  Televisions and rock drills?  And why?

Just a warning though, not all BEA posters were artistic masterpieces, even as early as 1953.

BEA London photographic poster 1953

As further evidence, I could also present this too.

Monarch stratocruiser vintage airline poster 1950s

But do not despair, the hidden gem of the collection has to be this, an Eckersley design for Aer Lingus which is definitely new to me.  Has anyone else seen it before?

Eckersley Aer Lingus vintage European route poster

All of which brings me to my error.  There are some lovely posters here, and I thought that they would all sell easily.  Not so – in fact far from it.  Of the five above, the only one to do remotely well was the Rowntree, which reached €250, well over its €120-150 estimate.  None of the others sold at all, not even the Eckersley (est. €180-220).  So perhaps someone should have had a go.

I don’t think it’s just that the French don’t like British posters, because this French representation of Britain didn’t sell either.

Vintage Air france poster grande bretagne

So lets not take this personally.

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Mr Crownfolio has been diversifying into ephemera again.  But I can’t really complain when it’s as good as this.  And anyway, we haven’t had a nice Eckersley on the blog for a while.

Tom Eckersley British Railways leaflet Holiday runabout tickets 1960

But this isn’t some niche piece of design for a high-end firm.  What we have here is a popular leaflet produced by a giant nationalised industry.  I can’t think of anyone working in a similar way today.  Which is more than a shame, to me that represents a loss of respect for other people – respect for their intelligence and taste, but also a respect in terms of making the world better looking rather than uglier.  And that’s quite something to lose.

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