Float Or Fly

I’ve mentioned the P&O archive before now, but I was led back to it the other day when I was on the trail of John Bainbridge.  This delightful fish is his, dating to 1953.

John Bainbridge fish poster P&O 1953

But to my joy, I’ve discovered that they’ve added to what’s online since I was last there.  New arrivals include this Negus/Sharland poster from 1955, which is, I think, the earliest example of their work that I have come across.

Float or Fly Negus Sharland orient line poster 1955

This Fritz Buhler, which is just dated 1950s, is also good.

Fritz Buhler vintage Orient Line poster 1950s ship

While this last poster is just intriguing.  It’s not signed, but it doesn’t half look like a Royston Cooper to me.

Vintage Orient line poster 1965

What do you reckon?

But that’s not all.  The Printed Ephemera section has also been extended.  It now not only includes a few delights that have been seen before on Quad Royal, like these menus by Dorrit Dekk and Daphne Padden.

Dorrit Dekk P&O Menu 1971 front

Daphne Padden P&O menu from estate sale

There are others as well, and amongst them this Daphne Padden menu, which is new to me.

Daphne Padden entertainments menu P&O 1956

And dating from 1956, it’s quite an early example of her work too.

There’s plenty more to be found on the archive too, but it’s leading me into such digressions that they may need a whole post of their own. But I will explain more another day.

 

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Sheepish

In a slightly incongruous justaposition, the severe lines of London Transport photo-modernism bring you…

…baa lambs

Vintage London Transport photographic poster lambs 1936

(courtesy of the London Transport Museum).

Happy Easter.

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Posters Produce Results

No arguing with that, is there.

Posters Produce Results. 1932 CECILIA H. MURPHY British Advertising Association
Cecilia Murphy, 1932, est. $1,700-2,000

Although for today’s post, the results we are mostly bothered about come from auctions, as all at once there is a rush of new sales on the horizon and I can hardly keep up.

That poster above is included in  Poster Auction International’s May 6 sale in New York.  There isn’t a great deal else of British interest there, except to say that it’s always good to see something by Ashley Havinden.

Use BP. 1932 ASHLEY Havinden vintage poster
Ashley Havinden, 1932, est $2,000-2,500

I’m also going to make one of my periodic exemptions for things foreign, mainly because this exhibition poster by Max Bill is just an extraordinary piece of design for 1945.

USA Baut. 1945 MAX BILL (1908-1994) vintage exhibition poster
Max Bill, 1945, est. $800-1,000

It still looks modern now, so back then it must have seemed like a visitation from the future.

Other than that, there is what looks like a chance to buy the complete works of Alphonse Mucha, but if you’ve got enough money to do that – estimates go as high as $90,000 –  you’re probably not reading this blog for advice on posters.

There’s a bit more to detain the rest of us at the forthcoming Van Sabben auction on April 21st, although most of it comes from the well-trodden paths of airline advertising, wartime and post-war propaganda posters and the London Underground.

Having said that, even these can deliver a few surprises, the greatest of which is probably this Beaumont.  In fact more of a fright than a surprise really; Mr Crownfolio is very worried that someone has beheaded their mum and put her in the cabbage patch.

Beaumont vintage propaganda poster 1950  cabbages
Leonard Beaumont, 1950, est. €120-400

Even at the top end, that estimate seems fairly reasonable when you consider that the lot also includes three other posters of the same ilk, all dating, I think, from after the war.

Anonymoust food propaganda poster after world war two

Green vegetables vintage British propaganda poster

Shredded cabbage vintage ministry of food propaganda poster late 1940s

On a similar theme is this poster, although with the added bonus of an interestingly menacing tone.

1946 bread want it vintage propaganda poster Ministry of Food
Anonymous, 1946, est. €80-160

Once again, there is a slew of airline posters, many of which have featured on this blog before.  Of those, the most desirable is probably this Abram Games.

Abram Games vintage 1949 airline poster BOAC
Abram Games, 1949, est. €650-1,000

But there are a few novelties here too.  This is one.

vintage 1949 BOAC poster Glad airline time is money
Glad, 1949, est €150-280.

I have never come across Glad before, but it’s really rather good, so if anyone can knows more, please do let me know.

The second is by John Bainbridge, about whom I do know more and have been meaning to post about for some time, because he is both excellent and not well enough known.

John Bainbridge, vintage airline poster BEA, 1949
John Bainbridge, 1949, est. €150-250

Although he worked in Britain for much of his career, John Bainbridge was originally from Australia, and there is a really good archive of his work over there, which I must post about one day.

There aren’t many London Transport posters for once, but those few are quite unusual.  This first one can only be from the 1930s.

Roy Meldrum vintage London Transport poster Green Line 1933
Roy Meldrum, 1933, est. € 300-600.

Van Sabben also have the poster below dated to 1935, which seemed a bit odd to me.  And a brief delve into the LT Museum site gives a date of 1950 instead, as well as confirming that it is one half of a pair poster.

James Arnold out to the Farms vintage London Transport poster 1950
James Arnold, 1950, est. €120-250.

Again, this looks like quite a bargain, as it also gets you this S John Woods poster from the same year as well.

S John Woods vintage London Transport poster 1950

Oddly, the other half of the farms pair poster is also on sale, but in a different lot.

Other half of farms pair poster
James Arnold, 1950, est. €100

I’m no completist when it comes to pair posters – would you ever really put the other half up on the wall?  So given the choice, I think I’d probably rather have the S John Woods instead.

As if all of that wasn’t enough for one day, Poster Connection also have a sale in San Francisco on 28th April.  There are airline posters, and that’s probably all I need to say about it.  But I did rather like this one.

BEA vintage airline poster Europe 1948
Anonymous, 1948, est. $200-360.

But it’s not just the gaiety I like, it’s also a reminder of the huge gulf between Britain and America at this point.  Britain was still enduring austerity, worse even than during the war, and this brightly coloured poster would have been an unimaginable luxury, depicting foreign travel which could only be dreamed off.  Such stuff were for export only, as the country desperately tried to entice Americans over to spend their money, and so help pay off the war debt.

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Stamp stamp

Truly I have taken leave of my sense, because I have bought a presentation pack of stamps.

Now under any other circumstances this would be the piece of ephemera too far and you would be at complete liberty to laugh and point at me.  Except it looks like this.

Abram Games Jersey Stamps presentation pack cover

Rather good, isn’t it?

These are the stamps inside, and the blurb tells me that they are by Abram Games, so I am rather assuming the cover is too.

Abram Games Jersey set of stamps 1975

The pack also tells me that they commissioned Games because of his holiday posters, which for me immediately brought this one to mind.

Abram Games Jersey deckchair poster 1950s

But when I googled, the image that came up time and time again was not that deckchair but his parasol instead.

Abram Games Jersey poster 1951 tourism

This is the one in the collection of MoMA in New York, the one that has sold for £1,700 at Christies, and is clearly the big cheese in the world of Abram Games Jersey posters.  Which just goes to show how little I know.

But in the course of tracing its triumphs, I also found that it had an interesting afterlife too.  It was, it appears, reversioned as a BEA poster too, which isn’t something I’ve ever come across before.

Abram Games Jersey poster used for BEA 1951

And then there’s this: proof that a great graphic idea can be easily misapplied.

Jersey umbrella mishap

Games must have loved that.

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Profit Margin

Following on from the comments on my last piece about the inexplicable gap between eBay prices and elsewhere, a couple of instructive compare and contrasts for you.

Firstly, this excellent piece of sixties-iana, about which I know nothing except the rather obvious fact that it is for Pan Am.

vintage 1960s Pan Am poster womans face

Oh, and that its current asking price is $3,250.  If you’re tempted, it’s in an online exhibition of travel posters held by the International Vintage Poster Dealers Association.  I am not, you will be unsurprised to learn, a member.

However, if you are more of a fan of the poster than the price, then you can rue your missed opportunity, because it did turn up on eBay at the end of last year, where it fetched just $384.99.

Example two we have seen only the other day, as it’s Victor Pasmore’s exhibition poster which is up at Christies next month.

Victor Pasmore (1908-1998) LONDON GROUP lithograph in colours, 1948

This too came up on eBay only about six weeks ago, when it went for just £125.  In case you need reminding, the Christies estimate is £600-800.

Now I know that price can depend on condition, but even so the discrepancies are huge.  And given that both these posters are fairly rare (I have never ever seen either of them before now), the odds must be quite good that it’s the same poster being sold on.

One more example, although in this case the price discrepancy is partly explained by the fact that the original listing is in German.  Tom Eckersley’s book on Poster Design, the source of this wonderful illustration.

Tom Eckersley colour separations

Now the last time this went past on eBay, the asking price £75, give or take a penny.  But the lucky purchaser in the German auction got it for just one euro.  And you can’t really blame that on the whole thing being written in foreign, because it did say ‘Tom Eckersley’ very clearly in the title.

So, eBay: an enigma and a mystery.  And probably also quite a good business model if you’re interested in buying cheap and selling expensive.  Any economists out there with any more interpretations?

While we’re on the subject of Tom Eckersley, another way round high auction prices is available.  The V&A are selling reproductions of his Keep Britain Tidy Poster as part of the merchandising for their Modern British Design show.

Tom Eckersley Keep Britain Tidy poster V&A

Which I suppose may mean that there is an Eckersley poster in there somewhere, along with everything else.  I really ought to go and see that and we are going to London in a few weeks time.  But given that we are already planning to subject small Crownfolio to the Jeremy Deller exhibition, the V&A might be a step too far for one day.  Perhap we’ll go and see the dinosaurs instead.

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Informative

Today’s post is crowdsourcing, Quad Royal style, because lots of very kind people have been sending me links to posters on sale or sold recently.  So the least I can do, of course, is share them.

The first, and following on nicely from my last post, is this Daphne Padden poster for British Railways, which is up for sale in America via eBay.

Vintage Daphne Padden British Railways poster Lancashire Blackpool tower.

It’s a great poster, and one that I have never ever seen before and can’t find much trace of either, apart from the fact that one sold in the Midlands about three years ago.  Despite all that, and an attempt at a frame, the price seems a bit steep to me at £300+ for a starting bid.  But thank you to Mike Jacob for putting that my way nonetheless.

Also forthcoming, and emailed to me by Mr Crownfolio upstairs, is a Christies poster sale.  But don’t get too excited, this is an Olympic special, and there are very few Olympic posters I can get enthusiastic about, with this Richard Beck from 1956 perhaps the only exception.

Richard Beck 1956 Olympic poster
Richard Beck, 1956, est £800-1,200

And I definitely don’t want to buy an Olympic torch (there are a surprising number on offer too).  Given that, there isn’t a great deal else to report from the catalogue.  All I can point you towards are a handful of McKnight Kauffer’s.

Edward McKnight Kauffer (1890-1954)  EARLS COURT MOTOR SHOW  1937
McKnight Kauffer, 1937. est. £700-900

The one below has to be my favourite, although this is less a result of the image than the estimate.

Edward McKnight Kauffer (1890-1954)  ENO'S "FRUIT SALT"  lithograph in colours, 1925,
McKnight Kauffer, 1925, est. £1,200 – 1,800

We got another one of this series on eBay about eighteen months ago, only for a small fraction of what Christies thinks it is worth, an experience which never fails to please me.  And it’s a nicer image, to boot.

There is also a classic Abram Games.

Abram Games (1914-1996)  JOIN THE ATS  lithograph in colours, 1941
Abram Games, 1941, est. £2,000 – 3,000

Along with this Peter Roberson, which I am guessing only slips through Christies minimum lot requirements thanks to the Festival of Britain interest.

Peter Roberson (1907-1989)  VISITOR'S LONDON, FESTIVAL OF BRITAIN  lithograph in colours, 1950
Peter Roberson, 1950, est. £1,200 – 1,600

My favourite British poster is probably this obscure and slightly pallid Victor Pasmore.

Victor Pasmore (1908-1998)  LONDON GROUP  lithograph in colours, 1948
Victor Pasmore, 1948, est. £600 – 800

Note the use of British in the sentence above.  Because once again, the local talent is having to compete for my attention with a small but lovely set of David Klein posters.

David Klein (1918-2005)  MIAMI, FLY TWA  offset lithograph in colours, c.1960
David Klein, 1960, est. £800 – 1,200

David Klein (1918-2005)  LOS ANGELES, FLY TWA  offset lithograph in colours, c.1958
David Klein, 1958, est. £800 – 1,200

David Klein san fransciso 1958
David Klein, 1958, est. £800 – 1,200 

That first one in particular is fabulous, if a touch unaffordable.

The bad news is not just the small selection of posters I want to look at either.  As far as I can tell from Christies’ Calendar, this will be their only poster sale this spring.  And eBay’s gone into the doldrums too.  There’s nothing left for it, I may have to start trawling the railwayana catalogues to keep my hopes up.

There are still a few glimmerings in the provincial auction scene as well, although I might have to get my act together a bit in reporting them to you.  James Manning pointed out that Dreweatts have been selling more Percy Drake Brookshaws in a recent sale.

Now I say more because one of my first ever posts on here was about some of his posters being sold at the same auction house.  Both then and now they seem to have come from the artist’s family, who have clearly been disposing of what they have in dribs and drabs.  And also saving the best stuff until last.

A London Underground advertising poster, 'While Others Wait - A Season [Ticket] / Takes You Through', 1928, by Percy Drake Brookshaw (1907-93)

What’s most amusing about these lots is the discrepancy between the estimates and the results.  I would have been very happy to get the poster above for the £50-60 that Dreweatt’s estimated.  Sadly it went for £550.  Although perhaps not sadly, given that I missed the sale.

That wasn’t a freak occurrence either, all the posters reached similarly high prices.  The boat race poster below was estimated at £100-150, but sold for almost ten times that, £1,100.

A London Underground advertising poster, for the University Boat Race, 'Saturday March 31st - 9.45 a.m. / Nearest Stations: Putney Bridge, Hammersmith / Ravenscourt P[ar]k, Turnham Green & Chiswick P[ar]k', 1928, by Percy Drake Brookshaw

While this classic would have been the bargain of the century at its £60-80 estimate.

A London Underground advertising poster, for the University boat race, 1937, by Percy Drake Brookshaw

But it too went for £1,100.

I swear I will never ever fully understand the poster market.  Prices like that make me think that the internet is doing its job in flattening out the market, as anyone with an interest and a tiny bit of understanding of searches on websites can find almost any lot up for sale and bid on it.  But why doesn’t that work with eBay then?  Why can we buy a McKnight Kauffer on there for a tenth of its Christies price?  I think we might need to write a specialist piece of poster market theory, so if there is an economist in the house, can they get in touch?  And for anyone else, please do keep sending the auction links and anything else that takes your fancy, they’re very much appreciated.

 

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