Harrogate Return

It’s taken two years, but finally I can report on another Morphet’s sale.  Sadly this is not another great poster extravaganza, but still worth your time and attention.  Shall we take this for starters?

Abram Games vintage poster BOAC festival of Britain Morphets
Abram Games, 1951, est. £200-300

The poster – which by rights should go for quite a bit more than that estimate – is a bit of a clue as to what’s going on here.  Because although there are a few other posters in this sale, like the Gordon Nicol below, they’re not the main point of interest.

Gordon Nicol vintage poster British Railways 1958 windsor
Gordon Nicol, 1958, est. £150-200 

Although I will always have time for this London Transport poster, which I know I’ve mentioned on here at least once before

Vintage London Transport poster Street Markets Thomson 1949
A R Thomson, 1949, est. £ 200-300

The main bulk of the fun isn’t posters for a change, but Festival of Britain ephemera, because this auction contains it in industrial quantities, well over sixty lots which range from womens’ handkerchiefs to horse brasses via pretty much everything in between.

Festival of Britain womens hankerchiefs

Festival of Britain brassware from Morphets

Lager glasses anyone?

Festival of Britain lager glasses, yes really

Or just, well, stuff?

FEstival of Britain souvenirs

But amongst the amusements are also a few more sensible things, like this Festival pot.  Actually, it isn’t sensible at all but I still rather like it.

a festival of britain pot of some oddness

Then there is this Wedgwood mug, designed by Norman Makinson.

Morphets Festival of Britain mug Wedgwood

While we’re on the subject of Wedgwood, I should probably also mention this Ravilious Coronation mug as well.

Eric Ravilous coronation mug for Wedgwood

If you’re wondering how he designed a mug for an event in 1953 when he’d died in 1942, the design was originally created for the coronation of Edward VII in 1937, and then revised for the coronations of both George VI and then Elizabeth II.  So there. Estimate £120-150 if you’re desiring it.

Anyway, there is loads more to be found in the catalogues, so really it’s much better if you just go and have a look for yourselves.  As long as you then tell me if you buy anything.

That’s not the only reason to go and take a look, though, because in addition to all of the Festival memorabilia it’s also offering also a very interesting set of Lyons prints too.  The highlights are the Bawden and the Freedman if you ask me.

Edward Bawden Dolls at Home lyons print 1947
Edward Bawden, 1947, est. £200-300

Barnett Freedman Lyons print Window box 1955
Barnett Freedman, 1955, est. £250-300

I also have a soft spot for this Ardizzone too.

Edward Ardizzone lyons print shopping in Myosore 1955
Edward Ardizzone, 1955, est. £80-100

But I can’t afford any of them because we’ve just bought a house, so they’re all yours if you want them.  Off you go.

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Celebrations, assorted

Despite my promises, a normal service will not be operating today either, because it’s all be a bit exciting down here in the sticks.  Yesterday we had both the Olympic torch and Jubilee picnic, which is all a bit much for one day.  By way of commemoration, have a an appropriately festive poster.

John Gilroy vintage Guinness coronation poster 1953

It is compulsory, whenever this poster is displayed, to say that it was the first ever advertising poster not to include the name of the product, because the Guinness animals were so well-recognised (although we did once manage to buy one on eBay which had been misdescribed as a circus poster, so that isn’t always true).

But the British Posters book, as well as pointing this out, is also quite interesting on the context in which it was displayed (I am going to gripe a little bit about the book when I finally get round to reviewing it, but one thing it is very good on is the history of poster display, a subject which I’ve never thought about properly before but now possess useful facts about.)

Hugh Casson design for coronation decorations

Hugh Casson, who designed the street decorations (his designs for Shaftesbury Avenue above), took the need for advertising hoardings into account as part of this.  So he asked firms to produce relevant and tasteful posters for display along the route, and the Guinness poster was one of those.  Here it is by Trafalgar Square as the procession passes by.

Coronation crowds with guinness poster

Which makes it seem less of a remarkable marketing coup, and more part of a grand plan of deference.  I wonder what the other posters were like?  I can’t seem to find pictures of any of them.

But the whole shebang is also an excuse for me to post this, which is a label for a Jubilee cider produced just down the road from here.  And it’s of interest to us because it’s been inspired by the designs of Tom Eckersley, specifically his Gillette dogs and Victoria line crowns.  There isn’t enough of that kind of inspiration going on if you ask me.

Jubilee cider label

It’s also very appropriate for yet another celebration.  Mr Crownfolio and I bought a pub yesterday.  Well an ex-pub, but it was one for a few hundred years.  So I suspect there’s quite a bit of cider been spilt on those floors before now.  Cheers.


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Not here

I’ve tried to write a sensible blog post today, I really have, but my brain just isn’t co-operating.  So my thoughts on Catherine Flood’s British Posters: Advertising, Art and Activism will have to wait for another day. When I might actually have some thoughts to relate.

So I was just going to give you a poster of a cat by way of apology.

A poster of a cat about which I can remember nothing at all

But I can actually do a bit better than that.  Because the Brighton Design Archives have been putting up some of their holdings on Flickr, and they tweeted the other day that set of Henrion’s work had just gone up.  And so it has.

Henrion vintage poster worldwar two 1941

It’s only a small set, but it provides a neat overview of Henrion’s career, beginning with wartime posters and illustration work.

Henrion Harpers Bazaar cover 1941

As the decade moves on, the poster is no longer king and the designs that Henrion produces are increasingly part of a whole corporate identity.

F H K Henrion ‘Taylor Woodrow built this airport’, 1955. Poster artwork showing Henrion’s characteristic wire-frame model.

Coincidentally, the set is in fact illustrating one of the arguments in the poster book, that only a very few designers in the 1950s remained poster artists, while many more set up companies and set about creating corporate brands instead.

F H K Henrion ‘Penguins’, part of a range of work for the publisher in the 1960s, including a number of book covers.

A point that is very true of Henrion.

 Examples of London Electricity Board corporate identity work by Henrion. 1970

The illustrations are all informatively captioned, and it’s well worth going to look at the set yourself.  I learned two things, one is that Henrion designed this famous CND poster.  (I knew the poster very well, just had no idea that it was his)

‘Stop Nuclear Suicide’, a poster for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, 1960,  F H K Henrion

The other is that there is apparently one of those petite design books out about Henrion.  Has anyone read it?  Is it any good?  Shall I buy it? If you want to know more about him for free, though, there is a fine interview from Blueprint in 1986, which is here.

Meanwhile a normal service will resume later this week when I hope to have my brain back and working.

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Lofty finds

Mr Crownfolio and I are about to put an offer in on a house without an attic.  This is quite annoying, because it rather ruins our chances of finding a fantastic cache of posters in there.  After the recent set of coach posters, another seller on eBay is profiting from their attic.  Only this time it’s school prints.

Michael Rothenstein school print tree felling from eBay

And we didn’t win a single one of them.

school print Barbara Jones fairground yard from eBay

Grrr. Full list here if you’re interested.  I reckon he’s made a good thousand pounds out of them already, and there is one more still to go too – this John Nash which is around until 7pm this evening, so be quick.

John Nash school print from Ebay

Apart from that little treasure trove, eBay is fairly quiet at the moment.  Star exhibit is this World War Two Home Front poster, which is I think quite rare, and also only hanging around until early this evening.

Keep it Under Your Hat vintage world war two propaganda poster

I particularly like the mice holding it flat at the top.  A different seller in the United States has a whole selection of various British Home Front posters for sale, of which the most interesting is probably this one.

Vintage world war two propaganda poster house bombing

The seller has called themselves ‘valuable _books_and_ephemera’ which is pretty much asking me to pick a fight with their prices.  The one above is only slightly steep at £49, but the more evocative, if less graphically appealing images like the one below, are on offer for a rather eye-watering £250-ish.

Vintage world war two propaganda poster evacuation reminder

Thank you Mr Valuable, but no thank you.

Also profoundly over-priced is this National Savings poster, which even considering that institution’s track record in producing things I don’t want to look at, is pretty grim.  And yet on a Buy It Now at £70.

vintage 1950s National Savings poster of some horridness

While I’m here, an interesting digression, pointed out to me by regular James Manning.

McKnight Kauffer Daily Herald original birds artwork

That’s the original artwork for McKnight Kauffer’s famous Daily Herald poster, and it went for a whopping €33,500 at an auction in Amsterdam last week.  I wonder who bought it? A museum I hope, it certainly deserves to be in one.

And in the meantime, if any of you have an attic that needs clearing, I’d be only to happy to oblige.

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Krol to be kind

We bought this quite a while ago, but only recently got round to photographing it.

Stan Krol vintage GPO poster March 1966 TV and radio licensing

It’s by Stan Krol, and thanks to the BMPA and their lovely online catalogue I can tell you that it’s from March 1966.  A date that slightly surprised me as I would have had it down as late 1950s had I been asked.  And when I look at the catalogue closely, this poster is sandwiched in between lots of other 1950s posters so I am wondering whether this might be a typo.  I will ask them.

What I can’t tell you and don’t know, however, is much about Stan Krol himself.  I’ve been trying to research him for the last week or two and it’s been a useful lesson in two ways.  One is that sometimes it really isn’t possible to find out much other than that someone once designed posters and was born in 1910, the one biographical fact I do have about him.  The other is that not all designers from the past are in fact undiscovered geniuses.  Which isn’t to say that Stan Krol is a bad designer at all, he did some great stuff, like this poster for the Post Office Savings Bank from 1960, when Krol was already turning 50.

Stan Krol vintage Post Office Savings Bank poster 1960

In fact it’s the BPMA archive that can tell me the most about Krol’s career.  He started working for them in the late 1940s, which is when these two usefully informative internal posters come from.

Staff information poster for Telegraph engineers; featuring a telegraph pole. Also included is a proof of this poster, with artist's details on the back. Artist: Krol, Stan.  Printer: Waterlow & Sons Ltd.

Poster explaining the correct procedure for removing manhole covers; featuring a picture of a manhole cover. Artist: Krol, Stan.  Printer: Fosh & Cross Ltd. Vintage GPO poster

He carries on working for them throughout the 1950s.

Stan Krol vintage GPO poster 1950

stan Krol 1956 vintage GPO postal order poster

He carried on throughout the 1960s as well.

Stan Krol vintage Post Office Savings Bank poster 1960

Stan Krol vintage GPO recruitment poste 1962

He was even producing posters for them as late as 1971.

Stan Krol vintage national savings bank poster 1971 decimalisation

When you lay out all of his GPO stuff like that, it’s not a bad selection of work.  But what’s strange is both how little he seems to have done for other people, and how that mostly wasn’t as good.  This, for example, is one of just two posters he did for London Transport.

Stan Krol vintage London Transport poster anniversaries 1966

He also did a fairly standard blue skies BOAC poster at some point, which does make me think of peeling a banana.

Stan Krol vintage BOAC poster 1950s

Along with a United National poster in a similar style

stan Krol vintage poster United Nations

But he was still capable of some surprises too.  I like this ROSPA poster from 1971 more than most people would simply because it has a black cat on it.

Stan Krol vintage ROSPA safety poster 1971

But the two coach posters that I’ve seen of his – both from the 1960s are just plain great.

Stan Krol Morecambe beauty contest vintage coach poster 1967

Stan Krol vintage Bridlington poster 1967 coach poster

Both of these are courtesy of Fears and Kahn; the Morecambe bathing beauties have sadly sold, but Bridlington is still there if it has taken your fancy.

Now that I’ve laid Krol’s work end to end along the blog, I like it a lot more than I did when I began.  He fitted his style to the times very well, a particularly impressive feat when you consider that he was producing his last posters when he was in his 60s.  Yes, he may not be an undiscovered genius, but he was a very good working designer.  And they need celebrating as well.

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D I Y Barbara Jones

Barbara Jones is becoming increasingly collectable.  At least that’s the message I’m getting from eBay.  We recently watched a whole collection of BBC schools booklets go past; most went for one or two pounds if they sold at all.  The one exception was this.

Barbara Jones BBC Time and Tune booklet 1960

By Barbara Jones, it sold for £21.50.

All of which preamble is mainly so I can convey my pleasure at getting this for just one squid.

Barbara Jones Woodentops colouring book front cover

It pretty much had to be by Barbara Jones given how similar it is to her Woodentops book, but it also does us the favour of saying so inside.

Barbara Jones woodentops colouring book inside front page

Most of the pages inside have been coloured in – I was going to say sadly, but it isn’t really, it’s just the book being used as it was meant to be.  One or two were missed though, so you can get an idea of what the drawings are like.

Barbara Jones Woodentops colouring book skipping

Leafing through it, I am struck by what hardworking farmers the Woodentop family are.  They haul the hay in with just a horse-drawn cart, collect eggs and get up early for the milking.

Barbara Jones Woodentops colouring book milking picture

All of which would have been quite normal then, but seems like a long-lost rural idyll from the vantage point of today.  And now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some colouring-in to do.

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