Do Your Christmas Shopping Now

Last year saw the Quad Royal Advent Calendar, a festive poster for each of the 24 days.  Unsurprisingly, most of the posters came from the GPO, the institution most keen that  you should get your act together before Christmas.  So keen, in fact, that not even an entire advent calendar could do justice to the quantity and quality they produced.

So, every so often before Christmas, I am going to have a festive wallow in the BPMA archive: because it’s Christmas, because I can, and because there are so many wonderful posters to be seen.

Post Early vintage Barnett Freedman poster GPO 1937

Today’s set come from Barnett Freedman, who was improvising around a theme in 1937 and 1938.

Barnett Freedman vintage GPO poster 1937 Christmas Shopping

Barnett Freedman vintage GPO poster 1938 Shop Now

I particularly like the peremptoriness of this pair, but they are all beautiful.

Barnett Freedman vintage GPO poster 1937 Post Early

Although Barnett Freedman was definitely a poster designer (producing well over 30 for London Transport alone), I never really think of him as one.  I think that’s probably because the detail of his typography and design is always worthy of a closer look rather than the quick glance a big poster might only get.

But that’s why these four work so well. They’re little Crown Folios, designed for display at the counter, so people would have had plenty of time to look at them as they queued for their stamps.  I did that last week; there wasn’t a single thing as nice as these anywhere to be seen.

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Far Away

I have been ill this week and am still not quite up to writing cogent sentences about anything that I said I would.  So apologies for the gap in service, but I can offer you something very nice to look at instead.

Motif 4 vintage graphics Hans Unger in Africa

This is Motif 4.  Hans Unger has been travelling in Africa.  Here’s the back cover too.

Motif 4 vintage graphic magazine rear cover Hans Unger

The covers are perhaps the best thing about this very lovely magazine.  But there is more inside too.

Motif 4 vintage graphic magazine Hans Unger illustration


Perhaps not quite what you’d expect from him, but still rather good I think.

Motif 4 vintage graphic magazine illustration Hans UngerMotif 4 vintage graphic magazine illustration Hans Unger

Normal posting will, I hope, be resumed next week.


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Guinness Time

There’s not a great deal I can say about this.  It’s by Tom Eckersley and is from 1970.

Tom Eckersley Guinness Time cover 1970

The magazine is the Guinness in house magazine, and unless you want to see pictures of Edward Heath drinking Guinness and find out more about the Suggestions Awards, the contents are not enthralling.  So here’s the back.

Guinness Time cover reverse Eckersley

A slight departure from his usual minimalism and so good to see.  And, er, that’s it.

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Shop Early Post Early

Apologies in advance if this post ends up being a bit like the parish newsletter today, but there are a few things I’d to tell you about, even though they aren’t entirely related.  So bear with me, and the flower rota will be at the end.

Firstly and also excitingly, the BPMA have also got in contact with Pieter Huveneers, and he is going to answer some questions on their blog in January.  So if there’s anything you’d like to ask him about poster design, the GPO or being a design guru in Australia, now is your chance.  All the details are on their blog.

Huveneers vintage GPO poster artwork 1952

The artwork above with the bite taken out of it is from their collections, as is the poster below.

Huveneers vintage television licence GPO poster 1953

This is of course a poster announcing the arrival of a medium – television – which would in the end kill the poster itself stone dead.  Still, Huveneers wasn’t to know.

While I’m on the subject of the BPMA, they are once again selling lovely poster Christmas cards, including this lovely Hass.

Derek Hass 1950s vintage GPO post early shop early poster. gotta love it

But there are a whole range of designs, quite a few of which have already featured on Quad Royal before now, and you may find them here.

Most of the rest of our parish consists, as ever, of eBay.  In summary, there are some nice posters out there; however people mostly want rather larger sums of money for them than we – along with I suspect most of the rest of the parishioners – are prepared to pay.  With that in mind, here’s the best of the bunch.

Dorrit Dekk vintage London Transport poster Londoners

Your starter is a lovely Dorrit Dekk, mounted on linen too.  Starting price, £224-ish (it’s in America), although it doesn’t deserve that on the grounds of the foreshortened photography alone.

Another photography award goes to the seller of this Pye Radio poster, who has managed to photograph it looking like a giant billboard on the A4.

Pye Radio vintage poster

It is in fact only 74cm long, which probably also means that £49.99 is a fairly optimistic valuation.

Vintage guinness poster r peppe hat 1962

Guinness Evening news

All of which means that when both the above Guinness posters start at a slightly more reasonable £99, I am pleasantly surprised.  The top one is, I think, by R Peppe and dates from 1962, although the listing doesn’t tell you any of that.  The other one I have never seen before in my life, and all I can find out is that it might be by someone called E Hanna, so if anyone can enlighten me further about it, please do.  Rather good, though, don’t you think?

Cheaper, and possibly even more fantastic still, are these two Australian emigration posters.

Vintage Australia emigration poster

Vintage australian emigration poster

The listing (which in turn wins a prize for being one of the longest I have ever encountered) describes them as being possibly the work of Douglas Annand.  A brief trawl through google leaves me unconvinced, but he did do this poster.

Douglas Annand vintage P&O poster 1950s australia

And also these rather great P&O Menu cards too (via this Australian blog).

Douglas Annand vintage P&O menus

Regardless of whether he did those other two posters, they are very still good.  Even better, both auctions started at a thoroughly reasonable £9.99, but with bids already in I am expecting them to go higher.

Digression over, I can also tell you that it is possible to buy expensive posters in places other than eBay.

Vintage GPO properly packed parcels please poster 1966.

This GPO poster is up for auction by Poster Auctions International with an estimate of $400-600.  I’m usually quite fond of this series of posters, but this one has to be one of the least appealing.  So have this one as a palate cleanser instead.

Properly Packed Parcels Please Tom Bund poster 1967

There that’s better, isn’t it.  All that remains a reminder that the Church Christmas Fair is this Saturday and Holy Communion is at the usual time of 11.30 on Sunday.  See you all then.

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Posters past

A while ago I posted, as did many other people, about the ghost posters of Notting Hill Gate, thanks to the wonderful photos taken by Mike Ashworth.

wide of disused passageway Notting Hill Gate tube station

In the late 1950s, this tunnel, which ran between different lines at Notting Hill Gate tube station, was replaced by escalators and sealed up.  What remained there for more than 60 years was a fantastic set of posters, a glimpse into what was really being advertised at the time.

Old posters in disused passageway at Notting Hill Gate tube station, 2010

What’s particularly fascinating is that they’re not all good.  Of course there are some classics like Daphne Padden’s poster for Royal Blue coaches, but some of them are frankly quite average.  Dial FLE 5000 for the Evening News.

The reason I’m reminding you about this is that a similar set of posters – only this time not stuck to any walls – have just been sold on eBay.  There are seven of them, and it really does look like the contents of a pile given to the poster hangers at the start of the day.

Harry Stevens Boulogne vintage travel poster 1959

British Railways book holiday travel poster 1959

Once again, there are some lovely pieces of design – my favourite is probably this Victor Galbraith image.

Victor Galbraith vintage 1959 sport travel poster

The LT Museum dates that to 1959, and my guess is that they are all from about the same period.

So far, all so wonderful, but there are also some decidedly average ones.

Mechanical Handling Exhibition Earls Court May

Some which can only be described as looking  like newspaper ads magnified.

Atlas van vintage advertising poster 1959

Along with a couple which aren’t even that interesting.

London TRansport vintage evening news advertising poster

I have no idea where the set  have come from, but I’m going to ask, so if I find out more I will let you know.

But they’re not just interesting as a cross-section, they also tell me, at least, something new.

Lt Copes advertising poster

All of these posters are 20″ x 30″, so Double Crown size, which was the standard advertising format of the period (if you want a full explanation of imperial poster sizes, Tom Eckersley will be your guide)  Which is what you’d probably expect, given that, just like today, all kinds of companies advertised on the Tube network.

But two of the posters are for institutions – British Railways and London Transport – who usually used the 40″ x 25″ Double Royal poster for their advertising.  That’s the size that posters on railway stations and on the outside of Tube stations always were, and that’s the size that most railway and London Transport posters are when they survive – take a look at any auction if you don’t believe me.

Except here we have two posters, one for the railways and one for London Transport itself, which don’t fit that format and instead have been designed to sit amongst all the other commercial advertising.  Which surprised me, as I’d never really thought that they ever produced posters in this format.

Of course it makes complete sense when you do think about it, especially for London Transport who must have printed at least some Double Crown posters just to fill in any gaps which appeared in their commercial advertising spaces.  Victor Galbraith’s elephant is probably doing that job on the tunnel walls above.

Victor Galbraith Party Travel London Transport poster 1958

And even a cursory search on his name in the London Transport Museum archives produces other designs in a Double Crown size too, so while they might have been uncommon, they weren’t entirely unusual.  Here’s another one from 1959.

Victor Galbraith rush hour poster vintage London Transport 1959

But that BR and London Transport produced these posters  is also not surprising because this point, the late 1950s, is the final heyday of the poster.  This was an advertising medium of such importance that even British Railways, with its own poster sites in its own poster sizes, couldn’t afford not to be part of it.  This wouldn’t last though, within a few years commercial television would have ended the dominance of the poster forever.

My Victor Galbraith search also brings up this wonderful bird, who is a Double Royal this time.

Galbraith vintage London Transport poste r1958

I wonder how the decisions were made as to which posters were chosen for which sizes.  That, like so many other things, is something to find out more about one of these days. Unless there’s someone out there who knows already.

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So, time for another attempt at reaching the summit of the Onslows auction.  There was certainly a fair amount left out of my last post.  Not least this Lander poster, which I am contractually obliged to reproduce on the blog once every few months.

Lander (Eric dates unknown) The English Lakes, original poster printed for BR(LMR) by Waterlow
Eric Lander, est. £700-1,000

This time it gets in because of the rather juicy estimate.  Perhaps Lander is now becoming the new Tom Eckersley, perhaps everyone wants their sitting-room to look just like mine.  Who can tell.

Elsewhere, there is also this McKnight Kauffer, which is interesting because it’s not one which comes up very often in auctions or in books, and is also very fine in its Bloomsbury-ish kind of way.

E McKnight Kauffer (1890-1954) Now the pine-tree's waving top, original poster printed for London Transport by Vincent Brooks Day 1932
McKnight Kauffer, 1932, est. £200-300

It has a pair, or companion too.

E McKnight Kauffer (1890-1954) Look under the broad beech tree !, original poster printed for London Transport by Vincent Brooks Day 1932
McKnight Kauffer, 1932, est. £200-300

There are a couple of other unexpected London Transport productions as well, like this poster celebrating London’s Statues (which I assume was once one half of a pair poster).

George Chapman Statues, original poster printed for London Transport by W&S 1955 - 102 x 63 cm
George Chapman, 1955, est. £100-150.

I’ll be interested to see what that goes for, at least in comparison to the Henrion.  They both have the same estimate, but there’s no doubt in my mind that the Henrion is a much better poster, even if it is slightly un-nerving to live with.  Am I right though?  There’s only one way to find out…

I also like this little Herry Perry too.

Heather (Herry)Perry (1993-1962) Dining Out Your Car original vintage poster printed for Green Line 1934
Herry Perry, 1934, est. £100-150.

While this Hans Unger is, I know, a railway poster, it feels more as though it belongs with this batch instead.

Hans Unger (1915-1975) Starlight Special, original poster printed for British Transport Commission by Waterlow 1960
Hans Unger, 1960, est. £70-100

Unger also designed this undated Ideal Home poster.

Hans Unger (1915-1975) Daily Mail Ideal Home Exhibition Olympia, original poster printed by S H Benson
Hans Unger, est £50-100

But the main category which was left out of last week’s post is World War Two posters.  As usual with Onslows, there is a good selection up for auction (there are also a smattering of First World War ones in there too but I can’t warm to them I’m afraid).

Probably the best-known of them is this Abram Games design.

Abram Games your britain fight for it now vintage WW2 poster 1942
Abram Games, 1942, est £700-1,000

‘Your Britain – Fight For It Now’ is one of the most famous series of posters produced during World War Two, and are worthy of a blog post all to themselves one of these days, because their fame and constant reproduction gives a slightly misleading view of British propaganda during the war.  But that’s another story for another day.

They also have an air of glamour about them for having been banned, as the Onslows catalogue relates:

Along with two other similar posters by Games this poster design was criticised by the War Office and withdrawn after initial distribution to the Army and display at the Harrod’s poster exhibition . This is a rare poster and is the only copy we have offered for sale.

Now I had always been under the impression (and have posted accordingly on here) that it was only one of Games three posters, that of Finsbury Health Centre below, which had been banned.

Abram Games abca Finsbury Health Centre rickets vintage ww2 poster

Allegedly Churchill objected to the portrayal of the child with rickets, calling it libellous on the state of Britain and insulting to the serving serviceman to say that these were the conditions prevailing in his home country.

But I might be wrong, so please do get in touch if you can clear this up one way or the other.

There are also a nice selection of Dig for Victory posters.  This, my favourite, comes up twice.

Norman Wilkinson vintage dig for victory poster 1940
Norman Wilson, 1940, est £200-300

So there’s no excuse for not having a copy.  Imagine how enticing that cornucopia of vegetables must have looked while almost everthing else was rationed.

I’m sure there are plenty more posters I should have included in here, but I’ve nearly exploded my brain just getting this far.  So if you’ve got anything to add, the comment box is below and I’d love to hear about it.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to lie down.

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