Owl Saving Time

I did promise some more Daphne Padden posters in due course, so, now that I have managed to produce some reasonable photographs, here goes.  One day I will discover thousands of pounds in my purse and pop out to buy an AO scanner, but until then, you’ll just have to make do with these.

To start, this is a rather eclectic selection, mainly because I haven’t seen any of these before now and it’s good to get them out into the world.

The GPO one is quite straightforward – and rather sweet – although I can’t find it in the BPMA’s catalogue.

Daphne Padden GPO vintage valentine telegram poster

The same is true of the ROSPA seat belt poster.  (I distinctly remember having seatbelts very much like this, and I suspect the poster is just the right vintage for this to be true!)

Daphne Padden ROSPA seat belts for children poster

But I can’t tell you the first thing about the Carlton Restaurant, other than that I rather like both their colour scheme and the look of their breakfasts.

Daphne Padden Carlton Restaurant poster

Any ideas?  I think this art work may have been for them as well, simply from the colours and the crockery.

Toby jug artwork Daphne Padden

All of these posters came from the sale of Daphne Padden’s work after her death, and sadly came with nothing that might identify them or what they were for.  I don’t even know whether they were ones she particularly liked, or simply ones that had survived.  So if anyone can tell me anything more, I’d love to know.

Also among them were a whole pile of Post Office Savings Bank posters, including this rather lovely pair promising you fairy-tale endings if only you’d save.

Daphne Padden Post Office Savings Bank Knight poster

fairy Daphne Padden post office savings bank poster

There are also some rather fine animals.  I posted the rabbits last week, but the owls also get a starring role on their own.

Post Office Savings Bank poster owl and rabbits Daphne Padden

Daphne Padden poster owls Post office savings bank

These I can at least make a stab towards dating.  The Post Office Savings Bank turned into the National Savings Bank in 1969, and Padden did posters for both of them in very similar styles and even colour schemes.

Daphne Padden National Savings Bank farmer poster

So I am guessing that the vast majority of these date from the second half of the 1960s, and perhaps the very early 1970s.

This one, though, feels a bit earlier and is probably my favourite.

Daphne Padden Post Office Savings Bank poster child and butcher

That’s not all, either.  Next time I’ll post the slightly more familiar, but still wonderful coach posters.

But before then, a couple of footnotes.  One is that there’s quite a bit of confusion out there between Daphne Padden and her father, Percy, who also designed posters.  If you go through Christies’ past lots, quite a few of them are ascribed simply to ‘Padden’, while this poster is sold as being by Daphne.

Percy padden White Star vintage poster

Which, given that she was born in 1927 and this poster is most likely earlier than that, seems implausible.  But they’re not the only ones to make the mistake.  The NMSI also ascribe this one to her (an error which probably goes back to Science and Society photo library cataloguing).

Dovercourt Bay Percy Padden poster railways

They date it to 1941, but I would have thought it more likely 1930s.  Even in 1941, though, Daphne would only have been 14, so again, I think it’s most probably her father’s.  There’s a nice tranche of work for someone in attributing out their posters one day, if anyone out there fancies taking it on.

On a more personal note, when the posters were sold, it was sad to see some sentimental items in with them.  Here’s her father, in a self-portrait done when he was younger.

PErcy Padden self portrait

And here’s his portrait of Daphne in 1940.

Daphne Padden oil portrait by Percy Padden

I do hope the pictures went to someone who knew who they were.

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Artist and Balloonist

Last time I posted about Royston Cooper, I was shocked just how little it was possible to find out about him.  To the tune of nothing.  Christies could give me his dates, but that was about it.

Royston Cooper bus tour posters from Morphets

But, his widow, Marie, got in contact with the blog to say thank you for mentioning him.  I asked her to write something about him, so that the next person to search would at least do better than I had.

Owl mystery tours coach poster Royston Cooper

And she has, for which I am very grateful.

Royston Cooper 1931-1985 Designer/artist/painter/typographer.

Commissioned to design posters/prints/decorative drawings/brochures/annual reports/packaging/restaurant decor for major companies in UK and Europe. Always with a new approach.

Jovial character. Studio of 23 years in Belsize Park, London NW3.  Popular meeting place for clients and artists alike.

Also Balloonist flying his own balloon ‘Sunny Money’ G-BDBI in UK/France/Belgium/Germany/Sweden/Gordon Bennett races in the U.S.

I rather like the sound of him from that.

Royston Cooper giraffe coach poster from Morphets

Since I first wrote, Artist Partners have also put up a slightly more formal CV for him, which is great.  I’m really pleased that his life is now being recognised in proportion to the wonderfulness of the work.

Air Coach poster Royston Cooper

All the images, incidentally, are Royston Cooper posters which are on sale at Morphets in a few weeks time, and I’ve chosen only ones I’ve never seen before.  Don’t eat them all at once.

Two coach posters by Royston Cooper from Morphets

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And now for something completely different

It’s very easy to reconstruct the past through the sensibilities of today.  We go back through the copies of Graphis and Modern Publicity, wade through the posters and the magazines that remain, only picking out the things that chime with us now.  And so we put together a story about the fifties which is about how a friendly kind of modernism finally caught hold in Britain.  But that’s not the whole story, just one thread out of the many different styles and designs that were going on at the time.

And why, you may ask, am I being told this once more?  It’s because I’ve found this website, a lovely tour round the work of illustrator Norman Weaver, put together by his daughter.

Norman Weaver Rowntrees fruit gums advertisement

The website would be worth a visit for Weaver’s biography alone, which includes training as a cabinet-maker for Heals, being General Eisenhower’s personal map-maker during the war, becomng an official photographer during the aftermath of the concentration camps and finally settling down to a career as a a still life artist.  And he worked with Beverley Pick for a while too, creating giant murals for the Festival of Britain.  It’s enough for five lives, and well worth a read.

Norman Weaver Heinz advertisements

But the other reason to take a look is that Weaver’s work is important.  If you flip through any magazine of the period (and I can speak with some authority here, having been required to read both Woman and Woman and Home right through from 1949-1963 in my time) they are full of these kinds of slightly hyper-realistic illustrated advertising.  And Weaver was one of the very best exponents of this style.

Norman Weaver Smedleys advertisement

He was represented by Artist Partners, and like many illustrators of the period did a lot more than just advertising.  There are some very recognisable book jackets too.

Norman Weaver book cover for the spoilers

As well as some beautiful wildlife illustrations – these were for a Sunday Times article about wildlife returning to London.

Norman Weaver London wildlife

But it’s still the commercial and advertising drawings that are the most compelling for me.

Norman Weaver Afamal advertisement

I think that’s because they tell another one of the really important stories of the time.  While the architects and the designers were all busy embracing Scande-lite modernism, with its wide plains of wooden floors and less is more ethos, for an awful lot of people the opposite was true.  More was very definitely more.

Norman Weaver mackintosh food ad

The rising tide of consumer goods in the years after the war must have seemed almost impossibly abundant after rationing, utility and bombs, a time at last of fridges, colour and as much food as you could want to eat.

Weaver’s drawings celebrate this bounty in all of its vibrant, glistening detail.

Norman Weaver sweet wrappers

It’s impossible not to look at the past through the lens of the present, and I know that one of the reasons I like these illustrations is the fantastic colour and optimism – the latter in particular isn’t something you often find in modern design.

Norman Weaver Cadburys Dairy Milk

So all I’m really doing is telling another, slightly different story about what things looked like fifty or sixty years ago, it’s not any closer to the truth than any other.  But it’s a start.

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It’s the economy, stupid

At least that’s my theory. I can’t account for the Onslows’s sale otherwise.  More posters than usual didn’t sell, or didn’t make their reserves, and very few indeed made more than their estimate.  It seems that after two weeks of hearing about nothing but austerity budgets and cost-cutting across the board, everyone is now too frightened to spend money on posters.

There were a few honourable exceptions.  This World War Two poster reached £420, from an original estimate of £100-150.

Lend a Hand on the Land WW2 poster fron onslows

I don’t quite know why; plenty of other wartime posters didn’t sell that well, or at all, and it’s not even a particular design classic – I prefer the idea of the Londoner’s Land Club (which I would join in a flash if it still existed) to the actual poster itself.

A few other categories did well – Munich Olympics posters, and a smattering of French things and old things that I can’t get too excited about.  This Frank Sherwin poster also went for £20 over its £600 high estimate.

Frank Sherwin Redcar British Railway poster from Onslows

But many classic railway posters weren’t as popular as they might have been.  Lots of Terence Cuneos and landscape Quad Royals were passed over.  As was this delightful chap, from Studio Seven.

Studio Seven British railways Dogs Need Tickets too poster 1957 Onslows

I’d have thought him irresistable, but not even cute can sell in a recession it seems.

Mind you, I can see why there might be a shortage of buyers here.  After Morphets and Bloomsbury’s big railway poster sale in New York, I imagine quite a few collectors may have spent over their annual budget already.  Or they may just have auction fatigue.  I’m getting quite close to it, and I’ve hardly bought anything.

There were some exceptions to the general trend though.  The Shell Educational Posters all did well, almost all of them selling at their £50-70 estimates.

Shell Guide to Sussex poster Rowland Hilder from Onslows

Which is possibly surprising, because the set on eBay which I blogged about recently, have almost entirely failed to sell for £60 each.  (Should you fancy a bargain, they’re now coming round again at a more enticing £39.99 each.)

Other than that, the strange rule of the poster world was once again proven, which is that original artworks are less valuable than the mass-produced reproductions that sprang from them.  (Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Mr Benjamin).  There were a whole set – nine in total – of Frank Newbould railway safety posters.  Each one paired the poster with the artwork and one or more original design treatments.

Frank Newbould Railway safety posters with original design onslows

You’d have thought it would be a museum or a collector’s dream; but none of them made their £150-200 estimate, and a few failed to sell altogether.  I’d love to know where they came from.

Also of interest is that a selection of 1960s London Underground posters (like this 1963 Frank Dobson) almost entirely went for £55-60 each.

Frank Dobson bus tour poster for London Transport 1963

Which perhaps makes the estimates at the Morphets sale look more reasonable, a thought which quite perks me up.  Perhaps I’d better go and order that truck then…

But if you fancy buying any posters in the meantime, Onslows will consider offers on any of the unsold lots, so take a look, there may be a bargain or two to be had.

Disclaimer:  this is an entirely personal view and has probably missed lots of interesting prices out.  Please feel free to point them out, or to suggest any other theories you may have about why auctions and prices are as they are.

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Starting Small

I did promise some more Daphne Padden a couple of weeks ago, but there is a vast mound of posters to photograph (forty or more, not counting the duplicates) and with all the windows open for a breeze to stop my brain boiling in the heat, it’s not the easiest job right now.

So, as a starter, here are some small things, but ones that you might not have seen before.  (One or two of them might make it onto eBay in the next week or two, as we do now have quite a bit of her stuff…)

Daphne Padden P&O menu from estate sale

I’m guessing that this is another menu for P&O, but I can’t say for sure as it’s blank inside.  There is also a rather delightful trident-load of little birds on the back.

Daphne Padden menu birds on trident from back

Then there’s a BOAC children’s menu.

Daphne Padden BOAC children's menu

I don’t know when this was done, but the food police weren’t too much in evidence then; the menu includes chocolate biscuits, preserves and Madeira cake, but no mention of vegetables at all.

This equatorial certificate was for BOAC as well.

Daphne Padden BOAC equator certificate

She clearly liked all three of these designs, as they’d been framed for display and kept that way.

Finally, there’s a jigsaw for Nestle.  My guess would be that this came with a box of chocolates or biscuits.

Daphne Padden, Nestle animal jigsaw

The lions are particularly fine – and there will be plenty more animals when I do get round to photographing the posters properly.  Here’s an owl and four rabbits to whet your appetite until then.

Daphne Padden National Savings Poster

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The return of Mr Huveneers

Mike Ashworth, whose Flickr stream brought us the wonderful lost posters of Notting Hill Gate, is clearly a man with much design ephemera to his name.  He very kindly sent me a link to this – a wonderful brochure cover by Pieter Huveneers from 1956.

PIeter Huveneers LM party brochure cover 1956

Now I blogged about Pieter Huveneers a while back, trying to find out discover whether the British designer of the 1950s then became the Australian corporate design guru of the 60s and 70s.  I had one enigmatic reply which said that this was the same person, but no more information than that.  Still, it’s good to know that he didn’t just disappear.  And it does give me an excuse to post this, which I love.

Pieter Huveneers vintage poster June Dairy Week

It’s a 10″ x 15″, and while Google has taught me that the June Dairy Festival was a big and regular do in the 50s, I still don’t really know what it was, or what the postie had to do with it.  So, once again, any information would be gratefully received.

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