Open wide please

I don’t have time to write complicated posts at the moment, and now I can’t even manage to write the easy post I was going to do because that’s turned all complicated too.  So instead, have these.

1950s dental poster on eBay by Montague Reed

There’s three of them, they’re on eBay (currently and inexplicably with no bids at all) and I think they’re rather lovely.  They’re by Montague Reed, about whom I know nothing at all (and, because he shares his name with a firm of accountants in Bagshot, is almost impossible to Google sensibly).  Has anyone else come across him?

1950s dental poster on eBay by Montague Reed

But Mr Crownfolio says, quite rightly, that we’d never put them up and so why would we buy them?

1950s dental poster on eBay by Montague Reed

He’s right, of course.  Although that still doesn’t explain the other three hundred posters that aren’t on the wall either.

But you could have a go.  As the listing says, why buy a reproduction bit of 50s kitch, when you could have the real thing?

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Sold and unsold

Right, it’s eBay Watch time once more.  I do this so often that I feel as though it should have its own logo.  I shall work on that when I get a moment.

Your starter for ten is that this, surprisingly, didn’t sell.

Barnett Freedman vintage London Transport poster from eBay

There isn’t enough Barnett Freedman in the world, so I would have thought that this would have gone, even with a few flaws and an asking price of £100.  Shows how little I know.

But this did sell, for £23.22.

Studio Seven vintage travel by coach poster

Interestingly, although it’s a Studio Seven classic coach poster, I’m not sure that it came from Morphets, perhaps the sale has brought a few more out of the woodwork.  (We didn’t buy it, incidentally; there’s the small question of what we do with the thirty-odd coach posters that we already have to sort out first…)

I don’t remember either of these from the sale either, so perhaps there is now going to be a boom in coach posters (or a mass unloading, depending on your point of view).

Vintage travel by coach poster by Atkins from eBay

Vintage travel by coach poster by Atkins from eBay

The top one is by Atkins, the bottom by Bigg, but they’re on for £75 and £1oo respectively (although, I have to say, I much prefer the cheaper one, if only for the White Horse on it).

But these ones might have come from the sale.  Perhaps.  Either that or Patlid is a seller who has found a rather good cache of unused posters.

Swanage by Bromfield vintage railway poster

I can of course wish that this fabulous Bromfield would go for the £9.99 that it is currently listed at, but rather doubt that it will.

Meanwhile over on the other side of the Atlantic, MaxReinhold is selling even more Zero London Underground posters from the war.

Zero Hans Schleger world war two poster for london transport

He’s had so many of these now that I can’t really get excited about them any more, although I would be interested to know where they came from.  Perhaps I’ll ask.

Finally, a couple of sixties gems.  This LT poster from 1964 is by Laurence Scarfe and is really rather nice.

Laurence scarfe LT poster from 1964

Although whether I would actually want those mad staring eyes framed and on the wall of my house is another question.  So it might not be the £90 of nice that they are asking for.

And then, from just a few years later, there’s this Alan Aldridge poster for a 1968 event at the Royal Festival Hall.  With The Grateful Dead and John Peel, natch.  It’s already been on Retro to Go, but I thought I’d tell you anyway.

Alan Aldridge Royal Festival Hall poster from eBay

Besides, if you want one, you can almost certainly have one, because the seller seems to have found a whole stock of unused copies.  There are more than ten left, and getting one will set you back just £30.

There is more out there too – mainly a whole slew of railway posters – but those will have to wait until next week.  Or maybe tomorrow.

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Animals on Parade


Dog from Tom Eckersley Animals on Parade 1947

He’s a fine fellow for a Monday morning, isn’t he.  I only wish I felt so well-groomed myself.

You probably won’t be surprised to learn that he’s by Tom Eckersley, and he comes from this:

The book was published in 1947 and is filled with really wonderful illustrations.

So much so that the pictures can really do most of the talking here.  They have to in the book as well, because the text really is infernally dull.

There’s a mix of full-page illustrations like the ones above, with smaller insets as well.  So penguins are available singly or in fives.

Penguin Tom Eckersley Animals on Parade 1947

Penguin line Tom Eckersley Animals on Parade 1947

There are also a couple of very pleasing layouts too.

Springbok layout animals on Parade eckersley

Although the book is post-war, the style very much reminds me of the air-brushed Eckersley/Lombers London Transport posters from the late thirties

Tom Eckersley Eric Lombers vintage London Transport poster

Although these rather lovely fish could almost have come from an Eric Ravilious plate.

What’s also pleasing is that I’m not pointing you at something which is jaw-achingly expensive, although you do have the option of buying it from Sotherans for £138 if you like the pain.  But it’s on Abebooks for between £15 and £20, which makes a pleasant change.

And if the dust jacket is missing, it’s not quite the crying shame it might be for some books.  Because the board covers also feature this lovely cat.

cat board cover Tom Eckersley Animals on Parade

Who might almost have come from this book.  I wonder if the Eckersleys kept cats themselves?

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A life in pieces

Once more, a post around a book, although a bit more tangentially this time.

Mr Crownfolio is reading Electric Eden, a book about British folk music (in the widest sense as it seems to include the god-like genius of Julian Cope as well).  And when he was reading about Fairport Convention, he made a rather surprising discovery, which was that Richard Thompson (a.k.a. Mr British Folk) had, for a year, been Hans Unger’s assistant, making the windows for St Columba’s Roman Catholic Church in Upton-on-Chester sometime in the mid 1960s.  Here’s the church and all of the people.

St Columbas Catholic Church Upton on Chester wide shot

And here’s one of Unger’s windows.

Hans Unger window for St Columba's Chester

Now quite apart from the unsuspected folk/Hans Unger overlap, my surprise was also because I had no idea that Unger made stained glass.  He did do a lot of wonderful posters.  The best known are for London Underground, like this fishy gem from 1956.

Hans Unger London Transport poster 1956

I’m also rather fond of this little GPO one from 1954.  Apparently this format was designed to be displayed in telephone boxes.

Hans Unger TV licence GPO poster 1954

These later (1962/1967) GPO ones were up at the most recent Morphets sale, and prove that his style evolved a great deal over the decades.

Hans Unger Post Early 1962 GPO Christmas poster

Hans Unger 1967 GPO Post Early Christmas poster

But perhaps I shouldn’t be amazed about the stained glass, because at the same time that he was producing the GPO posters, Unger also did a number of mosaic posters for London Underground,.  And mosaic is, after all, just a different way of making patterns with glass.

Hans Unger guard mosaic poster for London Transport 1962

Hans Unger Mosaic bus poster London Transport 1970

What’s interesting about these, is that they are jointly signed by Hans Unger and Eberhard Schulze.  Once again, it’s Richard Thompson who can tell us a bit more.

Hans was a terrific designer, who made some memorable posters for London Transport, amongst other things. He took his own life in the late 70s. I believe his partner, Eberhard Schultz, went back to Germany.

A sad ending.  But before that happened, it seems that they were very productive together.  Here’s St Stephen’s Astley, a Manchester church which was consecrated in 1968.

Unger Schulze St Stephens Astley window

Unger Schulze St Stephens Astley

And the chapel of the Rochdale Pallottine Convent.

But the stained glass was clearly a sideline in comparison to their main work in mosaics.  Here’s a mosaic for UNICEF,

Unicef Mosaic Unger Schulze

and a 1964 Christmas card for the BBC.

Unger Schulze 1964 Christmas Card for BBC

How about a mosaic of Elvis?

Unger Schulze Elvis mosaic

And this is just a tiny sample of what they produced together (there is a huge archive here if you want to take a look for yourself).  Their partnership became very well known, and their smaller works were apparently much in demand by collectors.  Here they are working together in about 1964.

And here is Unger being presented to the Queen with some great piece in the background.

He looks rather worried really.

So, a whole side of Hans Unger’s life and work that I had no idea about.  But there’s a rather odd coda too.  Sadly, soon after Unger’s death, Eberhard Schulze injured his back and had to give up mosaics.  But he clearly wasn’t someone who relished early retirement.

He went on to develop a successful career as a specialist aquarist, becoming England’s leading discus fish breeder and even carried out aquarium installations for the rich and famous, such as the Saudi Royal Family and the Sultan of Brunei. He now lives in Nonthaburi in Thailand.

If anyone can add to this, I’d love to hear from you, as I feel rather as though I’ve only just scratched the surface of the subject here.  And also, if anyone can explain why all these new churches were being built in the north, I’d also love to know.

And if you’re inspired enough to want to buy one for yourself, Martin Steenson at Books and Things has this Unger/Schulze fish poster for sale for just £30.

Unger Schulze London Transport poster fish

It’s a bit battered, but still lovely.

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I don’t know why I didn’t include this in Friday’s post.

Henrion Day View Television poster early 50s

It’s a recent acquisition, and it’s by

Henrion signature from KB television poster

It had only arrived earlier in the week too, so there really is no excuse.  Except perhaps for the fact that it doesn’t look, to my knowledge, anything like any other poster he did, so I forgot it was by him.  In fact, as Mr Crownfolio pointed out, it doesn’t look much like an English poster at all.

It also doesn’t look much like it’s advertising televisions, I keep thinking of cruises every time I look at it.  Which is perhaps why KB Television didn’t survive. But I rather like it.

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Ahead of his time

This may be the only blog post I ever write in praise of estate agents, particularly as we’re thinking of selling our house and so will be dealing with them on a regular basis.  But here goes.

We had one round today for a look, and he was clearly a very nice man because he spent as much time staring at the posters on the walls as at the house itself.

He was also very perceptive.  After a long hard look at this Henrion, he pointed out that it really was pop art before its time.

Henrion London Transport poster 1956 Changing of the Guard

Or at least completely of its time.  The LT poster is from 1956.  Which is exactly the same year as Richard Hamilton’s iconic collage, Just What Is It that Makes Today’s Homes So Different, So Appealing? (I use iconic here in the technical sense, meaning over-represented and over-cited to the point of tiredness, if not actually cliche).

Richard Hamilton Just What Is It that Makes Today's Homes So Different, So Appealing? 1956

Yes, there are other things going on with the Henrion too.  Its angles and sense of speed owe a lot to Rodchenko et al, while its raiding and reworking of Victorian imagery was part of a wider trend in the fifties.  But it’s still as genuinely weird as the Hamilton, if not stranger.

Adrian Shaughnessy writes of Henrion, much later on, that

despite his work with government departments and giant corporations, despite his OBE, and despite his eminence within post-war British design, he retained a radical sensibility.

Which, again, is spot on.  The whole series of three posters that he produced for London Transport in 1956 are peculiar, not least because theu’re a series which don’t match.  Every time I see this poster, I am convinced that it was designed in about 1972, if not later.

F H K Henrion Hampton Court London Transport poster 1956

Here are a couple more strange ones from his earlier wartime work.

Henrion GPO vintage wartime poster

Henrion GPO telephone vintage WW2 poster

And a reminder that he could also do cute.

Henrion post early

All of which means that Henrion deserves rather more credit than he ever gets.  He designed the British Leyland logo too,

British Leyland logo henrion

And, while we’re here, let’s have a cheer for visually literate estate agents too.  Let’s hope he can sell houses as well.

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