To Sheffield, by dachshund

Whatever I was expecting to find in the Guardian yesterday, it certainly wasn’t this.

Beaumont Post Early Sausage Dog vintage 1950 GPO Poster

But thank heavens for the quiet of the New Year, because it allowed them to give almost a whole page to an exhibition in Sheffield of the works of none other than Leonard Beaumont.

Sadly – at least from my point of view – it is not going to be wall-to wall GPO dog illustration.  But it’s still very interesting.  The exhibition concentrates on Beaumont’s lino etchings – he donated over 80 pieces of work to the Sheffield Art Gallery just before his death.

Beaumont Knife Grinders 1932

They’re fantastic bits of Art Deco/Vorticist design, but all the more impressive because it seems that Beaumont was almost entirely self-taught,  Working at the Sheffield Telegraph, he produced the prints in the evenings.  By 1936, he’d moved to London and stopped making them.

So that’s the exhibition, but. at least from a Quad Royal perspective that’s where the story gets interesting.  Because in London he joined Mather and Crowther as a commercial designer, and also worked freelance, producing (according to an interview in the Sheffield Star in 1983) wrappers for Nestle chocolate, posters and stamps for the post office, along with – and this was a surprise to me – the cover for the Festival of Britain catalogue.

Festival of Britain catalogue cover

Pretty much all I have known of his posters to date, and all the ones I have ever featured on here, have been for the GPO.

Beaumont Vintage GPO post early poster n/d


Leonard Beaumont GPO poster address letters clearly and correctly

Now according to all of the articles, he then went off to Sainsburys in 1950 to sort out their corporate identity, and stayed there until he retired.  That he worked for them is certain (here’s Shelf Appeal on his work there).  But he was still producing posters for the GPO during the 1950s too – the last one above dates from 1957, and the example below from 1958.



He also produced one of my favourite mad GPO posters ever.

Beaumount a smile in your voice vintage GPO poster

As one of the articles notes, it’s the use of type which distinguishes his work.  To which I would also add the use of collaged photos and graphics together.  For a self taught man, he was a very adept modernist.

Anyway, the upshot of all of this is that I can make a very confident prediction that I will be turning up in Sheffield at some point in 2013.  The exhibition runs until September, so there’s plenty of time to make that come true.

Recent Acquisitions

In the days when I used to be in the V&A, which is quite some time ago, each department used to have cases where they displayed recently bought objects, before they found their place in the main collection, with a small paper sign in which read Recent Acquisitions.  A friend of mine got hold of one of these and stuck it on her fridge, which amused me a great deal at the time.

All of which is by way of saying that we’ve bought a few things recently (in fact, thanks to the wonder of modern phones, we managed to do most of this on holiday).  These GPO posters are small, Demy I think, but each one perfectly formed.

Tom Eckersley vintage posters 1955 GPO
Tom Eckersley, 1955

Beaumont Vintage GPO post early poster n/d
Beaumont, can’t find a date

Frank Newbould Telephone your orders vintage GPO posters
Frank Newbould, 1930s?

Although small daughter refuses to be quite persuaded that the image above is actually a telephone.

There’s also the Bloomsbury Sale, which was on Wednesday.   I didn’t get time to preview it, what with being in France, but that’s also been handy because I didn’t want to point at this too hard.

Lewitt Him vintage London transport poster 1938

It’s by Lewitt Him, and dates from 1938.  I’d never seen it before, even though it is in the London Transport Museum Collection now I look.  And I think we won it, although I haven’t definitely heard from Bloomsbury that we have yet.  We better had, that’s all I’m saying.

There were a few other nice things in there, but the online catalogue seems to have disappeared already so I can’t tell you about then.   More fun next week, though, when there will be some pictures of actual vintage posters on billboards for you, and rather good posters at that.

Number 2

Through the second door in the Advent Calendar is this rather fetching sausage dog.

Beaumont Post Early Sausage Dog vintage 1950 GPO Poster

He’s by Beaumont, he’s from November 1950, and he’s also a miniature dog – in the version we have he’s only 6″ x 9″.

But the good news is that you can have one all of your own.  The BPMA have raided their archives to make some very fine Christmas cards, including Mr Sausage Dog – although he’s doing tricks for them.

Beaumont Sausage Dog as Christmas card from BPMA

There are lots of other lovely cards (and dogs) on their site too, including this Lewitt Him from 1942,

Lewitt Him vintage GPO poster christmas card from BPMA

this Henrion from 1950,

Henrion Christmas Card from vintage GPO poster 1950 BPMA

and this Eric Fraser, from 1946.  I really wouldn’t mind waiting in Post Office queues if I had artwork of that quality to stare at.

Eric Fraser vintage GPO poster 1946 BPMA christmas card

I will also just mention that I don’t own any of those posters above, so if anyone wants to send me one for Christmas, please feel free.  More posters that we do have tomorrow.

Lucky Dip

As promised last week, it’s random image day – a whole heap of posters that I have discovered along the way but not managed to use in a post.  All sizes, all shapes, every one a great piece of design.

Here’s a Mount/Evans for starters – it’s from the V&A collection and I’ve never seen it anywhere else.

Mount Evans Keep Our Secrets Secret fish vintage poster COI

It comes from their prints website (that is prints that they sell you, rather than the Prints and Drawings Department), which tells me it comes from 1960.  One day I will rant about the impossibility of getting any kind of fix on what the V&A actually holds, but even describing what it does and doesn’t do is such a daunting task that it may take me a while.

This Reginald Mount (the third of a set which were up on eBay a while back) also comes from there.

Reginald Mount Keep Britain Tidy poster park keeper

And I can’t tell you a single thing about this (which, again, I’ve never seen before) because their system is so byzantine and strange that I now can’t find it again.  But, is good.

Don't keep a diary vintage ww2 poster

Not only Reginald Mount, but Hans Unger would also like you to Keep Britain Tidy, although he is rather more anguished about it.

Hans Unger Keep Britain Tidy 1964 COI vintage poster

And yes, that is a photograph of a poster pinned to a piece of hessian.  You’ve got to love the Design Council Slide Collection.  As well as the seventies.

They also produced this pair of Eckersleys, which are a bit different to most of his work.

Tom Eckersley Weekend Living poster

Tom Eckersley holiday haunts brochure

Not sure about the dates for these, the Design Council puts the first one at 1980, but it looks earlier than that, about the same period as the brochure cover.  I’m also taking their dating with a pinch of salt, as they estimate the second one to be c1959-65 – despite the large black 1961 in the top right corner.

Meanwhile, back at the GPO, there are some very strange posters.  This one, by Beaumont, for example.

Beaumount a smile in your voice vintage GPO poster

Apparently this is from 1957, although it looks earlier to me.  He was clearly saner in 1950 when he did this for them.

Beaumont cable vintage poster GPO

And finally, a random bit of early 60s kitch.  They must have really loved that diving board at Weston Super Mare, I’ve seen it on so many posters.

Weston Super Mare vintage British Railways poster

Good, now I can tidy them all away.  Only to start laying down some more, of course.