Door 16

Today, we have hit a problem.  Which is that I failed to photograph a couple of the best Post Early posters before they went off to be framed.  So today, you get some pictures in frames.  Sorry about that.

Henrion post early poster 1949 reindeer vintage GPO

This irresistible chap is by Henrion, from winter 1949, while the dancing holly below is by Hass from Christmas 1953.

Hass post early vintage GPO poster dancing holly Winter 1953

Not so good for the blog, but rather pleasant for us –  here they are in context on the Post Early wall at Crownfolio Towers.

post early wall here

Because a good Christmas poster isn’t just for Advent.  Not here at least.

Small but perfectly formed

So, back on the auction rounds once more, and first in our sights is Van Sabben, on December 11th.

I’ve already skipped through a few of the French ones in passing last week, but there are also a small selection of British posters in there which are worth looking at.

Lewitt Him Vegetabull poster vintage WW2 on sale Van Sabben
Lewitt Him, c.1947, est. €250

Like the Vegetabull, to start with.  Everyone should own this poster.

But in addition to that, it’s a small, but quite interesting selection.  There’s something for everyone.  Some railway posters, like this faintly murky Fred Taylor.

Fred Taylor cambridge vintage LNER railway poster from Van Sabben 1930
Fred Taylor, 1930, est. €450

And this rather wonderful piece of glamour.  In as much as Felixstowe can do glamour.

Nicoll Gordon vintage railway poster 1930 van sabben felixstowe
Nicoll Gordon, 1930, est. €2,000

There’s a really lovely Abram Games too, which I’ve always rather liked.

Abram Games civvy street vintage WW2 poster from Van Sabben
Abram Games, 1944, est. €450

As well as a few more of his posters which, while brilliant pieces of design, I nonetheless wouldn’t much fancy having up on the wall.

Abram Games vintage ww2 safety poster 1943
Abram Games, 1943, est. €650

Especially if I have to pay €650 for the rather morbid pleasure.

But one thing that I really like about the Van Sabben auctions is that, even though they don’t have that many British posters, they’re not just comprised of the usual suspects.  So in addition to Abram Games and Tom Eckersley,

Tom Eckersley vintage London Transport poster 1947 from Van sabben
Tom Eckersley, 1947, est. €250

there are also posters by Henrion.

Henrion exhibition poster 1945 from Van Sabben
FHK Henrion, 1945, est. €280

And Beverley Pick and Reginald Mount too.

Beverley Pick vintage London Transport poster 1947 from Van Sabben
Beverley Pick, 1947, est €250

Reginald Mount vintage WW2 home front poster 1946 from van sabben
Reginald Mount, 1946, est. €650

And even Robin Day.

ROBIN Day RAF poster c 1950 from Van Sabben vintage poster
Robin Day, c.1950, est. €450.

I’m assuming that’s the furniture designer rather than the interviewer.

It’s not just that they have a good mix of designers, they also get posters from different sources.  Like these two from the GPO, which are also both large format rather than 1o x 15.

Zero Hans SChleger remember the country name vintage gpo poster 1942
Zero, 1942, est. €300

Manfred Reiss GPO helps the export drive vintage poster 1950
Manfred Reiss, 1950, est. €300

I’d love to know where they source their posters from, but I don’t suppose they’ll tell me.

My only minor complaint is the pricing.  It’s hard to work out how the Vegetabull can be worth so much less than this Hans Schleger, for example, when they’re both in similar condition.

Hans Schleger blackout vintage ww2 poster London Transport 1943
Zero, 1943, est. €500

It does sometimes feel as though estimages are obtained by sticking a pin into a roulette wheel.  Mind you, I shouldn’t be complaining; that’s the way that bargains are made, after all.

A lot

Really, there is more being sold at the moment than I can properly keep tabs on. Hence a rather scrabbled post to tell you that these are up for sale in Nantwich tomorrow.

Henrion lot for sale in Nantwich - wide

The lot is a heap of Henrion posters.  A big heap.

Henrion posters for sale in Nantwich - second wide

Sadly, they’re not entirely what they seem.  On the plus side, some of them are signed by Henrion himself. The downside is that they are all reprints, done for Staffordshire Polytechnic in 1989 – I think for an exhibition.  But interesting nonetheless, if only because they reproduce posters that don’t tend to turn up elsewhere.

Henrion signature and printing detail from Nantwich lot

If this tickles your fancy, they are being sold by Peter Wilson Auctioneers tomorrow, and come with an estimate of £30-50.

More auctions tomorrow, whether you like it or not.

That’s Shell, that was

I really wish I hadn’t started this post now.  It was meant to be a simple one about stuff on eBay, and now it’s gone and turned into a mystery.

The beginning was this poster, which ended two days ago.  Along with a confession.

Shell Poster Long Man of Wilmington Denis Constanduros

Which is that I didn’t actually mention it while it was on sale, on the off-chance that it went un-noticed and we could pick it up for a pittance.  Some chance – six bidders and twenty bids pushed it up to £412.  I almost wish that we’d gone that high.

So, piqued, I started investigating Denis Constanduros.  It turns out that he also did this rather lovely rendering of Llanthony Abbey (one of my favourite places anyway) for Shell.

Denis Constanduros Llanthony Abbey Shell poster

As well as this Farmers Prefer Shell poster too.  Which, although very pretty, I find a bit odd because looks as though someone’s just being eaten by the machinery.

Denis Constanduros Farmers Prefer Shell poster

But that’s about it.   His only artistic remains seem to be those three Shell posters, all probably pre-war.  So what’s the problem, you say?

Well there’s also a Denis Constanduros who wrote a 1940s radio serial called ‘At the Luscombes’ about West Country village life (by coincidence, set no more than ten or so miles from here, in a place I drive through quite regularly).  Who then – unless there’s a third Denis Constanduros which I have to say seems pretty unlikely – worked throughout the 1960s and 70s on adapting classic books for television, particularly Jane Austen.  That Denis Constanduros died in 1978.  But is it all the same one?  Did he just do a few posters and then go off into writing, in the style of an earlier Patrick Tilley?  I do not have the foggiest idea, the internet is just confusing me and the Shell Poster Book says nothing at all.  Can anyone else shed any light?

I’m bothered not just because it’s not making sense and so needs sorting out, but also because these three posters are all really rather good.  They’re very much of their late-1930s period, but in a good way, with echoes of Ravilious in the style and colours.  And also in the subject matter of course; Ravilious wasn’t just a painter of chalk hills, but also drew the Long Man himself too.

Eric Ravilious the Long Man of Wilmington

So it seems a pity that Constanduros never painted much more than his Shell posters.  But then, if it was him who went on to write ‘At the Luscombes” and adapt classic novels for television, his journey was very much that of his times.  Before the war, the poster was king.  But afterwards, the new, shiny, exciting broadcast media took all the glory; if you had the talent for it, who wouldn’t have made the switch.  Posters were no longer the place for a smart young man to be any more, there were new and more exciting furrows to plough.

One final note, and that’s the price.  Its not remarkable for itself – it’s a fine poster and well worth the money.  But it is remarkable for having been achieved where it was – I can’t remember having seen a poster match the price it would have reached at a specialist poster auction on eBay before.   Not that many of that quality turn up, but still, it’s an interesting precedent.  (I can’t be bothered to do the maths, but I wonder how the eBay selling fees compare to  Christies charges.  Not that well, I should have thought…)

And, having said that these things don’t turn up very often, there in fact a couple more classics out there right now.  This Henrion,

HEnrion 1950s London Transport poster as seen on our walls

And this John Bainbridge too.

John Bainbridge 1950s London Transport poster

They’re both from the same seller, and it will be interesting to see how they go.

The Bainbridge, meanwhile, is also being offered by Sotherans at the moment.  for £895.  If eBay can scale those heights, that really would be a turn up for the books.

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.

Sepsis, fuel and dark beer

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, the Onslows catalogue is now up and complete – eighteen lovely pages of posters for you to look at it, and all of which you can bid for via the internet.

So with the sale less than two weeks away, I thought I’d better take a proper look.

If you are a fan of a) World War One and Two, b) Guinness or c) French posters, you’re in luck, as there’s plenty of all of those.

Rags - Mount Evans world war two vintage salvage poster onslows

This Mount/Evans salvage poster is probably my favourite of the WW2 lots – and one I’ve never seen before as well.  Large tranches of the rest – unless you like H.M. Bateman cartoons – are more of historical than graphic interest.  Although, having said that, I rather like this railway fuel saving poster too.

railway fuel saving world war two vintage poster

As well as this fantastically stark warning – also from the railways.

Railways Health and Safety Warning vintage poster

At an estimate of £70-£100, I might even think about that, were it not for the fact that I’d never ever put it up on the wall.

Then (lots 246 – 250 should you be looking for them) there are a small cache of classics, including Henrion, Keeley and three by Abram Games.

Henrion VD awareness world war two vintage poster

Pat Keeley Sepsis world war two vintage poster

Abram Games blood donors world war two vintage poster

Every one a classic, but all also sufficiently grim that I can’t see any of them going up around the house any time soon.

In the world of Guinness, meanwhile, there are a few Gilroy classics on offer, but I rather like this 1962 one by R Peppe, not just for being different, but it does help.

R Peppe Guinness vintage poster 1962

And after that, I just got a bit overwhelmed.  There are film posters, London Transport posters – including this 1953 gem by Sheila Robinson.

Sheila Robinson London Transport poster 1953 Royal London half of Pair poster

We once sold a poster of hers once; with hindsight I have no idea why.

There’s also this 1964 design for Kew Gardens, which is by Tom Eckersley’s wife, Mary Kessel, poster trivia fans.

Mary Kessell vintage London Transport poster Euphorbia 1964

There are of course railway posters, including Terence Cuneo’s Pictures of Trains, lots of 1972 Munich Olympic posters about which I know nothing, and – as mentioned in my last post – industrial quantities of Shell educational posters, at least 22, although I might well have missed some.  The Hillier is still the best one on offer, although I am also a big fan of the David Gentleman series on The Roads of Britain.

David Gentleman Roads Shell educational poster onslows

There’s at least one missing here – The Great West Road with his wonderful image of Silbury Hill – and quite possibly more, but they’re still a great set on a deeply under-rated subject.  But I will not digress.

If your a fan of Kraftwerk, you might want to buy this.

Trans Europ Express vintage poster onslows auctions

And finally (because I am rambling furiously and must stop) I like this, for no good reason at all.

Onions poster onslows auction

Surely that prize specimen has to be worth more than the £30-40 estimate.

This is of course a fantastically partial review of what’s on offer, and has almost certainly left out all the most valuable posters.  So please do and take a look for yourselves, and I’ll come back once the auction’s over and see what I missed out first time around.