Poster pot

As if last week didn’t give you enough posters to fritter your monies away on, there are still more.  Really quite a lot more too.

First, Swann Galleries, whose auction is on 15th November.  Usually the appearance of a whole swathe of high quality London Underground posters on the other side of the Atlantic would be worth making a fuss over.  This time though, unfortunately for them, they’re in competition with the stellar collection on sale at Christies this month.  With the result that theirs don’t look quite as enticing.

Alma Faulkner vintage London Transport poster 1928
Alma Faulkner, 1928, est. $1,000-1,500

This may just be because I am jaded.  But I also think that there’s a different feel to this collection – a bit more pastel and bucolic, possibly even a bit more fey, which means that they don’t appeal to me as much.

Austin Cooper vintage London Transport poster out of doors 1923
Austin Cooper, 1923, est. $1,500-2,000

There are a few exceptions to this, though.  One is this wonderful piece of modernism by Andrew Power (which, the catalogue tells me, was a pseudonym used by Sybil Andrews, something I didn’t know).

Andrew Power wimbledon vintage london transport poster 1933
Andrew Power, 1933, est. $4,000-6,000

There is also this fabulous vision of modern transport.

Harold McCready vintage London transport tram poster 1930
Harold McCready, 1930, est. $1,200-1,800

Although it does make me very unsure about taking a tram, for fear of the large explosion when they all reach the centre.

Even further away in San Francisco, Poster Connection have only a handful British posters at all in their auction on 6th November.  Your starter for ten are two Frank Newboulds for the Ideal Home exhibition.

Frank Newbould 1928 vintage Ideal Home poster
Frank Newbould, 1928, est. $600.

My favourites are these two Lewitt-Hims for BOAC.

Lewitt Him vintage BOAC poster 1948
Lewitt Him, 1948, est. $400.

Vintage Lewitt Him BOAC poster 1948
Lewitt Him, 1948, est. $500

And there’s also a Games.

Abram Games BOAC poster 1949
Abram Games, 1949, est. $500

Plus a couple of interesting McKnight Kauffers too.

mcKnight Kauffre vintage American Airlines poster
McKnight Kauffer, 1948, est. $700.

Vintage McKnight Kauffer American Airlines poster
McKnight Kauffer, 1948, est. $800

The whole catalogue is worth looking at though, as they have put together a selection of the European greats, including Herbert Leupin, Donald Brun and Raymond Savignac.

Donald Brun 1949 Vintage poster
Donald Brun, 1949, est. $300

And I’ve rather taken a shine to these two by Max Bill, mainly because no one in Britain ever really did type like this and so I pine for it.

Max Bill vintage poster 1933
Max Bill, 1933, est. $1,700

Max Bill vintage poster 1933
Max Bill, 1933, est. $1,000

That’s not all, either.  G.W. Railwayana have an auction on 13 November (with no estimates in the catalogue, in case you wonder why I haven’t attached them).  For those of us who aren’t after Pictures of Trains, there are only a few curiosities, like this rather nice bit of early 1960s Ladybird book styling.

British Railways vintage poster barry 1961
Anonymous, 1961

Although this is rather nice – it’s half of a pair poster of London’s Street Markets, from 1949 and would be a lovely thing to look at every day.

London Street Markets vintage poster 1949 AR Thomson
A R Thomson, 1949.

I’m pointing out these GPO Schools posters, simply because they’ve come up for discussion here last week.

Keeping in Touch, the post office in town vintage poster 1960s

These (there’s another one too) are quite late, 1960s, and not very appealing if you ask me (we had some, no idea why, and sold them).

But, if you’re interested in piecing together the archaeology of poster display, this little lot is quite interesting, even though it isn’t a poster.

Poster Paste pots

They’re poster paste pots, designed, I suppose, to be non-spill and to get just the right amount of paste on your Tom Purvis.  What’s particularly interesting is that one, unsurprisingly has  GWR on it.  But the other says Waterlows – who were of course one of the great printers of posters.  So is this a very early promotional gift?  I need to know.

And finally, who wouldn’t want to be Babycham Coal Queen of 1980?

I am speechless

Yours with Scotland For Me (7 assorted); Visit Moscow; Manchester plus others.  A bargain in the making.

To war, again

It’s auctions a-go-go this week.  And the next on our list is yet another tranche of World War Two posters for Wallis and Wallis down in darkest Sussex, to be sold on Tuesday.

Make Do and Mend Vintage WW2 poster

I’m rather reluctant to deal with what’s on offer this time round  (61 lots, a good hundred posters at a guess) because the whole set up makes my head ache.  It’s not just the fact that they’ve listed the posters as being either A3 or A1, when they surely must be in Imperial measurements.

Even more frustratingly, only eleven of the posters are actually illustrated, and those seem to have been chosen by sticking pins in the catalogue at random.  World War I recruiting poster in Welsh, anyone?

World War I vintage recruiting poster in Welsh

Independence calls for the bravest man, apparently.

Or then this,

Lubricating Oil is imported in tankers vintage ww2 poster Wallis and Wallis sale

which has been illustrated in preference to a Dame Laura Knight poster for “War Pictures by British Artists. National Gallery Trafalgar Square”.  Apparently it’s an image of a barrage balloon, but I can’t find it anywhere and would love to have seen it.

One or two classics have been illustrated.

Keep Mum vintage WW2 poster Wallis and Wallis auction

Along with this one, which I’ve never seen before but rather like.

Hit Back By Doing War Work vintage ww2 poster Wallis and Wallis

It would have been nice to have known the artist, or whatever other information is in that small print, but of course they’re not telling.

Plenty more other gems are almost certainly lurking in the catalogue, but I simply don’t have the whole day or more that it would take me to try and track down every single poster they mention.  This one is definitely on offer.

Womens Land Army ww2 poster wallis and wallis

As are a whole heap of fuel economy Bateman posters (at least eleven, spread seemingly at random among six different lots), along with a Fougasse on the same theme.

Fougasse Don't waste fuel poster ww2 wallis and wallis

There are plenty of other fuel economy posters in there too; not all, however, are classics.

Fuel watcher vintage ww2 poster wallis and wallis

There are also two more lots of the Beverley Pick ATS recruiting posters which were pointed out to me in the last auction.

Beverley Pick ATS recruiting poster ww2

I’d like to be able to tell you what those fetched in the last sale, but, frustratingly, the Wallis and Wallis website doesn’t even have results on it so I can’t.

I’ll post about Pick again one of these days, as I’ve dug out more of his/her war posters, and they’re all good.  And if anyone has any more information about their work in the meantime, I’d love to know.

If you have to ask, you can’t afford it

Often, I end up writing about posters on here that I, for one, can’t afford.  Like the Royston Cooper Hastings that I mentioned last week, which is fantastic, but at £1000 a pop, I’m probably never going to own it.  I’ve always rather fancied this 1951 Abram Games design too.

Abram Games vintage british railways poster 1951

But as it was last sighted going for £850 at Morphets, it’s unlikely to be making an appearance on our walls any time soon.

Here, however, is something which puts all of that into perspective.  Something so expensive that they don’t even dare tell you the price.

Perhaps I’d better let them describe it.

This outstanding collection of original vintage posters includes many Countries, all Periods, all Topics, all Styles, and most Artists. For major poster designers represented, see the ARTISTS page. This is an ensemble of finest Graphic Designs, covering Graphic History since its beginnings. It is a unique investment opportunity for Museums, Universities, Corporations or Private to establish or complete a significant collection.

(And I’m sorry, but I can’t help hearing that paragraph spoken by a snappily-dressed Russian meercat.  Simples.)

What they mean is 25,ooo posters.   Although only (only!) 17,000 different ones if you discount the duplicates.  How would you even know which were duplicates if you had that many posters?  I forget what posters we own, and ours all fit under the spare bed.

They look like this.

Kellenberger collection page 2a

And this.

Kellenberger collection  page 5a

And this.

Kellenberger image 10

And so on and so on.

If you want to see the full extent of what you’d get for your un-named price, they have their own website here.

They’re the collection of Eric Kellenberger, a Swiss architect who started collecting posters in the late 1960s as a cost-effective way of providing art for his clients’ walls.  (I seem to remember my own excuse for beginning to buy posters being some similar thing about value for money art; a rationalisation that is blown out of the water by the sheer number of posters that we now own but don’t display.)

fly BOAC middle east vintage travel poster AC 1955

Apart from being rather overwhelmed by its sheer size, I don’t have a lot to say about this, mainly because it’s almost entirely foreign.  So much so that the BOAC poster above (c1955) is the only British one I could confidently identify.  There is also a Jersey one, which I can’t find elsewhere, and another with a Kangaroo urging me to Buy Australian Sultanas, which I can live without.  Both the dog and the kangaroo look a bit threatening, if you ask me.

australian sultanas irish free state bacon

The artist list also mentions Zero, but I can’t see any images.

But it’s probably a good job it’s all foreign, because I doubt I could afford to buy one of these, never mind twenty-five thousand.  Anyone else up for it?

Meanwhile elsewhere on the web, a classic pre-war railway poster is up for auction on eBay.

Speed to the West vintage GWR railway poster 1939 eBay

It falls into the category of picture of a train where they want you to see its workings, which makes it quite valuable, if not generally my cup of tea.  But its auction history tells a little story about perceived value and eBay.

Firstly the seller, posterisland, put it on for Best Offer, with a guide price of £2,250.  Funnily enough, no one bought it.

They probably thought that they were being reasonable, as the poster did go for £2,200 at Morphets (and £1,900, and £1,800; he had three…).  But that was for near-perfect nick; this one is a bit battered.  And it’s on eBay.

Then they tried again, as an auction with a £99.99 start price, but also a £1,750 Buy It Now.  Then someone must have told him something because he took it off again twenty minutes later.

Now it is up for auction again, with a start price of £99.99, no scary Buy It Now price, and it has three bids.  And I suspect it will go quite a bit higher by the time it finishes today.  Although possibly not quite as high as the seller would like.   We shall see.

If you do bid and are disappointed, though, I can offer some consolation.

Speed to the West in Cross stitch

The chance to do it in cross stitch.  Kits available online.  There is nothing I can add to that.

By coach, via Royston

I was planning to do a random image amnesty today, which would have been a collection of fabulous posters that I have picked up but not managed to jemmy into a blog post, and which are all now idly shuffling their feet in the great image waiting room which is my computer desktop.

Except I’m not going to, because this one was first.

Royston Cooper bus poster

Which meant I got distracted by thoughts of just what a great designer Royston Cooper was and went off to explore.  So now this post is made up of what I found along the way.

Mostly this was lots of lovely posters.  Like these from 1962, 1959 and 1962 again.

Royston Cooper shopping by bus vintage poster

Royston Cooper Hastings Poster  1959

Royston Cooper Country Afternoon tickets

He’s probably best known for his Keep Britain Tidy posters.  This one from 1962 is the one you find most often,

Royston Cooper vintage Keep Britain Tidy poster lion

including at the bottom of our stairs.  But the later (1965) pelican is also fine.

Royston Cooper vintage Keep Britain Tidy poster pelican

What’s intriguing about searching for him online is that, unusually, the vast majority of results came from auctions.  There are a few pieces of his work in the NRM collection including this 1960 poster.  Sailing from Harwich has never looked so glamorous.

Royston Cooper vintage poster 'The Continent via Harwich', BR (ER) region, 1960.

And there’s also this slightly grim NRM image of another great design.

Royston Cooper How to run a railway pink vintage poster

1962 again.  Must have been a vintage year for him.

This railway brochure (an object which combines both railwayana and ephemera and thus is very frightening to me indeed) came from a railway flickr set.

Royston Cooper Railway brochure

But that’s about it.  And there’s nothing written about him either, literally all I know are his dates, 1931-1985, and even those are from Christies.

Even without information, though, people must like him because his work certainly sells.  The Hastings poster above went for over £1000 at Christies four years ago, and they’ve sold lots of other posters that just don’t appear anywhere else.  Like this 1965 effort for VSO  – and it went for £110, what a bargain.

Royston Cooper VSO vintage poster Christies

As well as this second lovely coach poster from 1958 (spectacularly modern for the date and costing a mere £192)

Royston Cooper coach poster 1958 Christies

and this less characteristic piece of 1965 Times advertising as well which went for £300.

Royston Cooper Top People Take the Times poster Christies 1965

I’m going to try and find out a bit more background, but for now, here are some more coach posters to keep you happy while that happens.  And if you do know anything about Royston Cooper at all, please get in contact, I’d really like to hear from you.

Royston Cooper 2 x Thames Valley posters Christies 1960

Posters, posters everywhere, but not a lot to buy

Well, it’s here.  For the first time under the new rules (which are, as ranted about previously, a minimum lot value of £800) it’s the Christies May vintage poster auction.  And, unsurprisingly, it’s not for me any more.

There are lots of cruise posters, some French posters, a fair smattering of Olympic posters, and lots more besides, but very little that I’d actually want to buy.

Perhaps the most interesting one for me is this Hans Unger Safari poster, mainly because I’ve never seen it before

Hans Unger Safari poster from Christies

This may also be true for Christies, because they don’t seem to have a date or a publisher for it.  Anyone out there with any ideas?

There are also five lots of Lyons teashop prints, which you don’t often see, although I’m not sure whether this is because they don’t often come up, or because they more often make their appearances at Modern British Art sales.  This 1947 one by William Scott is probably my favourite,

William Scott Lyons print christies

with Barnett Freedman a close second.

Barnett Freedman Lyons print from Christies

It’s worth noting that not even Barnett Freedman can make himself worth the minimum lot value, and for the estimate of £800-1,200 you get two Freedman prints for your teashop.

A few of the usual suspects are present, like these pair of McKnight Kauffers (estimates £1,000-£1,500 and £2,000-£3,000 respectively)

Magicians prefer Shell McKnight Kauffer vintage poster Christies

Lubrication by Shell McKnight Kauffer vintage poster Christies

There is also this Bawden City of London Transport poster (estimate £700-£900)

Edward Bawden vintage London Transport poster City of London

Interestingly, this comes with six other London Transport posters when I would have thought that it would hold that value perfectly well by itself.  I’d also be curious to know whether one of them is its pair poster, as this half is coming up more and more, but you never see the text side for sale.  Perhaps I’d better ask Christies.

Further to yesterday’s post, there is also a David Gentleman pair poster,

David Gentleman pair poster London Transport

For your £700-900, you also get its other half and two posters by the very under-rated Sheila Robinson, so a good helping of Englishness to be had there.

From the other side of the Channel, design-wise, this has also appeared.

Jean Dupas LPTB Richmond vintage poster Christies

I wonder if it was lured out by the Antiques Roadshow coverage.  The estimate (£3,000-£5,000) is pretty much what they gave, so it will be interesting to see how that does.

In other news, the lot value restrictions haven’t entirely kept out the kitch as this

Mervyn Stuart Butlins vintage poster from Christies

has an estimate of £600-800 despite being a bit grubby.  I’ll be surprised.

And this Carvosso will probably go for at least its £800-£1,200 estimate for its curiosity/ephemera value.

Carvosso 1966 World Cup poster Christies

While I admire its attempt to inject glamour into the roll-call of Manchester, Middlesborough, White City, I still don’t like it very much.

This, meanwhile, is just delightful.

D W Burley Chessington Zoo poster Christes

It’s by D W Burley but also isn’t dated.  But it’s still not £600-£800 worth of nice to me.  So I shan’t be bidding.

This post is already far too long, but it’s also my duty to point out, as a grumpy under-bidder, that this Henrion went off on eBay yesterday for a mere £139.

Henrion punch poster from eBay

One thing I really miss is knowing who has bought things.  In the good old days of eBay, most of the time you’d be able to see who’d beaten you to a poster like this.  But now – unless you’re selling it yourself – everyone has a cloak of invisibility which no computer wizardry can pull aside.  And with Onslow’s now online rather than in the eccentric Festival-modern hall at Marble Arch, I can’t even go there and see for myself wh0’s won things.  There’s no reason why I should know of course, but it’s still annoying.

Life (and design) During Wartime

Just because posters were produced at a time when some of the very best designers were working, it doesn’t mean that they were all great design, or even interesting.  This thought was brought on by a collection of posters on sale in Lewes next week.

The idea – 20 lots of wartime and post-war HMSO posters – sounds wonderful.  The reality is, sadly, rather less appealing.  The vast majority of the posters are pictures of tanks, aeroplanes or people fighting.  Dramatic, probably effective, but not for me.  Even the home front ones are anonymous, and more social history than art:

Let Your Shopping Help Our Shipping vintage WW2 poster (lot 591)

There are a collection of H.M. Batemans as well,

Don't be Fuelish vintage WW2 poster (lot 599)

But to my mind, the best posters are a set of anonymous recruiting posters for the ATS, which I’ve never seen before.

vintage WW2 ATS recruiting poster (lot 606)

which are a rather nice mix of photomontage and snappy type.  If anyone has any info on the designer, do let me know; even the Imperial War Museum have them down as anonymous.

vintage WW2 ATS recruiting poster

But I still don’t even like these enough to go to the trouble of putting an absentee bid in and then, somehow, getting them transported from Lewes to Crownfolio HQ.

However, they’re still a salutary reminder about the quality of graphic design in the war vs the quantity.  I, certainly, have a tendency to imagine a bombed-out London plastered with one beautiful poster after another, all the work of Abram Games, Lewitt-Him or James Fitton.  The reality, however, probably looked nothing like that, and most walls were covered with exhortations, pictures of planes, speeches from Churchill and rather average illustrations.  The ones we cherish now were the exception, not the rule.

Still, some of them were great.  In the course of researching the auction lots, I came across this, a Henrion I’d never seen before.

Henrion artists and russia ww2 vintage poster

Now if that comes up for auction, even in the Orkneys, I’ll be making a serious bid.