Monday, May 04, 2015

1930s Swimwear Advert

This is really a heads-up post that I have just bought a number of copies of Courier magazine from the 1930s which are so utterly 1930s that I expect we will be seeing a lot more scans from their pages and covers over the next few days here on FFEP. But I thought this vintage swimwear advert was an appropriate place to start us off... "wear Janzten knitted swimwear and you too could have your cigarette lit by a man whose legs are too far apart..."

Sunday, May 03, 2015

1921 Swim Team

Don't they look proud!? And why not? I rather proudly rescued this nearly 100 year old photograph from the internet this week and have added it to the vintage swimwear collection.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Charles Mozley Illustrates Tom Sawyer

Unlike so many of the illustrators of the second half of the Twentieth Century, Charles Mozley (1914-1991) is rather well served by the internet by dint of having been celebrated posthumously in an exhibition at the University of Reading in 1996.  I need do no more to accompany these great black and white illustrations from a 1960s edition of Tom Sawyer than point you to their excellent notes on his life and work.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Memorial to Heroic Self-Sacrifice

Since its appearance in the 2004 film "Closer", Postman's Park, hidden away a short walk from St Paul's Cathedral in London, has had plenty written about it in print and on the internet. There are better photos than mine available of it and of the memorial it contains: The Memorial to Heroic Self-Sacrifice. The memorial was the creative child of G. F. Watts and contains some 40 or so ceramic wall plaques giving details of some astonishing stories. 

So, having seen it in the movies and read about it on the net before now, when I stumbled upon it by accident yesterday whilst visiting that part of London, I couldn't pass by without spending a little time there. But none of the exposure that the place has had can quite prepare you for the heart-wrenching experience of reading through the stories on the wall in the hushed surroundings of the park.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Salomon van Abbé illustrates Tanglewood Tales

I am sure that the Childrens' Illustrated Classics series published by Dent Dutton in the 1950s and 60s must have featured here before but I'm blowed if I can find it. They are great books: solidly octavo and dustjacketed and illustrated throughout in both colour and black and white. These illustrations are from a 1960s reprint of Nathaniel Hawthorne's Tanglewood Tales by Salomon van Abbé (1883-1955). He and his brother Joseph (who later styled himself Joseph Abbey and was for a while the editor of Chums in the 30s) were both sons of an Amsterdam diamond dealer. The whole family moved to England when Salomon was just a small boy. He is well known for his fine dry-point etchings of the legal profession but was also prolific working on books as an illustrator and a designer of jackets. He worked for a number of publishers which led to him having to adopt a pseudonym for work with Herbert Jenkins, one of whose rivals was unhappy he was working with them too.

The illustrations for the Tanglewood Tales are typical of Abbé's work. Here we have Jason, Orpheus, Cadmus, Theseus and, of course, the Minotaur (although perhaps imagined in a somewhat diminished way). Both the colour plates and the black and white illustrations have a certain appeal.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Things That Fall From Books #19: Saints

Well, we haven't had one of these Things That Fall From Books posts for over a year - shame on me - it's not that things have stopped falling, just that I've stopped scanning them quite so much! Anyway, I've seen prettier and more anatomically correct Saint Sebastians but as I once has a blog entirely devoted to him I thought I had to share this 18th century engraving of him that fell today from between the pages of a 17th century Missal.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Frank Meadow Sutcliffe and the Cunard Poster

Frank Meadow Sutcliffe is remembered mainly now only by the residents of Whitby, where he lived and did nearly all his photographic work, and by aficionados of early photography. His portraits of the poor fisherfolk of Whitby are really quite beautiful but he was much better known in his own lifetime for his photograph "The Water Rats" of a group of naked boys disporting themselves in Whitby harbour. That photograph was taken in 1886 and exhibited at the Royal Photographic Society Exhibition where King Edward VII saw it and was so taken with it that he ordered a big enlargement for Malborough House. "The Water Rats" is easily findable with Google and seeing it, you will wonder I am sure at the fact that such brazen nudity caused reactions too at the other end of the spectrum to the King's: the clergy of Whitby excommunicated Sutcliffe believing that the photograph would be source of corruption for the other sex! As with all controversies of this kind they tend to divert attention away from the brilliance of the artwork itself.

I was somewhat intrigued to see the poster above at a local antiques and collectibles fair recently. It is only a reproduction, but of an actual Cunard poster, and so gives an idea of just how well known Sutcliffe's photography was in his own time because this is an artistic representation of a photograph called "In Puer Naturalibus" (below).  A somewhat more posed affair than "The Water Rats" and perhaps the title in Latin might make us think he was reaching after something: but it is still a charming image. It took me ages to realise, however, that it was this photograph. The two poses are very recognisable but it took a while to understand that the artist of the poster has edited out the middle boy on the photograph and moved the right hand boy forward.

Vintage Swimwear for a change...

For those of you, myself included, who might have feared that my collecting of young men in vintage swimwear has stalled... here is the latest to fall on the mat. I know they are almost certainly a swim team of some sort but... look at those ears... could they be four brothers?

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