Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Empire Youth Annual 1951

Regular readers will know that when I am in a bookshop, my 'oooh shiny!' response is often triggered by a bit of mid-20th-century artwork or illustration, even when that occasionally verges on the kitsch! So you won't be surprised to know that flicking through the Empire Youth Annual from 1951 I was tempted to part with a couple of pounds by these and some of the other illustrations.

This is a collection of images from a time when a boy or girl in the UK had geography lessons which consisted of learning the primary commodities produced and traded by various parts of the world. It is, after all, a rather important part of keeping the Empire running to know where one's sugar, rubber and wheat is coming from! Having said that, this is a rather tricky quiz even by the standards of the time. Twelve calendar based images signed "C. Haworth" give clues to various places in the Commonwealth by way of guessing the particular marine commodities that come from that part of the world. If you are feeling challenged by that then the answers are given at the bottom of the December page but along the way we are treated to some rather good 'period' illustrations I think! 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

More Films and Filming

Back where I found the first stash of Films and Filming magazines a few months ago I can't resist another bundle. So here are ten more covers from the gay magazine that wasn't a gay magazine of the 1970s... Other mentions on this blog can be found here.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Heaven and Hell in Soho

At a flea market today this real photographic postcard leapt out at me. A Coffee Lounge in Soho, in Old Compton Street no less, called Heaven and Hell. A simple conceit, the upstairs was heaven and the downstairs hell, with the appropriate decor and a naked male devil complete with forked tail in the downstairs. I couldn't but wonder if I had stumbled on a photo of an early gay hang out. Sadly for that thesis at least, it turns out that it was a fairly mixed clientele. The place was open from the mid 1950s to the mid 1970s and I don't need to bore you here because one of the founders Eric Lindsay has written a very interesting account of the place on his own blog. 

I have scanned the postcard fairly large so if you download it to your own computer you should be able to view it in some detail.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Gaston Goor Pastels

Earlier today Keys Auction House in Norfolk auctioned off a reasonably significant collection of art from the estate of the composer Sir Malcolm Arnold. Among the pieces sold were a number of Gaston Goor pastels, all from 1945 and all with mythological or legendary subjects, possibly created as a set. There were other works by Goor in the sale but the auction house clearly felt they didn't want to publicly display them online. Some of these pieces are quite exquisite, they repay enlargement on the screen, and it is not, of course, the first time Goor has been mentioned on this blog.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Joyce Mercer Illustrates The Dragon of Wantley

A few days ago I was excitedly blogging some of the work of Joyce Mercer and promising that there would likely be more in days to come... well here it is. The Dragon of Wantley is a perfect foil for her zany style.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Vintage Swimwear Holiday Snaps

It's been a while since I have bought any vintage swimwear photos. In fact, I think it has been since the Brexit vote last year. When the pound tanked, it wasn't that I looked at things like this online and they were suddenly vastly expensive but rather, they went up just enough to move them from "oh that's nice... CLICK" to "oh that's nice... do I really want to pay that!" Anyway, finally, I did!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

1950s and 60s Gang Show Song Books

I don't need to rehearse here the history of The Gang Show, a huge phenomenon within the Scouting movement around the world in which Scouts and Guides at various levels from local to national produce Scout based variety shows. The national shows in the UK were organised by Ralph Reader who remained associated with the shows for decades after their inception in the 1930s. The songs for the shows were written and composed by Reader and these quarto booklets contain the piano scores for the songs. These copies are from the 1950s and 60s and I thought the covers were rather good and cheerful pieces of design.

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