Friday, January 25, 2008

More Kenneth Rowntree Art. Astute and regular readers will have noticed that I am very keen on unearthing any printed items or original art of the pre-1970s work of my late art school Professor Kenneth Rowntree. I challenge you not to like this latest Rowntree (1949) book I have discovered via Ebay. Here are enough dull greys and sober design to last you a pleasurable rain drenched weekend.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Denture Repairs Comic Strip. This little piece of whimsey came about because I'd spotted a hand-painted sign in a Co.Durham semi-detached house window reading "Denture Repairs Here". Behind its net-curtains the sitting room looked dingy and old-fashioned, with a Seance on a Wet Afternoon ambience which certainly appealed to my imagination. I was planning to take a photo of this sign but when I returned to the terraced street the other week the sign had gone. I felt the vanished image needed to be commemorated in a strip.

Friday, January 18, 2008

More exotic packaging art. In response to my earlier post about Turkish confectionery packaging Harley Richardson has kindly captured these Asian graphic delights at a Tooting store and sent them to Bagnall's Retreat. What makes these designs superior to Tesco or Sainsbury's latest offerings? Apart from their visual unfamiliarity I think these boxes have an attractive bias in favour of arbitrary decoration (stars surely straight out of an old Letraset book) rather than boringly informing the anxious buyer what lurks inside the cardboard packaging. No sophisticated re-touched photographs appear here nor calorie or fat-content statistics. The uninitiated consumer must enter a mystery contract and £1.49 seems a very fair price to me for a product which promises to aid "prayer and pleasure".

Thursday, January 03, 2008

A John Betjeman postage stamp. I unearthed this piece of Betjeman ephemera because the lovable old coot is once again prominent in my thoughts since reading A.N. Wilson's recent biography. It's a fine account for which I can forgive the author's 1993 heathen-biased life of Jesus. What strikes home is that the British architectural and cultural heritage Betj strove to save is virtually extinct but so is any trace of comparable humour or genuine eccentricity in today's cultural commentators.

Like my earlier blogged sighting of George Melly in a London street I remember vividly spotting John Betjeman ambling near Leeds Town Hall while I was about 19 years old and about to transfer onto a National Express bus to Liverpool. Betjeman's portly figure was unmistakeable, as was his battered charcoal suit and trilby. He seemed to be gazing upwards at the soot-encrusted provincial buildings, memorials of Victorian civic pride.