Apr 29 2012: Eighteen Plates from The Art of Macrame: Modern Design in Knotting by Joan Fisher (Hamlyn, 1972)

Despite both pre-dating and surviving the 1970s, the art of macrame is nevertheless almost entirely identified with the post-hippie decade in which handicrafts, self-sufficiency, nascent feminist politics and early ecological consciousness converged around the visual symbolism of the knotted string and woollen construction: whether a poncho, a chess set, a headband or – in one … Continue reading

Apr 28 2012: Monochrome Photograph of an Unidentified Yugoslav Sculptor with Bust of Tito and Child (c.1970s)

As a kind of brief aside to yesterday’s catalogue of monuments and sculptures from the former Yugoslavia, this small monochrome photograph offers a portrait of a sculptor from the same era and country, as found in the pages of the Treasures of Yugoslavia volume itself. Presumably dating from the same era, to judge by the … Continue reading

Apr 21 2012: Twenty-Nine Monochrome Photographs from a Souvenir Volume Documenting Socialist Czechoslovakia (CSSR, c.1957)

From the same 1957 publication as yesterday’s gallery of colour images, these monochrome plates show life in the then relatively new Communist state of Czechoslovakia as idealised and in the service of State propaganda, as though addressing the outside world from the Ministries of a kind of earthly paradise. Yet as with yesterday’s colour photographs’ … Continue reading

Apr 20 2012: Fifteen Colour Photographs from a Souvenir Volume Documenting Socialist Czechoslovakia (CSSR, c.1957)

A girl releases a dove in the name of ‘joy and beauty’. Clean, new buildings rise in historic cities. Athletes and dancers perform mass synchronised routines on a sports field. Gleaming motorcycles promote the latest in industrial design while the steelworks and plants that enabled their construction are dynamically photographed, the camera granting factories and … Continue reading

Apr 19 2012: Painting Sunsets by Violet Parkhurst (Walter T Foster Publications, 1960s)

Although it’s something of a cliche to claim the general public neither understands nor likes conceptual art, or contemporary art that doesn’t show evidence of traditional skill, seeing such work as a species of charlatanry, I’m not sure the theory stands up when it’s examined in more detail. The guide to painting sunsets seen above … Continue reading

Apr 16 2012: Eight Kitsch Dream Images by Salvador Dali (Coronet Magazine, 1950)

Coronet magazine seems to have been, in format and approach, an attempt to imitate the success of Reader’s Digest. In among its pages of amusing anecdotes, abridged stories and other human interest material fairly typical of its time, however, are some intriguing advertisements and a definite curveball, given the journal’s otherwise rather conservative idiom, in … Continue reading

Apr 14 2012: Cover Images from Comic Versions of The Odyssey and The Iliad by Homer (Classics Illustrated, 1960s)

How far does the value of a literary work reside in language and specific medium, how far in the story and broader ideas it contains? The question’s raised here by reductions (to around 25 pages each) of the two great epic poems of Homer, with each comic book acting more as a kind of compressed … Continue reading

Apr 8 2012: Nineteen Colour Photographs and Illustrations from The Astronaut Book (Panther Books, 1969)

Following yesterday’s gallery of hand-coloured photographs from Panther’s 1969 publication The Astronauts’ Book, here are a selection of nineteen of the book’s colour photographs, ranging from shots taken on a space walk to images of astronauts being fitted in space suits (one curious fact I discovered awhile back is that the suits eventually used were … Continue reading

Mar 27 2012: Fourteen Colour Illustrations and Photographs From Girl Annual Number Nine (1961)

The final gallery in this series culled from the pages of Girl Annual draws together an array of colour illustrations from the 1961 annual, including the annual’s first-ever photographic cover image, as seen above, and a series of frames from the comic strips Belle of the Ballet and Susan of St Bride’s. Accompanied by a … Continue reading

Mar 26 2012: Fifty-One Monochrome Illustrations From Girl Annual Number Nine (1961)

As can be seen below, the differences between the illustrations featured in Girl Annual in 1958 and those of three years later, in 1961, are fairly minimal, considering the social changes that were happening during the same period. True, the girl above is now on holiday in Amalfi rather than Cornwall, but the same escapades … Continue reading