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

Mar 21 2012: Nine Monochrome Photographs Showing Children in a Variety of Roles and Locations (1900s – 1960s)

We’ve already featured galleries of children on holiday at Butlin’s and Victorian children, 1950s or 60s childhoods and advertising for childrens’ products, so in some ways the gallery here is something of a mopping up operation, bringing together a random array of images united not by period or format, but merely by the fact of … Continue reading

The Invisible Hand, Pupaphobia and the Puppet State (NVA 11, 2013)

“The puppet is what best represents the position of man in today’s manipulated world. The hand of a puppeteer is always the hand of one who ‘leads’, the hand of the Great Manipulator. The puppet’s immobile expression, its inability to mimic, does not allow it to communicate the subtle oscillations of the soul, but it … Continue reading

Feb 24 2012: Twenty Five Views of a Largely Deserted Fairground (Newark, Nottinghamshire, 2008)

When I was growing up, first in South East Derbyshire, then later in mid-Wales, the annual coming of the fairground was an event of huge significance. From the first sight of the lorries and trailers moving through the small towns, to the night you finally went to experience the rides, blink dizzily at the spectacle, … Continue reading

Feb 13 2012: Altered Rhoda Campbell Chase Illustrations from Told By The Sandman by Abbie Phillips Walker (Harper & Brothers, 1916)

All but two of the images in this gallery are the work of Rhoda Campbell Chase, an American illustrator whose pictures are visible online, and whose publications appear in many lists of books for sale, but whose details seem to be unavailable. At any rate, she seems to have been active in the early years … Continue reading

Feb 7 2012: Robertson’s Golly Jumpers Knitting Pattern (James Robertson and Sons Preserves, 1970s)

Whenever someone uses the words ‘political correctness’ in a sentence, I’ve found it useful to mentally substitute that formulation with the words ‘good manners’ instead, as the two things are pretty much synonymous and doing this reveals the true nature of most statements in which those much maligned words appear: “it’s good manners gone mad!”; … Continue reading

Jan 19 2012: Twelve Advertisements for Childrens’ Products (from Family Doctor Magazine, 1961 – 1964)

These adverts for childrens’ products – mainly clothing, but also featuring Ovaltine, Cow & Gate baby-foods and two different makes of pram, Pedigree and Ballerina – are taken from various issues of Family Doctor magazine, a popular publication produced by the British Medical Association that features accessible articles by GPs on preventative hygiene, and such topics as … Continue reading

Jan 4 2012: Life in the Lilliput Village: Eleven Images from Bekonscot and a Model of Bankside (The Childrens’ Encyclopedia, 1950s)

Life in the Lilliput Village is a feature in a 1930s childrens’ encyclopedia showing images from the model village of Bekonscot, which was built by R.R. Callingham on a site near Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, presumably as one of the many such attractions created around the country during the mid-twentieth century. Quite why wandering around miniature towns … Continue reading

Dec 18 2011: A Selection Of Drawings from a Schoolgirl’s Portfolio (Louise Winks, 1970s)

Following yesterday’s series of landscapes from the portfolio of a 1970s schoolgirl, here we have the many drawings from the same folder, mainly (though not exclusively) of film stars like Brigitte Bardot, royals like Princesses Stephanie and Margaret, and such male heart-throbs as Robert Horton, Elvis Presley and Warren Beatty. The dating of these is … Continue reading

Dec 12 2011: Male and Female Paper Anatomical Models (Home Medical Companion, 1930s)

A general anatomical figure was featured here a while ago, in that instance taken from Virtue’s Household Physician (1924), and other entries have included a series of animal anatomies and a rather marvellous fold-out anatomy of the human head. I’m not sure where this obsession with anatomy came from (perhaps the presence of books like … Continue reading