Apr 22 2012: Four Hand-Painted Maps Of Socialist Czechoslovakia With Folklore Motifs (CSSR, 1957)

Appearing as endpapers in a 1957 pictorial publication showing early Communist Czechoslovakia these four maps offer a striking contrast – in tone and style, at least – to the photographs making up most of the book. The principle appears to be that the main map (seen above) is then separated into its component parts in … 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 17 2012: Two Illustrations Showing the Atom and its Nucleus from The Boys’ Book of Radio, Television and Radar (Burke, 1957)

Following yesterday’s sequence of advertising pages from Atomics Magazine (1956) these two images cut to the heart of what all that hardware was in pursuit of: the latent power of the atom itself and its nucleus, as expressed through Einstein’s E equals MC squared equation (surely one of very few equations to be known outside … 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 15 2012: Eighteen Monochrome Illustrations From Atomics Magazine (Leonard Hill Technical Publications, 1956)

Back in 1956, the progressive vision of the Festival of Britain had faded somewhat, with most of the South Bank site demolished by the Conservative governments that followed the set up of the 1945 consensus, and in place of that more whimsical and social kind of progressive ideal, a harder, more technocratic and businesslike version … 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 12 2012: A Portrait of Harry Wheatcroft (Illustration on Celluloid for an Unknown Magazine, 1970s)

A curious item, this image reproduces as best I can the image on a reddish-tinted celluloid sheet containing a photographic transfer of a watercolour portrait of Harry Wheatcroft, the Nottingham-born celebrity horticulturalist and 70s media entrepreneur whose name became synonymous with commercial rose-growing, and whose garden centre, Wheatcrofts, still trades on the edge of the … Continue reading

Apr 7 2012: Nine Hand-Coloured Illustrations From The Astronaut Book (Panther Books, 1969)

Over the next three days we’ll look at the monochrome and colour images featured in the pages of The Astronauts’ Book, an annual-style publication issued by Panther in the UK in 1969, the year of the Lunar landings. Comprising articles written (or, at least, ghostwritten) in the voices of actual astronauts (and the odd Soviet … Continue reading

Apr 3 2012: Accessories including Sleeping Bags, Swimwear, Slacks and Anoraks from the Bukta Campedia Catalogue (1960)

Following yesterday’s gallery of tents, mainly named after British birds and designed in a kind of unconscious anticipation of minimalist systems art of the kind circulated by Sol LeWitt, these images draw on the rest of the goods on offers in the 1960 Bukta Campedia catalogue of camping wares. The contrast in style is intriguing, … Continue reading

Apr 2 2012: Seventeen Varieties Of Tents Named After British Birds (from Bukta Campedia Catalogue, 1960)

A 1960 edition of the Bukta Campedia – a sort of general catalogue of camping equipment – manages a certain poetry in its adoption of the common names of British birds for its various models of tent, here presented in a hand drawn format, their variations on the temporary architectural theme united by being coloured … Continue reading