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 6 2012: Eight Monochrome Photographs Showing British Parades (1940s – 1950s)

I’m not sure if these images show scenes from one or more parades and occasions, though it’s clear that the photographs fall into three basic groups, the first showing a quasi military parade (possibly made up of amateur rather than real troops), the second a series of floats trying to raise money for charity, and … Continue reading

Apr 1 2012: Eleven Postcards Showing Airlines And Aircraft Of The World (1960s – 1980s)

Until the sell-offs of national aviation companies during the 1980s, such as the wholesale privatisation of BA in the UK and the contracting out of such infrastructures as Air Traffic Control and baggage handling in the US (the latter had rather more to do with facilitating the 9/11 attacks than apologists for cost-cutting privatisation have … Continue reading

Mar 31 2012: Colour Snapshot Featuring A Man On A New Town Concourse With A Shopping Basket (c.1970s)

I couldn’t help connecting this image to that of an unknown electrician (or at least, a man who might have been an electrician) posted here back in November. I’ve scrutinised it many times trying to work out if the same person features in both, but I can’t quite decide. Sometimes, the two portaits look like … Continue reading

Mar 28 2012: Sepia-Toned Monochrome Photograph Showing A Swarm Of Bees (Date Unknown)

This undated image of bees swarming has hung around my desk for several years now, pretty much since I found it inside the pages of an old encyclopaedia sometime around 2006. What it shows is both commonplace, insofar as bees form swarms regularly: the sight of one isn’t an everyday occurance, but nor is it … Continue reading

Mar 25 2012: Forty-Three Monochrome Illustrations From Girl Annual Number Six (1958)

If yesterday’s images by Edward Mortelmans from the 1958 edition of Girl Annual seemed to draw inspiration from the paintings of Laura Knight, the forty-three sampled monochrome illustrations seen here have no such unifying element beyond being largely executed in line and wash, and seeming largely unchanged in format from the kind of images that … Continue reading

Mar 23 2012: Aerial View Of A Crowd In An Unknown City Centre (Possibly Nottingham, c.1920s)

There’s something intriguingly elusive about this image, which both looks like the Market Square in Nottingham, viewed from somewhere near the dome on the roof of the present Council House while it was still under construction (if so, this would place the image at some point between 1927 and 1929), and, well, doesn’t look like … Continue reading

Mar 19 2012: Three Monochrome Photographs Featuring Minor Architectural Structures (Dates and Locations Unknown)

The thing that unites these three otherwise random photographs is that each, in its way, shows an architectural structure that would generally pass unnoticed as architecture: an architecture without architects, perhaps even a species of ‘outsider architecture’. The cinema here, for example, is not the kind of Deco construction that was as common for its … Continue reading

Mar 1 2012: Thirty-Four Illustrations From The Space Shuttle At Work by Howard Allaway (NASA, 1979)

I’ve been told, but never been able to confirm, that the design of airports is utterly monotonous and boring, and much the same everywhere in the world you might go, for a very particular reason: the knowledge among those commissioning these complexes that the very last thing someone about to board an aircraft really needs is excitement … 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