Wednesday, 5 March 2008
A Drive in the Country
No, honestly, I'm not going to go on about cars again. Well, not very much. Here we have the 1952 Motor Show Number of Country Life, the essential top shelf mag. for top rural people. Of course there's page after page of Singer Roadsters, Austin Herefords and Bristol 401s, but, as now, it's the property pages that make me go cross-eyed. I know it's all relative, but in 1952 you could buy a country house near Wimborne in Dorset with 3 sitting rooms, 9 principle bedrooms and 3 bathrooms for £8,500. Oh, and agents Turner, Lord & Ransom (really) would throw in a servant's hall, lodge house, and garages with 'a flat over'. And I bet Mrs. Miniver waiting to see her dentist still looked at the monochrome ad. and went "How dare they? How can it possibly be worth that". So, back to the cover. This evocative watercolour is by Rowland Hilder, a prolific artist who lived in Blackheath and whose work can be seen in Shell posters and books. To my eye the car isn't a specific model, and, although there's something of the Allard about it, one can imagine the editor in Country Life's Tavistock Street offices briefing Hilder to keep it anonymous- "Don't want to upset any of those motor chaps, eh Rowland?".