Friday, 14 December 2012

Package Tour

In many ways it was the high spot of the day. After all, it could only go down hill after this lot. We have this annual beano in London that actually takes place in everything but every year, and after being summarily ejected from the Walmer Castle in Ledbury Road because it didn't open until midday (well keep the door locked then) we ended up in Colville Mews at this museum. I'd seen it before, many years ago when it graced an old canal warehouse in Gloucester Docks, but was still totally unprepared for just how utterly brilliant it is. As the Daily Telegraph quite rightly said, this is 'a place of worship'. I had to be restrained from continually dropping to my knees in front of the most superb examples of commercial art to be seen anywhere. If you call yourself a graphic designer (or whatever) and haven't been in, or made a promise to visit the mews as soon as you can, I shall send the Violent Brothers round to your studios in their big black Maybach limo. If you're as old as I am, you may simply enjoy it just for the nostalgia kick, (my pal said he remembered standing on two Watney's Party Seven cans to watch a stripper in a pub), but if you care about the craft of illustration, hand drawn lettering and classic typography, come down here and see just how good it got. All credit to Robert Opie for starting it off with a Munchies wrapper, and credit to the Gold pub in Portobello Road for being there for us at 11.15 with a warm welcome and excellent pints of Harvey's Bitter.  


CarolineLD said...

I love that museum, and you've reminded me to make the effort to visit again!

Wartime Housewife said...

Quite right. And this message is, of course, exemplified in your excellent book 'The Cigarette Papers' which is a similar prayer to the graphic artists.

Philip Wilkinson said...

I too visited the museum when it was in Gloucester, and somehow thought it might be a shadow of its former self now. Wrong again, then. Thanks for reminding me about it - another visit is clearly in order.

Good use for a Party Seven can, by the way...

Jon Dudley said...

About the only use for a Party Seven Philip. To my shame I have yet to visit this marvellous place...I will quickly remedy that. I have recently watched the American documentary film about Linotype machines and seen one ably demonstrated at the Amberley Museum - does that go some way towards mitigation?

I was asked by some junior designers the other day about 'visualising'...rapidly becoming a lost art except in the movie business, they were incredulous at the Magic marker and hand lettering skills expected of even an average designer back in the day. Let alone lettering for reproduction...another level of skill altogether...made largely redundant by the Letraset invasion. That's enough memory lane - Ed.

A merry Christmas to fellow followers of Ashley and the Man and his family too.

Anonymous said...
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Sue said...

I need to see this place, too. What was your absolute favourite exhibit of all?

Peter Ashley said...

Jon: I'm not sure how much mitigation can be dispensed by your viewing of a Linotype machine.

Sue: What a tough question. Probably the biggest heart-racer for me wasn't in a glass case but nailed-up in an obscure corner: A near perfect vitreous enamel Fry's Five Boys Chocolate sign.

Jon Dudley said...

Fair do's squire! I.O.U. one Sunny Jim 'Force' packet...

Peter Ashley said...

Now you're talkin' Jon. I have a Sunny Jim doll stuffed in an enamel jug in my kitchen. As you might expect.

martin said...

You've just sold it to me. All I have to do is find Colville Mews..

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