I did a small exhibition for Ernő Goldfinger’s 2 Willow Road in Hampstead a few years ago. On the subject of Goldfinger and toy makers Paul and Marjorie Abbatt. On my research travels, I got excited about the Abbatt logo and a seeming reference to where it came from. Such things are just the sort of dusty nonsense that gets curators excited.
I have recently been revisiting my Abbatt knowledge for an article and remembered the story.
In the towers of Osterley House, the National Trust stores Goldfinger’s bits and pieces that – when the Trust converted his house to a public building – still wouldn’t fit in. In amongst his books I found a nice but tatty copy of Ribambelles, a super Pere Castor book for teaching children to cut paper silhouettes. That chain of silhouettes of children on the cover seemed to my eye very similar to the Abbatt logo. Goldfingers copy was published in 1932, just about the time he sketched said logo.
Coincidence? Probably not. The dates tie up. And Goldfinger would have to have started somewhere for his inspiration. In his sketches for the logo (in the RIBA archive) he started with the silhouette idea straight off, no dilly-dallying. To me that suggests he had an idea from somewhere, especially as he wasn’t a graphic designer.
Well, who really knows or cares? But it’s a very nice story, I think.