It is London Design Festival. So. Is Shelf Appeal celebrating with yet another picture of another shiny chair, very subtly altered from all the other shiny chairs out there? No indeed. We’re back in 1938 with the visual equivalent of a cream tea.
I have posted about these BBC booklets before as I think they are lovely things. Illustrative, nicely laid-out, nice typography. And such great examples of the BBC ‘voice’ of the period. You might argue that voice is long gone. Graphically it certainly has.
Well, this booklet gave me the usual opportunity for digging around the internet for information on the artist. There is a signature ‘S Herbert” down the left side of the illustration, who seems to be Stanley Herbert. I found some super scraperboard illustrations here and 3 rather accomplished London Transport posters here (apologies in advance to Quad Royal if that tickles their fancy). Interestingly Herbert taught poster design at The Reimann School (the London mini-me Bauhaus, almost) alongside McKnight Kauffer. He also illustrated Puffin Picture Book 99: The Story of a Thread of Cotton and at least one GPO telegram. There doesn’t seem to be an awful lot else to find out about him, which is a shame.
This cover is almost certainly a scraperboard illustration. Wikipedia tells us scraperboard illustrations are made by etching into a thin layer of white China clay that is coated with black India ink. Tasty enough to make you take up tools, I’d say. It seems you could work on white scraperboard as well. But I’m not qualified to make out which was used here.
I like Stanley Herbert’s work. It’s proper commercial. Not as swish and arty as some of his better known contemporaries. But full of detail, craftsmanship and quiet English wit.