There are a few recurring themes (dreams?) on Shelf Appeal these days. Inevitable, I suppose, as this blog has been around for a few years and I like certain things a lot. Lewitt-Him and the 1951 Festival of Britain are repeat offenders.
The Guinness Festival (of Britain) clock in this found photograph was designed by Lewitt-Him. Although the original Guinness clock sat amongst the trees in Battersea Pleasure Gardens, this photo is probably of one of the 8 travelling versions of the clock that were made. They went all over the country; including the 5th floor of Lewis’ store in Manchester and seaside locations various. There are some lonely, surreal looking images of the clocks on the web. I did a bit of detective work and this looks to be the clock that visited Weston-Super-Mare.
The visual theme of the clock was taken (naturally enough) from the Guinness animal character advertisements of the period. I’d urge you to go here for an excellent history of the clock(s) and follow the link to a pop-up of sketches and photos of the sequence this clock went through.
The Lewitt-Him-ness of the clock is evident in this photo even though it is in quiet mode and nothing much is happening. You can see clearly two seals balancing a glass of Guinness on their noses used as door handles. But every quarter-hour the show kicked off. A great description of the clock in action tells how music started, the top opened up to reveal a roundabout, toucans pecked a tree, an ostrich peeked out, a mad hatter caught a fish – that disgorged a smaller fish, that disgorged a smaller fish and so on.
Be still my heart. I would have loved to have seen one of these clocks.