London, my London

London booklet by Theyre Lee-Elliott
The signature ‘Lee-Elliott 38’ nestles at the bottom of Nelson’s Column on this cover. Theyre Lee-Elliott, a bit of a picture himself, was a graphic artist, logo and poster designer extraordinaire. His work is covered off beautifully over at QuadRoyal where it is well worth scrolling down to the comments, too.

This booklet calls to me on another level than its simple, beautiful cover with its logo-ish birds flying across. I love London booklets, imagery, what have you. I also like a nice production such as this, printed by the Curwen Press at the height of their graphic commissioning and production power in 1939. Anyone who was anyone in commercial illustration circles put in an invoice to Curwen in that decade.

The booklet has extended cover flaps that open to reveal a map (surely by MacDonald Gill?) of inner London to the front, and greater London to the back. It was produced for (take a breath) ‘The Travel and Industrial Development Association of Great Britain and Ireland.’ They appear on the back flap (with another sweet map of 29 Cockspur Street, their home) as ‘The Information Bureau for Great Britain and Ireland.’ Not much shorter, that. The Bureau seem to have been all about getting tourists to come and visit.

The booklet is illustrated with photographs rather than the graphics more usual to Curwen productions. And very nice they are too, with Brandt, Felton and Hoppé in amongst. It is written by one H. B. Brenan who worked at the Ministry of Information. So, what with the cover, the maps, the photos..someone with some taste commissioned this one.

All in all it is a quality bit of paperness this. Surviving in nice condition, too (complete with a compliment slip!) until it peeped out of a 50p box at me last year and said take me home.

29 Cockspur Street map

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