Sunny delight

1935 Morton Sundour booklet by Ashley Havinden

Shelf Appeal is in danger of becoming the Ashley Havinden blog. Havinden’s name is all too frequently dotted around these pixel pages.

As summer draws to its sticky end (and goodbye to all that) this is a last hurrah for summery imagery. This booklet for Morton Sundour textiles, produced in 1935 to promote spring curtain fabrics, is a super ray of graphic sunshine.

Morton Sundour (with its offshoot Edinburgh Weavers) was a really interesting textile company. At the time this leaflet was issued – 1935 – both companies were under the direction of textile modernist / moderniser Alistair Morton. Their whole story is laid out in Lesley Jackson’s grand book Edinburgh Weavers. And this booklet (or rather the copy owned by the V&A) appears in there too.

Havinden had been employed in 1935 by Alistair Morton to rebrand Sundour and this smiling sunflower was his offer for their logo. Not long afterwards, Havinden was designing fabrics for Sundour, as he should. Havinden’s work is usually witty and very often contained witty hand lettering too. There is hardly a nod to actual fabric on this cover, just those wavy line and star ‘curtains’ down the sides. But then Havinden was a top dog at Crawfords advertising agency, who themselves were the top dog agency. They very often played with brand bending in their work, offering modern feel and humorous copy over explicit product placement. Most of their output was what you might call clever clever, and mean it as a compliment.


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