Putting Britain on the map

Collection of vintage British maps | H is for Home

We’ll certainly have no excuses if our knowledge of home isn’t up to scratch any more. We recently made a bulk purchase of about 20 large vintage school wall maps. Produced by G W Bacon in the 1950s, many feature the British Isles – and cover every aspect of its geography – towns, roads, railways, population density, industries, geology, rivers, relief, contours, isotherms, isobars and rainfall.

It’s been very enjoyable sorting through them. They’re 60 years old – so slightly out-of-date in some respects, but no less interesting. It’s often the differences between ‘then & now’ found on these old maps & globes that are fascinating. The ‘traditional industry’ map illustrates this perfectly. If you click on each image you can view them in greater detail.

Vintage 'Reduced' school wall map of England & Wales Vintage 'Rainfall & Isobars' school wall map of the UK Vintage 'Railway' school wall map of England & Wales Vintage 'Population' school wall map of the UK Vintage 'Physical' school wall map of England & Wales Vintage 'Isotherms' school wall map of the UK Vintage 'Industry' school wall map of the UK Vintage 'Industrial' school wall map of England & Wales Vintage 'Contours' school wall map of the UK Vintage 'Communications' school wall map of the UK Vintage 'Bold feature' school wall map of England & Wales

In addition to their educational value, these vintage maps are also very decorative in terms of graphic design and colour. They look great in a library, study or office space. We’ve hung a row of them along a long hallway. We’re going to keep a few and sell a few of this particular batch. Some have gone into our antiques centre space and we’ve also listed 3 or 4 on eBay this week.

More Menus!

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Vintage German menus from a Norddeutscher Lloyd cruise

Our last vintage menus post proved popular – and most of the examples that we featured in it prior to listing in the web shop have now sold.

Vintage German menus from a Norddeutscher Lloyd cruise

We thought we’d share some more of our collection over the coming weeks…

Details from vintage German menus from Norddeutscher Lloyd cruise

…starting with this collection of cruise ship menus dating from the late 1960s.

Details from vintage German menus from Norddeutscher Lloyd Bremen cruise

They were produced for the German company, Norddeutscher Lloyd Bremen.

Vintage menu illustration details from a Norddeutscher Lloyd cruise

We like the combination of stark pen & ink drawing with bold, partial colouring. They’re very distinctive – the artist’s signature looks like Geißler, but we can’t seem to find any mention of him anywhere on the internet. Can anyone out there shed some light?

Vintage menu with cover illustration of men playing bowls in a park Vintage menu with cover illustration of suns

Vintage menu with cover illustration of birds Vintage menu with cover illustration of fish

This particular set would look fabulous with simple black frames against a large expanse of white wall. The vibrant colours would really leap out and draw you in to take a closer look.

Cruising Again

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Vintage Royal Viking Star cruise menus from 1975

We’ve got some more vintage cruise menus to share with you – our friend Emma, who used to run the wonderful Wooden Donkey empire, sent us a package containing various vintage Royal Viking Star cruise menus out of the blue this week. What an unexpected treat that was!

Vintage Royal Viking cruise luncheon menu detail

With the new additions, we were able make up a lovely set of ten menus from this particular cruise. They date from the mid 1970s and were given to passengers en route to Acapulco. Aren’t they fabulous? The artwork is stunning. They really capture the Mexican vibe – and the style is so characteristic of the time. One of those occasions when the phrase “good enough to frame” is very apt.

Vintage Royal Viking Star menu cover from 1975

We’d love a huge wall display of vintage menus. We’ve got the menus – we must be up to about a hundred now… we just need the huge empty wall – oh, and the framing might bankrupt us! They’re such a great thing to collect for us. We’re obviously attracted to the cover artwork in the first instance, but being former chefs, the food on offer inside is also very interesting.

Vintage Royal Viking Star dinner menu

Whether it’s dishes or menu phrases that seem to have been lost in time, dishes or ingredients we’ve never heard of – or mentally choosing what we’d fancy to eat on that given day!

'Chef's Suggestion' on a vintage Royal Viking Star dinner menu

We’ve got a few duplicates of this set and quite a few others too, so we think we might start putting some into the What’s Cooking? department of the H is for Home shop. They’d make the perfect decoration for kitchen walls or shelves.

Vintage Royal Viking Star cruise menus from 1975

If you fancy starting your own vintage menu collection, get in touch and we’ll let you know what’s available. Bon Voyage!

Danish Fortnight at Neiman-Marcus

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Vintage Neiman-Marcus Danish Fortnight poster detail

We thought that we’d take a closer look at the vintage Neiman-Marcus poster that we showed in yesterday’s Forthcoming Attractions post. As we mentioned, we’ve had this poster in storage for some time and have just had it framed. It looks fantastic!

Vintage Neiman-Marcus Danish Fortnight poster

It’s the work of Danish artist, Ib Antoni. He designed textiles, porcelain and lamps too, but it’s his posters for which he’s most famous. He was much in demand during his relatively short career. His list of clients is tremendous –  from tourist boards to large manufacturing companies. Tragically he died quite young in a hotel fire aged just 44. He’s much loved in Denmark and indeed worldwide. He left a wonderful body of work with over 300 poster designs and is one of our favourite illustrators.

Ib Antoni's signature

The US department store Neiman-Marcus developed the concept of special fortnights to promote sales in the quiet autumn period before the Christmas rush. They started in 1957 with French Fortnight. It celebrated the distinctive culture, cuisine and fashion of that particular nation. They were a great success and continued up until the 1980s. Danish Fortnight took place in Dallas in 1964.

Vintage Neiman-Marcus Danish Fortnight poster detail

This extract comes from a local newspaper at the time:

Dallas’ Neiman-Marcus will open its Danish Fortnight tomorrow with royal Danes and Great Danes in attendance. And if it’s anything like the fairyland Swiss Fortnight of last year, start wishing that your husbands will find some business in Dallas during the two-week event. The specialty store promises to bring the greatness of Denmark to visitors, dramatizing the Tivoli Gardens with its imaginative play settings for children, the works of Hans Christian Andersen, George Jensen silver and the finest art of the country–its contemporary furniture and needlework. Dallas will join Neiman-Marcus in the exposition with a Danish Street fair sponsored by antique shops, Danish films and Danish entertainers in Dallas supper clubs.Northwest Arkansas Times, Saturday October 17 1964

There would no doubt have been some wonderful mid-century modern homewares on offer!

Vintage Neiman-Marcus Danish Fortnight poster detail

Amazingly, we acquired more than one copy of this rare vintage poster at the time we bought them. So , we could send one rolled up in a tube – you could then choose your own frame and indeed framer – and it will obviously be much cheaper & safer than sending the glazed version. This original poster measures 88cm x 61.5cm. Our blog readers will get first refusal, so get in touch if your interested.

Take a Cruise

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Vintage cruise ship menu from P&O S.S. Oronsay

We’ve just picked up two more vintage menus for our collection. We know that lots of you love illustration & design so we thought we’d share them.

S.S. Oronsay staff list

They’re both from the cruise ship SS Oronsay owned by P&O and date from the early 1970s.

Illustration of a mermaid on a vintage cruise ship menu from P&O Oronsay

The serenading mermaids on this one are just gorgeous.

S.S. Oronsay events list

And the on board entertainment is a treat to read. Frog Racing???? The people on this cruise must have fancied it as they gave it not one, but two ticks!

Illustration of a merman on a vintage cruise ship menu from P&O Oronsay

And how about this fabulous psychedelic table of fayre? That glass of wine is just amazing.

Vintage cruise ship menu from P&O Oronsay

We know that this particular design was by John Constable/Peter Hatch Partnership.

Vintage cruise ship dinner menu from P&O Oronsay

The actual menu on offer is always interesting too – you wouldn’t be hungry after this lot!

Measure for Pleasure

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section of a vintage metric measure tea towel

We recently featured some lovely vintage tea towels that we’d bought at auction. We’ve just acquired another one that we thought we’d share with you lovers of design from this era. This one dates from the late 60s/early 70s and features imperial & metric measurements.

section of a vintage metric measure tea towel

Here it is in its spectacular entirety! It might only be a humble tea towel, but it’s really a period artwork. Fabulous design & wonderful colours. We think they’re great value – you can pick up unused examples like this one for about £20 – less if your lucky. Nicely framed for another £30 or so – and you’ve got a vintage, original and distinctive wall decoration for £50. Your piece of art might even be unique – most tea towels were actually used and thrown away when they became tatty. You might have the only one left!!

vintage metric measures tea towel

This one has gone into our own growing collection of textiles – now that would be a major framing bill! This one’s heading to the top of the pile though, as we really fancy it in our orange kitchen!