Designer Desire: Alain Grée

mosaic of Alain Grée illustrations | H is for Home

In this week’s Designer Desire, we’d like to introduce you to Alain Grée (if you’ve not heard of him already, that is). Eighty years old this year (2016), Grée is an illustrator, mainly known for his children’s books and board games.

Grée is an enthusiastic sailor – he’s crossed the Atlantic on his own ships – which can be seen in his very detailed educational books about ships, boats, the sea and sea creatures.

Luckily, Grée has had a very prolific output; his books (over 300) have been produced in large numbers and in 25 different languages. This means you can find examples of his work easily from outlets such as Etsy and Amazon.

His work is still being produced by RicoBel based in Ghent, Belgium who own the rights to his works. Button Books, based in the UK, stock a large stock of his early-years books, activity sets and flash cards.

Here’s a short film of the designer himself talking about how he created his books.

Image credits

Alain Grée | Sam Smyth | Flickr | Pinterest

Designer Desire: Daphne Padden

Mosaic of vintage Daphne Padden designs

This week, we’re featuring the wonderful graphic designs of Daphne Padden (1925-2010) in our Designer Desire series.

‘Mr & Mrs Crownfolio’ have been writing about Daphne on their Vintage Poster Blog for almost 2 decades and it’s thanks in the main to them that something is actually known of her. The vast majority of the images in our mosaic have been borrowed from them. She’s highly underrated in their, and our, opinion!

Portrait of Daphne Padden painted by her father, Percy Padden
Portrait of Daphne Padden painted by her father, Percy Padden

She has produced work for the likes of The Post Office Savings Bank, P & O, British Railways, BEA, ROSPA and Unilever.

Her designs can be found on travel posters, food packaging and restaurant menus. We’re surprised that she never illustrated children’s books, her style is perfectly suited for that medium.

We’re lucky enough to have this single item of hers in our possession – a bright & bold poster produced for The Post Office Savings Bank advertising their investment accounts.

Vintage Daphne Padden poster for the Post Office Savings Bank | H is for Home

An archive of her work is held at my alma mater, The University of Brighton although, to date, none of it seems to have been uploaded to their website. Others can be found in the archives of some of the companies she worked for including The Postal Museum and The Marks and Spencer Company Archive.

You can often find a handful of Daphne Padden’s vintage works on eBay. If you get out-bid, quite a few places are currently reproducing some of her designs including Beast in Show, To Dry For, All Posters and Art.com.

If you have any information or examples of her work, please share – we’d love to hear from you.

Image credits

Vintage Poster Blog | Christies

Vintage Pat Keely safety poster

Vintage 'Keep Floors Clean' safety poster designed by Pat Keely for Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents | H is for Home

We featured a poster by Leonard Cusden in a recent post – and, as with the proverbial buses, two safety posters have come at once. Well, the same week anyway.

Vintage 'Keep Floors Clean' safety poster designed by Pat Keely for Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents | H is for Home

This one is by another renowned 20th century graphic artist – Pat Keely.

Pat Keely signature

This ‘Keep Floors Clean’ poster was commissioned by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents in the 1950s.

Vintage 'Keep Floors Clean' safety poster designed by Pat Keely for Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents | H is for Home

In addition to his work for RoSPA, Pat Keely was also responsible for some iconic World War II posters done for The Ministry of Information. There are public transport and GPO commissions too – he even designed postage stamps.

Vintage 'Keep Floors Clean' safety poster designed by Pat Keely for Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents | H is for Home

Here are some further images of Pat Cokayne Keely’s work. We love the orange ‘Wear your Goggles’ poster you’ll see there.

Detail of credits from a vintage 'Keep Floors Clean' safety poster designed by Pat Keely for Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents | H is for Home

As with the Leonard Cusden, this is an original vintage piece. We’re pretty sure that this particular poster image has never been reproduced so quite a scarce thing. It’s one for the graphic artist aficionados on one level, but also works simply as a decorative art work for the home. It would look great displayed on a kitchen wall – the imagery, colours and subject matter. There’s first refusal to our blog readers, so let us know if you’re interested.

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Leonard Cusden collectable

Detail from a vintage Leonard Cusden designed safety poster 'Don't fool with compressed air it can kill' | H is for Home

We love graphic design – and collect vintage examples from the mid twentieth century in particular.

Vintage Leonard Cusden designed safety poster 'Don't fool with compressed air it can kill' | H is for Home

…posters, menus, books and magazines are all potential sources.

Detail from a vintage Leonard Cusden designed safety poster 'Don't fool with compressed air it can kill' | H is for Home

We’ve just acquired this fabulous vintage poster by renowned graphic artist, Leonard Cusden. It dates from the 1950s and was commissioned by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents. It warns of the dangers of working with compressed air. He’s also famous for his distinctive 1930s railway posters.

Leonard Cusden signature

It’s very striking in terms of design & colours – we love the ghoulish spectre!

Detail from a vintage Leonard Cusden designed safety poster 'Don't fool with compressed air it can kill' | H is for Home

Quite a few of his health & safety posters have now been re-produced by RoSPA. We were very chuffed with this find, especially as it’s an original copy from the period.

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!