February 26, 2009


More misregistered goodies, this time in the form of action transfers.

These beautiful booklets were held together with a single staple along the top edge and contained five or six lovely sheets. The transfer sheets are printed on lightweight waxed paper, while the cover is printed on card. They measure 90 x 50mm.

The instructions on the back of the cover state "for best results, cut out single transfer lay on surface to which you wish to apply it.Then wet back of transfer, slowly rubbing your for-finger over the wet surface for about one minute. Then raise corner slowly and the desired result will be obtained."

I remember as a child spending many a wet school holiday with action transfer booklets depicting famous battles scenes; Hastings & Waterloo spring to mind. While probably not in the same league as the transfers here, they do bring back fond memories. I think I have one or two somewhere!

February 24, 2009


Its a bit like waiting for a bus! Today there are two installments!

These gorgeous Caravan Club pennants were amongst a massive tangle of flags purchased from Merton Abbey Car boot, situated by the river Wandle in deepest South London. In the late 1800s William Morris had produced textiles for Libertys on the site, but back in the Nineties, it was other peoples junk, that got me out of bed in the morning !

The four Caravan Club flags featured here are for The B.H.M.D.A (Buckingham Hertfordshire & Middlesex District). Each District would have a number of meetings each year, for which they would produce a flag.These very graphic versions date from the early 1970s. They now take pride of place at home.

A bird in the hand......

Found in the bottom of a box some time ago, are these two charming bird salt & pepper shakers. Both the salt cellar and the pepper pot are made from wood and stamped Foreign on the bottom, they measure 85mm. The simple decoration on this condiment set reminds me of bar tool sets from the 1950s.

If youre interested in Salt & Pepper shakers Abbeville books produced a marvelous book, Great Shakes in 1986 by Gideon Bosker. Although now out of print, its well worth hunting down.

February 08, 2009

Fruit Wrappers

While I was at art college in Liverpool in the Eighties, I was lucky enough to be taught by a great lecturer, John Sandford. He was full of energy and passionate about making the college a vibrant and dynamic place to be. Amongst his many passions were Magic, Masks, Fruit wrappers & Derby County Football Club.

It was John who suggested putting down the pencil to persue a more photographic route as an illustrator, and He who started my collection of fruit wrappers, after a trip to Spain where he visited the factory that printed the wrappers. We spent a couple of years swapping wrappers but sadly John died shortly after we graduated.

A little bit like the culture of collecting from skips, the joy of fruit wrappers, was that most green grocers would give you the wrappers for free. I dont think printing on the lightweight tissue paper was the easiest! Sometimes, as a result, there would be the added bonus of the image being misregistered.

Protective wrappers were introduced in the 19th Century when paper costs had come down in price and to safeguard fruit in transit. Traditionally they had wrapped Oranges & Lemons, but I have seen one or two pear wrappers from China.

The V&A Museum in London hosted an exhibition of Wrappers in 1985, which was accompanied by a rather beautiful catalogue designed by The Partners. Twenty one wrappers were faithfully reproduced in full colour, on authentic lightweight tissue.

The four featured here are some of my favourite. The two older images were from one of the Ephemera Societys' monthly bazaars. If youre ever in London its well worth getting along to. Even if prices have rocketed in the last few years!

February 06, 2009


The prolonged arctic weather has meant I havent got to the computer as much as Id have liked this week. Today for your perusal another lovely find, this time from a charity shop in Wales.

HOUSE SOLITAIRE is an Arnold Arnold Toy made by Summit Games Ltd, Leeds. The beautifully designed card game looks to date from the mid Sixties and is reminiscent of classic toys by Galt. Sadly there are no credits for the illustrator, or designer but the illustrations remind me of one of my favourite childrens book artists, Roger Duvoisin,

The idea of the game is to take two cards and match the roof with the lower half of the house. Once you completed the set you can turn the cards over and see the children who live there in corresponding costume.

They dont make games like this anymore!