Thursday, 27 March 2008

John Hassall Draws W. Vincent Brooks

John Hassall W.V. BrooksThis piece, from the trunk of ephemera, is a menu for an occasion on January 12th 1937. It is illustrated with the unmistakable figure of Wilfred Vincent Brooks. The circumstances of the meal remain a mystery, although, like many of the conferences and celebrations documented before, the inclusion of cheese, biscuits and celery is comfortably replicated. The menu itself is in French and headed with the handshake logo of 'Entre Nous 1910'. The plot thickens. Who was or is 'Entre Nous'? A terribly difficult title to search for on the Internet and does the illustration give us any clues?

1910 Entre NousEntre Nous or 'between us' is captured in the illustrations of folk engaged intimately behind Wilfred. Wilfred clutches, with his partially drawn hand, what appears to be printed matter and written correspondence is in evidence but tantalisingly less than legible. Was he part of Entre Nous or working with this company?

The only positive connection I can make at this time is the signature on the bottom right.

'Hassall' refers to the illustrator John Hassall (and not the bassist with the Libertines). He designed a number of posters for the Underground Group 1908-1913 but might be most readily identified with the poster entitled 'Skegness is So Bracing'. He set up an Art school which later amalgamated with that founded by Frank Brangwyn, a name mentioned by Wilfred in one of his speeches. Vincent Brooks, Day & Son may have been associated with Hassall in the later years before the company's final demise when seemingly incorporated by the Baynard Press in 1960.

Some more investigation is needed to pin this one down.

3 comments:

Gerry said...

Whilst researching John Hassal, in connection with an original cartoon of his hand that I have possessed for some time, I have stumbled across your blog. My cartoon is actually the one shown on YOUR menu immediately above W.V. Brooks' (WVB)head. This cartoon depicts two characters having a jovial chat whilst sitting by a coke fired brazier placed in front of a night watchman's hut. The brazier is very obviously between them, and the ventilation holes on the brazier spell out the words "Entre Nous".

I too have a menu bearing the Entre Nous logo, but additionally this bears the wording "Entre Nous Club Committee", and dated 24th May 1932 for the Holborn Restaurant.

The table plan on my menu shows W. Vincent Brooks to be sitting on the left of the club president Mr H.S. Moore, and my Great Grandfather A.F. Gain on the end of the table.

I have another Holborn menu dated
3rd April 1928. This does not mention Entre Nous, but is signed on the reverse by WVB, my grandfather & others.

My speculative conclusions are that:
*Entre Nous was a businessman's
club.

*The other Hassall cartoons
depicted on your menu card must
also exist.

*The Hassall cartoons were either
presented to club members or,
possibly auctioned off to raise
charity funds. Who knows?

If you forward me an e-mail
address I can forward you jpegs
of items that may interest you.

Gerry said...

Gerry again! Frustrated because I seem unable to confirm my email address through Google to enable me to automatically see any response to my comments of 20.10.08 re Entre Nous. My email address Gersherwood@aol.com. If you wish to see pic's of my Hassall Entre Nous cartoon etc, please email me.

Jeannie C said...

I have been researching the appearances of tenor, Webster Booth, and came across a reference to the Entre Nous Club, dated 10 March 1931. "Entre Nous Club - This old established society met at the Holborn Restaurant on March 10 and found capital entertainment in the admirable mixture of humour and harmony offered by Hilda Warren, Pearl Joyce, Webster Booth, Ashmoor Burch, Jean Pougnet, the Condale Singers, David Jenkins and Suzette Tarri and Arthur Askey, with Frederick Arthur as accompanist." (From "The Stage")

I would be most interested in seeing the cartoon.

Jean Collen