Friday, 15 July 2016

E.McKnight Kauffer Posters

When researching the history of Vincent Brooks Day and Son you soon find the many stunning posters from the hay-day of the art form during the twenties and thirties. Of the many top graphic designers patronised by the likes of Frank Pick of London Underground and Jack Beddington of Shell was Edward McKnight Kauffer.

I recently found a copy of 'E.McKnight Kauffer: a designer and his public' by Mark Haworth-Booth in the local library.  It's an interesting read coupled of course by Kauffer's great art works.

Power -The Nerve Centre of London's Underground 1931
E.McKnight Kauffer, Vincent Brooks, Day & Son

Of particular interest to this blog was a 1937 quote by Kauffer, 'Lithography still tends to be commercially practical for reproduction and most of my posters are done by an old firm still using in most cases actual lithographic stone'. It was only three years later that, when being wound up, Vincent Brooks Day and Son was described as having 'somewhat ancient type of plant'. So maybe using traditional stones was not so commercially practical after all! The story in the family is that, after the firm was acquired, Wilfred Vincent Brooks ended up furnishing his Mill Hill home with a patio of lithographic stones.
Stonehenge - See Britain First on Shell 1931
E.McKnight Kauffer, Vincent Brooks, Day & Son

The books also mentions the talents of Thomas Edgar Griffits and how he must of overseen the translation of many of Kauffer's pieces from paper to lithographed reproduction. Again, the firm's efforts to look after and develop their staff paid dividends in the business that Griffits must of attracted.  

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