Impressions of Britain

A sample of British graphics from 1961

When I was young, my grandfather gave me a wallet he had received as a gift during his time working for a wood merchant company in London.  Luckily for grown-up me, I didn't care for it too much (I currently use this wallet as it is in excellent condition), it was a bit too tan for my liking (preferring at that time garish greens and blues), so I stored it away with other bits and pieces (shells, coins, stamps, stones and twigs - I was a bit of a nature boy). 

The one thing which did intrigue me about the wallet was a small diary notebook that slid into its own pocket.  The diary featured a calendar (1965) and was branded "Ligne", a wood merchant company based in Prague.  There were a couple of graphic images in the diary - scratchy drawings overlayed with blocks of primary colours, and it was these splashes of vivid colour which appealed to me then. 

Out of character for me, I actually used the diary, for one day at any rate; August 20. I listed the names of my favourite stuffed toys: Pandy, Gonk, Pingwing, Prana, Turtle and Ell. Despite my current space issues, I really wish I still had the gang now!

But, on the topic of space issues, I was recently trying to clear up some old papers and I found a booklet amongst old magazines and schoolbooks titled "Impressions of Britain".  It is a guide prepared for the Central Office of Information in 1961, printed for H.M. Stationery Office by Fosh & Cross Ltd, London.

As you can see below, the uncredited graphics from the booklet are scratchy drawings overlayed with blocks of colour, just like my wallet diary.  When I saw this booklet again for the first time in some years, it reminded me of my grandfather, his wallet and his National Health spectacles and Walk Socks and of the cheerful illustrations printed on cheap paper that were so common when I was very young.