Iconic works of early 20th century British poster design go under the hammer at New York’s Swann Auction Galleries later this month, with examples from such leading lights as Paul Nash and Edward McKnight Kauffer expected to create interest.
Known for his work from both World Wars, as well as his Surrealist art, Nash was one of the leading artists involved in the ground-breaking advertising campaigns for Shell oil in the 1920s and ’30s, masterminded by John Betjeman and his boss in the Shell PR department, Jack Beddington.
At the sale, Swann will offer Everywhere You Go / You Can Be Sure of Shell / The Rye Marshes, from 1932, depicting Nash’s local landscape around Rye in East Sussex. It is estimated at $1,500 to $2,000 (£1160 to £1540).
The sale offers a range of other posters from the series, including McKnight Kauffer’s To Visit Britain’s Landmarks / You Can Be Sure of Shell / Dinton Abbey, from 1936, guided at $700 to $1,000 (£540 to £770).
McKnight Kauffer also designed a poster for London Transport for the Special Areas Exhibition / Charing Cross Station of 1936, set up to draw attention to areas of industrial decline and what the government was doing about the problem. The London Transport Museum retains a copy of this poster in its archive. Another example will appear in this sale with an estimate of $1,500 to $2,000 (£1160 to £1540)
The sale will also include posters by Michael English, the illustrator famous for his 1960s work with the like of Jimi Hendrix, his 1970s and ’80s hyper-realist paintings, and the creation of the design company Hapshash and the Coloured Coat with Nigel Waymouth, which pioneered psychedelic poster design.
The sale takes place on 25 May.