Selfridges plaque design proposal for sale

An interesting item of British retailing history, a painted proposal for the iconic Selfridges bronze plaque, have recently been discovered and offered for sale at Iconic Antiques in Bristol, specialists in maps, posters and signs from early 20th-century London.

Chris Berry, owner of Iconic Antiques, said: It’s an extraordinary discovery. These large bronze plaques were the finishing touches to Harry Selfridge’s iconic London department store. Selfridge was heavily involved in the decisions relating to design and he will almost certainly have held this piece in his hand.”

Harry Gordon Selfridge opened his historic flagship store, Selfridge & Co., on London’s Oxford Street on March 15, 1909.

Architect Daniel Burnham commissioned Veitch & Fenn Metalworks to design and manufacture a bronze plaque for each corner of the building. The plaques were installed on completion of the building in 1908, and are still standing in place today.

The original watercolour design by Amor Fenn of Veitch & Fenn presents three design options for the plaque, each with strikingly different border designs. It is likely that these were the first set of options presented. The eventual design had a more subtle border and was closer to a square in format to allow the text over three lines.

The pencil and watercolour design drawings, circa 1908, are being sold for £895.