A few weeks ago I went to Hebden Bridge with my friend Rachel, where I bought a few pieces of costume jewellery from the 1950s and 1960s.
I’m finding it incredibly difficult to find out anything about these pieces. In the past I’ve had some success just by Googling the marks on the back. However, only one of these pieces is marked:
But the numbers on the back don’t bring up anything related to costume jewellery or necklaces. I should point out that the gold spot on the necklace is my fault: I dropped some macaroni cheese all down my front (bump to mouth ratio mixup) and obviously didn’t get it all off. Little bit annoyed with myself that I’ve managed to ruin it slightly.
I wore this one to school today:
I could see some of those little year seven fingers itching to touch it! It does seem to have that effect on people. This kind of stone and molten metal combination seems to be quite a popular one for necklaces of the 60s and 70s. I’ve also got a brooch with a similar kind of design, which has unfortunately broken. Which reminds me, I need to get that fixed… along with the rest of my ‘broken bits’ drawers.
On our first INSET day on Monday I wore the cherries brooch. Three people commented on my ‘festive’ holly and berries brooch. Firstly, it’s cherries. Secondly, it’s nowhere near Christmas; I’m not that mad or desperate to leave!
I may wear this one tomorrow:
This one is most definitely my favourite of the bunch. I think it’s probably slightly earlier in age, judging by the design, than the two necklaces. I would guess late Fifties, early Sixties? I really don’t know though so if anybody who reads this has any ideas or useful links, I would be most appreciative.
Huge thanks to Aidan for taking the pictures for me! Obviously, I can’t take pictures this good…
- A Trip Out to Hebden Bridge (littleowlski.wordpress.com)
We moved about a month and a half ago, and apart from ordering (and receiving) our stove, we’ve yet to start decorating the house. Last weekend, we moved up into the loft room – currently named ‘The Cocoon’ – in readiness of preparations. I’m not sure what Aidan’s got in store for us this weekend; possibly pulling up carpets and stripping wallpaper.
We really want to bring mid-century style to our 1890′s house. We’ve got a stone exterior and lots of original features, which will definitely be staying, so it’s going to be a tricky task to merge the two style together successfully. Luckily, we’ve got a few magazines featuring just the kind of style we’re after.
I adore the sofa in the picture above and I’m pretty sure that the crockery set in the sideboard is a Midwinter one. There’s something about mid-century design and style that seems to have lasted well; thankfully, more and more people are starting to appreciate it. Unfortunately though, this means that prices are going up as well.
Woman’s Own, Thursday March 15th 1956 featured a pull out booklet on Home decorating ideas. Some of the fabrics, wallpapers and furniture are fantastic:
Some of the prints are just amazing. I keep scouring Ebay but to no avail. I’m either going to have to be prepared to part with the money for something authentic, or grit my teeth and get something more modern. There are some good contemporary wallpapers and fabrics which offer a very similar style, in keeping with the true mid-century style. We’d just rather have the real thing, then we could look like this couple:
Hopefully, by keeping our eyes open and taking our time, we’ll be able to put all of our inspiration to good use and find the perfect pieces, wallpapers, paints and curtains to put our mark on our new house. Lots of fun along the way, too!
There are some beautiful covers and images from the 1950s contained within the pages of my vintage Woman’s Own magazines:
There are so many gorgeous images in these Christmas specials that I just can’t show them all. I took nearly a hundred pictures! So, I will choose my favourites to wish you all Merry Christmas with. Huge thanks and best wishes to everyone who has followed my blog over the last few years. I hope these pictures help get you into the festive mood for tomorrow.
The advertisers of the 1950s seemed to promote a ‘fake realism’ quite strongly. By that I mean, that each image seems intended to portray a realistic lifestyle want or need but quite often in a fake-looking way. Christmas seems to give them an excuse to release some imaginative advertisements; yet for some of them, I can’t help but feel it’s an excuse to ‘bung’ on a few Christmas graphics and see how it sells:
This next advert was a very pleasant surprise when I was searching the magazines this morning. As a child, Enid Blyton was my absolute favourite author. I have very many happy memories of sitting reading The Famous Five, The Naughtiest Girl, The Enchanted Tree, Malory Towers, The Magic Wishing Chair and many, many more of her books.
My favourite advert is probably this one:
I just love how it’s one of the least Christmas-related products ever, yet Kia-Ora did a grand job of popping some Christmas graphics next to their bottle of squash and suddenly, even I want to buy a bottle of it for tomorrow!
A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to be asked by the lovely people at Obsessionistas if they could feature my collection of vintage women’s magazines on their site. The full interview and gallery can be seen at their website here.
Obsessionistas is a beautiful website run by Helen and Graham Powell. They feature quirky and interesting collections by people from all different walks of life. Some of my favourite collections they have featured in the past include air stewardess uniforms, harmonicas, West German pottery, brooches and post-modern design.
Once again, huge thanks from me to Helen and Graham for asking me to be a part of it; I feel very privileged. Here are some of the covers from my collection they featured:
- LittleOwlSki Review: Midcentury Magazine (littleowlski.wordpress.com)
It’s been a little while since I’ve done a ‘Big Pot, Little Pot’ post, but thanks to the powers of my wonderful other half, I’ve got not one, but two sets of BPLP to share with you.
He’s even made these lovely pictures for me to show off the vases in their best light. These two are not exactly matching, but they are both of the same glaze. It’s a gorgeous 1950s Scheurich glaze: mottled grey background with incised stripes of yellow, pink, turquoise and the black with a zigzag detail. The smaller one is a 271 by Heinz Siery, whilst the larger is a whopping 270-50. We found the big one in Germany; it’s the first ’50s piece that Aidan has really liked – it was him that actually bought the 271 in the same glaze!
These two are a bit of a cheat BPLP really: I’m going off the pattern being the same rather than the same pot in different sizes. The smaller, blue one is a Jasba 1640-28 and the larger, red one is 1641-45. Interestingly, the form numbers for both the Scheurich and the Jasba are only one different, and it appears to be the handle on each one that shows a variation. We only noticed that the Jasbas were matching this afternoon as I was hoovering up! It’s not surprising that we don’t spot these things with the amount of stuff we have.
We’ve been to Romily and Hyde this afternoon for a charity shop hunt. Not much found in either place really, a couple of books, a retro 80s Jacques Vert top for me and a retro spaghetti tin. The weather is utterly horrendous, but I am getting a little bit excited about the potential for snow and -20 degrees weather in a few weeks’ time. We’re going to Devon at half-term and I would love an early snow week! Tomorrow, it’s Ghostpoet with some friends from work and, if I can persuade Aidan, the Vintage Village at Stockport in the morning. He’s making us homemade pizzas at the moment so maybe if I pronounce them delicious (which they will be anyway!), then I’ll be able persuade him to take me to the VV in the morning… we’ll see.
- Big Pot… (littleowlski.wordpress.com)
I’m teaching ‘Treasure Island’ to my Year Eights at the moment, and they’re struggling to get to grips with the basic storyline, as we – unfortunately – don’t have time to read the whole book. So, last week I was looking for a quick summary on Youtube to show them and found this:
Well, I loved it thanks to the retro, Mid Century design. And my class seemed to like it too!
This version of ‘Treasure Island’ was part of a series of cartoons based on myths, folklore, legends and historical characters and some original stories by Thornton Burgess. They were produced in 1960 by a company called New World productions, using original children’s records as the soundtrack and setting the cartoons to the records. About 106 animations were produced in total. Many of them can be found on Youtube, and a partial episode list can be found here at Wikipedia, also where I found most of the information about the company.
Before I bring on the beautiful images, I should tell you I’ve really struggled to find any information on Gerry Fancett. I just can’t believe that an artist, a fantastic illustrator, who was so prolific and created such beautiful images can disappear from the public consciousness with half a century.
It seems a little strange to begin with a picture from Christmas, especially in the midst of an Indian Summer (thanks, by the way, to the tweeps who led me to the meaning of this phrase!), but this picture shows so much about public perception of family life in the 1950s. It is such a stereotypical picture: the perfect children and stylish parents. I particularly like the matching grey shoes and hair of the mother.
The Christmas theme continues… Perhaps I should have saved these pictures until nearer the time! Well, if the shops can start putting out their Christmas stock now, then I can do the blog equivalent. Love ‘Prue’s’ jewellery and the way the two men are looking at her rather than the tree.
Some of the pictures aren’t as brightly coloured in the magazines, presumably it was more expensive to use more colours. I’m not as keen on this particular picture, but I do like the use of pink and white. This picture is much more to my liking:
There’s something about the faces that I don’t like here though; I don’t think the girl’s facial features are in proportion somehow. The woman in ‘An Exile in Soho’ doesn’t look right either. Thankfully, some of the other pictures are much better.
This picture I’ve featured before:
It still makes me smile to look at this one: it really does seem as if he’s about to conk her over the head with what looks like a policeman’s baton. I think it’s actually an umbrella.
My final two pictures are my favourites.
It’s the story behind this one that captures me; the romance of it. You can see in the woman’s eyes that she loves this man, yet something is troubling her. Perhaps it’s the last time they can see each other?
I adore this picture. My eyes are captivated by her stunning dress, the rosy pinkness and sparkles cascading down the front. One day, I will find the occasion where I can wear a dress like that.
All I’ve managed to find about Fancett is that he worked at Grestock & Marsh in the mid ’60s, thanks to a page on a colleague of his Frank Haseler. Today’s Inspiration also has some information and artwork on some more of his colleagues here. It would be good to find out some more about Fancett, but like so many of these illustrators, it seems that time has not been a great preserver.
The Mid Century Era, particularly the 1950s, is quickly becoming my favourite era: along with the rest of Mad Men obsessed public! I’ve always loved this decade, the atomic prints, fantastic design and colour palette of grey, turquoise, mustard…
What’s strange then is that West German Pottery from this era has only recently started to shine in my eyes. Previously, I was always drawn to the bright oranges and reds of the ’60s, or the really crusty ‘Fat Lava’ pieces. However, as my taste for interiors evolves more towards the Mid Century asthetic, the clean lines and stylish forms of the ’50s are beginning to come into their own.
There are so many things I want at the moment, but with a house full of West German pottery and various other vintage treasures, we’ve really got nowhere to squeeze anything else. Doesn’t stop me looking though…
- Tretchikoff Style Heads
- Mid Century Print
- 1950s Silk Print Bag
- Maio Vintage Print
- Louis Shabner ‘Glamour Girl’ Print
- Tretchikoff Style Lamp Base
Joe De Mers (1910-1988) was an American production artist who spent most of the 1930s working at Warner Brothers, creating production art, before moving onto illustration. In New York, he found massive success with the Charles E. Cooper studio, where he became one of their star artists. His work has appeared in Woman’s Own and Woman in Great Britain, as well as becoming a regular in The Saturday Evening Post, McCalls and The Ladies Home Journal. (Lifestyle Illustration of the ’60s. Edited by Rian Hughes. 2010)
These pictures are not to everybody’s taste: there’s an interesting argument here about their artistic merits. For me, not being a trained artist or really having a clue what I’m talking about, they are enough to bring me happiness when I look at them. I do find them pretty to look at and, really, what’s so terribly wrong about that?
“She had tried to forget him, knowing he would bring her nothing but heartbreak. But as he played that night, she heard the music pouring forth the old, old magic of a love song.”
How could she expect him to return her love, when she was afraid to show she even cared?
My favourite caption accompanies this one:
Fathers are Such Fun. They should be, they don’t have to cope with the children all day!
It’s quite different from his usual style, but it is from a much later period and the story it accompanies is also quite unusual in it’s tone. Usually, they’re about women and men falling in love in various circumstances – not about a married couple coping with their children. Perhaps it reflects the change in viewpoint between the 1950s and 1960s?
Not only was Joe De Mers one of the more famous and proflific illustrators, he also mentored other well-known artists. There are some fantastic sources of information on him around the internet. Some excellent places to continue with are:
- Today’s Inspiration Blog
- American Art Archives - Page on Pepsi ads featuring Joe De Mers
- Curtis Publishing – Leading Ladies which also has a free pdf download featuring some of Joe De Mers’ artwork.
- Pinups by Joe De Mers