This book, which I would otherwise have missed were it not for that great cover catching my eye from a shop window in Bath, (hurray for the High Street!) is a gem for those with a love for vintage poster design. Originally published in 2000 to coincide with Smithsonian Institution exhibition Looping the Loop: Posters of Early Flight, it collects over 100 posters from the earliest days of aviation to World War II. A period spanning 1880 to the 1930’s that has given us wonderful examples of the most elegantly designed and illustrated poster celebrating a unique period in history that appears to be full of a powerful sense of competitive achievement. All in the name of man conquering the sky’s.
Willis M. Allen Jr, president of the International Aerospace Hall of Fame and director of the San Diego Aerospace Museum, was the sole provider of the exhibition’s original 32 posters and managed to source a further 70 from private collections and museums around the world, all of which are brilliantly reproduced in the book’s large format, full-page size. Henry Serrano Villard, (1900-1996) previously a United States Ambassador provides an entertaining commentary throughout, detailing the real life events behind each poster, some of which he himself attended.
It’s an outstanding collection of work providing real eye candy for lovers of vintage and Art Deco design, and even though the posters do cover a period marred by two World Wars, they still offer an optimistic view of human achievement, presented in the most charming of ways.
Also recommended and on a similar theme is Posters for the People: Art of the WPA.
Looping The Loop; Posters Of Flight – By Henry Serrano Villard & Willis M. Allen Jr.
W. W. Norton & Co
Hardback 160 pages
34 x 26.6 x 2.7 cm