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The 70th Anniversary Christmas Card
The Most Fateful Date in the History of The World
As we reach the close of the Society’s Seventieth Anniversary year, it is fitting that an iconic image relating to its founding in 1951 appears on this celebratory Christmas card. It is the official poster advertising the Sherlock Holmes Exhibition organised by the Borough of St. Marylebone as its contribution to the Festival of Britain.
It was, of course, at the end of a hard day’s work at Marylebone Library – ‘Tuesday 25th February…the most fateful date in the history of the world’ – that C. T. (‘Jack’) Thorne, Anthony Howlett, Freda Pearce, Colin Prestige and Bill Williams crossed the road to Allen’s Bar (formerly the Allsop House pub) for a restorative. ‘Here, under the influence of alcohol, a brilliant idea was evolved’, continued Tony Howlett: to wit, resuscitating the Sherlock Holmes Society that had fallen defunct in the 1930s.
The poster was designed by Bruce Angrave (1914-83), who had studied at Chiswick Art School and the Central School of Art and Design. A member of the Society of Industrial Artists, he created posters for railway companies in the 1930s and worked with the Ministry of Information during World War Two.
The journal Art and Industry perfectly summed up his style: ‘… clear, uncluttered line, (reducing) everything to the simplest possible terms, and (investing) his work with gaiety and derisive wit that is unmistakable’. Angrave’s famous image of Sherlock Holmes was also used on the front cover of the Exhibition catalogue (with his stylised signature added) and adapted for the show’s main publicity leaflet.