Charles Paine (1895-1967)
Summer in Welwyn (1939)
76.5 x 50.5 cm (30 x 20 in)
Printed Baynard Press
Issued by the Estate Office of Welwyn Garden City, Great Britain
Provenance: the family of the artist.
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In this poster a grasshopper is playing a flute and notes are floating up to join the butterflies. Meanwhile the bee is seen hard at work. This is a reference to the story ‘The Bee and the Grasshopper’ – which is similar to Aesop’s ‘The Ant and the Grasshopper.’ During the summer the bee works industriously to gather food and prepare for the winter; meanwhile the grasshopper plays merrily, but when winter comes the grasshopper’s idleness means he has nothing stored and dies.
Born in Salford in 1895, Paine was educated at Salford School of Art, Manchester School of Art, and the Royal College of Art, the latter from 1915-1919 being interrupted by war service. Initially designing stained glass for Guthrie and Wells in Glasgow, he subsequently became a prolific designer, most notably of posters – some of his finest work being for London Transport. He lived in Longcroft Lane in Welwyn Garden City during the 1930s, later moving to Jersey where he produced watercolours that were made into postcards. He died in 1967.
Whilst living in Welwyn Garden City – a new town created in the 1930s – he was appointed by Welwyn Garden City Ltd to ‘take responsibility for the creative angle of the organisation’s publicity’ and did so by creating a series of posters encouraging Londoners to come to live there. The ‘Seasons’ posters were particularly well received and requests came from all over the globe for copies of the poster. The local paper reported: ‘The Garden City’s latest poster Spring in Welwyn is still attracting considerable notice. The popularity of posters can often be gauged by the number of requests for copies. The public relations officer tells me that applications for copies have come from all parts of the country, even from as far north as Westmorland. Among the applications last week was one from a student at Newnham College, Cambridge.’ It was even reported that architectural decorators in Canada had requested copies.