This is a lovely piece of labour movement ephemera - the contribution card of a member of the Nottingham Typographical Association, the local printers' trade union. The card was a way of demonstrating that you were up-to-date in paying your union dues. And as you can see, it was the secretary's job to be in the pub every day but Sunday at a particular time to pay union provident benefits - principally their out-of-work benefit.
In the days of letter press, the printers were labour aristocrats. And as you would expect of printers, their contribution card is clearly and elegantly produced. This one is in stunningly good condition for a document almost 130 years old.
The 1893 card only seems to record the member W. Allen's 10/- (50p) entrance fee to gain membership of the society. But he was still a member of the union - now national and called the Typograhical Association - fully forty years later, as the red contribution card demonstrates.
How's that for loyalty!
I've done it again - bought a book for its cover. But it's an exceptionally vibrant jacket design, I hope you agree.
This is J.B. Priestley's excellent panoramic London novel Angel Pavement. It was published in 1930, and while it didn't quite repeat the emphatic success of Good Companions, which appeared the previous year, it sold well.
The cover was designed by Agnes Pinder Davis. The first edition has just a little taster of her artwork, as you can see below - the cover which gives much more space to the design is from an edition which appeared two years later in 1932.
Angel Pavement follows the employees of Twigg and Dersingham, a veneer and inlay firm, to their homes in Stoke Newington, Kentish Town and Maida Vale, and their intersecting lives in the office at 8 Angel Pavement (perhaps a riff on Finsbury Pavement).
As is so often the case, much less is known of Agnes Pinder Davis. But she seems to have been an exceptional artist - noted for her ceramic design, and commissioned to provide what would now be called multi-media art work for the new luxury liner, the Queen Mary.
Her range of styles was remarkable - on some occasions seeming to take inspiration from Aubrey Beardsley, while the work for the cover of Angel Pavement (and I am not clear whether this was a commission or the use of an already existing composition) is more conventional but also joyous and enlivening.
As far as I can make out Agnes Pinder Davis was born in Surrey in 1895 as Lilian Agnes Lambert and died in 1973. You can see some examples of her abstract designs here. And there's more about her very contrasting designs to accompany Shelley's poetry here.
If anyone knows more about Agnes Pinder Davis then do let me know or comment on this blog.
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