What d’ye LACK?

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Identifier: 2014047 WHAT D’YE LACK?

What d’ye LACK? The Times Publishing Company, Ltd. [1936] 24 pages plus cover, all on heavy stock.
Anonymous. Illustrations by Aubrey Hammond. Size: 216 x 279 mm

Those of us who are of a certain age will remember when the front page of The Times had no headlines, pictures, or even news stories, but only classified advertisements. The proprietors finally abandoned this tradition in 1966. If the presentation of the newspaper was somewhat dour in times past, it shouldn’t be assumed that the marketing was always unimaginative. This brochure from 1936 is based on a selection of amusing snippets from the pages of ‘The Thunderer’ dating from the 18th and 19th centuries.

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The intention was that readers would be entertained by the contents, and then realise that The Times was still an effective place to advertise; the final page of the brochure giving display rates. ‘What d’ye lack?” – a repeated phrase in Oscar Wilde’s fairy tale The Fisherman and His Soul – was an old street-seller’s cry.

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The quotes from old advertisements include one for a Villa ‘near Tooting’, illustrated by Pan sitting on a guidepost showing the way to nearby Balham; long before Peter Sellers made it “funny”. Presumably the quaint 19th-century idea of an ‘elegant villa’ in the London suburb – described in the advertisement as being ‘in the country’ – which by 1936 was just about filled with sprawling building development of cheap housing, was an amusing thought. Ironically, there’s many an elegant villa in Tooting (and even more in Balham) that today has an asking price of £4 million and upwards.

Aubrey Lindsay Hammond, (1894 -1940) attended Byam Shaw School of Art in England, and The Academie Julian in Paris. He designed posters for the Underground Group and London Transport, 1925-1934. Dr Chris Mullen writes:
“[Hammond] was an early example of an English designer prepared for any commercial challenge that came his way – book jackets, illustrations commercial and interpretative, posters, art direction for films, and designs for the stage – sets and costumes.”

One of his most famous works was the striking cover for the 1927 Readers Library edition of Thea von Harbou’s novel Metropolis.
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This two-colour job for The Times is quite scarce. The National Art Library (V&A) has a copy, but that’s the only one listed in WorldCat.

Condition: Generally good. Two small stains on front cover. Some foxing throughout. Mark on back cover (which is blank).

Price: £34.00 plus postage. s-herbert@easynet.co.uk

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