A lifetime of brush-script problem-solving [EXTRACT]
Advertising And The ArtistThe work and collection of Ashley Havinden
Catalogue published by National Galleries of Scotland, £14.95
Exhibition: The Dean Gallery Edinburgh, 15 Oct 2003-18 Jan 2004
There is a photograph of Ashley Havinden (1903-73), taken for Country Life sometime late in his career, showing him well turned out in a three-piece suit, handkerchief in top pocket and with an immaculately groomed moustache. Perhaps the Major from Fawlty Towers? Or a designer of magnificent flying machines? Anyway, it’s a traditionally British image, and therefore difficult to reconcile with the man as a champion of Modernism in British advertising.
This sizeable collection marks both the centenary of Havinden’s birth and 30 years since the loan of part of his estate to the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art. The show features all Havinden’s best advertising work from his long and distinguished career with W. S. Crawford Ltd – a lifetime of resolving the problems of Pretty Polly, KLM, Simpson, the Milk Marketing Board and Chrysler Cars, among others.
There are also commissioned designs for rugs and textiles for the celebrated Edinburgh Weavers under Alistair Morton, and a number of Havinden’s own paintings, of which the curators note ‘a quintessentially English presentation of Modernism, combining rigid geometric planes and lines with biomorphic motifs’. These sit comfortably alongside the collected work of his friends: Nicholson, Hepworth, Calder, Moore and Scott . . .