Wild Rose 2012 Wrap-up

Thanks to everyone who stopped by to chat or listen to me babble. It was great to see so many faces from last year and a bit surprising that so many came with items for sale. My special thanks go to Bernie for once again working so hard to give us a hassle-free show, as well as all the other volunteers from Wild Rose.

After a very busy first day, Saturday was a bit slower and I got a chance to look around.

A Hit. I picked up a 1934 London Underground map on the hope that it was an early edition. Henry Charles (Harry) Beck, an engineering draughtsman with London Transport (LT), first designed his revolutionary schematic plan while laid off as part of an “economy drive” in 1931. Although London Transport had begun a consolidation of services using modernist design as a key element, Beck’s map was considered “too revolutionary” when first presented. In January 1933, LT relented and issued 500 copies of Beck’s new map. The public loved them and LT issued six more editions that year. Mine is the second edition for 1934 with the extra space. Given the ephemeral nature of these maps, I expect that mine, though not first edition, is still somewhat rare. 

Beck received little for his efforts despite continuing to refine his design throughout his life. He was paid fi9 x 6"9 x 6"ve guineas (£5.25) and his name was tucked away in the bottom left corner of the map. Credit for the map’s clarity and simplicity initially went to LT’s Chief Executive, Frank Pick, who had led the consolidation and given the system its distinctive look. Over the last 20 years Beck has begun to be recognized for his accomplishment and in 2001 Transport for London began crediting him with the original idea for what is today considered one of Britain’s greatest designs of the 20th century.1

A Miss. A hunch I did not act on was a small religious print in a frame marked as “18th C.” I thought it showed the D'ohD'ohbaptism of the Infant with members of the Jesuits adoring. My Latin is pretty bad, so the title, 'LITANIAE DOM: NOSTRI IESU.', didn’t help much. What intrigued me was the credit on the bottom: 'Hieronymus Wierx fecit et excudit'. The name seemed to ring a bell and I was pretty sure that bell had been cast well before the 1700s. Once home I realized I was right about the date but wrong about the subject matter. I really have to get a laptop.

Thanks again, one and all. Hope to see you next year, if not sooner.


1 The most comprehensive history of the Beck Underground Map is the BBC4 programme, Design Classics: The London Underground Map. (1987, 26 min.)