60s souvenirware

60s souvenirware
made in Australia

I love souvenirware! It’s so of its time – and kitschiness is guaranteed. Here we have two pieces from Queensland. An ashtray- although no indication of such in its form – until you read the text:
Surfers Paradise
Please use this bloody ashtray- its [sic] paid for, the carpet isn’t!

Ah Surfers Paradise! The name says it all- endless beaches of white sand where surfers come to experience paradise. And smoke cigarettes, pausing only to stub them out on the hotel carpet.

And – the rolling pin. Nothing says Kuranda [‘the Village in the Rainforest’] like a miniature rolling pin. Perhaps the pin is made of rainforest timber? Quelle horreur! No, wait, that’s only pine.

These two Queensland souvenirs are for sale: $AU15

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60s platter

Westminster ‘Sierra’ platter
made in Australia, 1962

Despite both exotic names [Westminster, evoking England] and Sierra [evoking America] this platter with it’s gay 60s abstract flowers was made in Australia.

Westminster started making souvenirware under the name Stanley Rogers & Sons in Melbourne in 1954. They imported blank ceramic pieces from Japan which they then decorated locally. By the 60s the name was changed to Westminster Fine China – to suggest a longer and more illustrious history – and a much larger range of tea sets and dinner sets where produced.  These were decorated with bright, abstract flower arrangements [sometimes in very 60s and 70s gaudy colours.] On the whole, this platter in the ‘Sierra’ pattern is quite restrained.

The platter is in good vintage condition, and is for sale: $25

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Viewmaster Junior Projector

Viewmaster Junior Projector, 50s, USAViewmaster Junior Projector
made in Portland, Oregon 1957

The first Viewmaster was made in the 1930s by William Gruber, who was fascinated with Nineteenth Century stereoscopes. He partnered with Sawyers Co. to produce viewers which debuted at the 1939 World’s Fair.

This ‘Junior’ projector was made in 1957 – at the same time all the classic bakelite hand-held Viewmasters were made. These were called the Model C Viewer and were made from 1946-1955.  But while the hand-helds view reels in stereoscope, this projector- using the same reels- projects in monoscope. The projector is cast metal and bakelite, and has a similar level mechanism to advance the reels as the hand-helds, and all reels made are compatible. The projector comes in its original box, which is in good vintage condition.

Along with this fantastic junior ‘toy’ [every child in the 50s wanted one!] come a great range of original 50s reels. The range from Australia themes [“5010 The Great Barrier Reef”, “5121 Adelaide & Vicinity”] to American themes [“291 California Wild Flowers”, “157 New York City”] and for some odd reason, a single Movie Star themed: “Gene Autry and his wonder horse Champion”. That’s a real corker!

The Junior Projector is for sale: $AU120. For a full list of the reels, please email : reretroblog.gmail.com

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Dirty Dogs of Paris

The Dirty Dogs of Paris,
Lithograph by Boris O’Klein, Paris, 1930s

This is a framed souvenir print from Paris, in the 30s. The lithograph – featuring dogs each with a “human personality”, was hugely popular and printed [and hand-coloured] in the thousands. This one was bought to Australia as a gift in the late 1930s, and apparently was much admired and giggled over, due to the risqué scene. Oh those French artists!

Boris O’Klein [real name Arthur Klein, a Russian emigre] was an illustrator and artist in Paris, but he was most well-known for his Dirty Dogs print series. Boris [1833-1985] lived to a ripe old age, and the Dirty Dog prints were still being produced in the 70s, albeit by protégés and not Boris himself.

The print is signed ‘Chacun son tour’ [“each turn”]- Copyright by O’Klein, Chamarandle [S.&O.] Eauforte orginate. It’s still in its original frame and glass, and the hand-colouring is as vibrant as the day it was painted.

The print is for sale: $AU75

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Studio Anna kitsch-fest

Studio Anna wall plates & salt and pepper shakers
made in Australia 1950s

I am particularly drawn to kitsch pottery that has landscape or botanical images…so souvenir ware from the 50s is right up my street! I have posted Studio Anna pottery previously- you might remember that it was situated right near where I now live, in inner-Sydney.

This very kitschy souvenirware was very popular in the 50s – and then it went out of fashion [in a big way] in the 70s and 80s. Rightly so, the appropriation – and kitschisation- of indigenous motifs was debated and condemned. Now, in this post-modernist era, enough time has passed and enough discussion ensued that we can now look on these very dated images with fondness and nostalgia.

The wall plates have a hanging device on the back, so they can be – hung on a wall; here the cities of Adelaide and Albury are celebrated.  The salt and pepper shakers celebrate Moree. A nice start to a Studio Anna collection.

This collection is for sale: $AU80

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O Canada!

Timber wall plaques,
made in Hong Kong 1960s

O Canada! Moose and squirrels [national animals] and cliché all around! If this was an Australian homage- it would be aboriginals and kangaroos. But that gilt is universal in its 3D kitschiness – I do so love it.

The timber in the first plaque is real- while only laminate in the second. But the 3D reality- really, does it get any better? For lovers of kitsch, no matter where you live! Imagine a whole wall – a collection of these babies….

Both plaques are in good vintage condition, and ready to hang. And they are for sale: $AU25

Rustic 60s Dutch scene

Dutch scene, ceramic wall hanging
made in Japan 1960s

Here is a fabulous 3D ceramic wall hanging: a lovely Dutch scene, made, you know in Japan in the 60s. A bit of cross-cultural referencing.

It’s ready to hang- with hole and wire on the back…but can stand on its own two feet too. Very cleverly, those weird crossed logs on the base are legs!

The whole thing is 180 x 130mm, by 30mm deep. Hang or stand – the choice it up to you!

The Dutch scene is for sale: $AU35

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Australian linens [sold]

Australian linens
made in Australia, 1960s-70s

Here is a selection of Australian souvenir tea towels from the 60s and 70s. I love the colours and graphics of these linens- and since they have never been used [they are ‘new old stock’]- they remain vibrant. As souvenirware, the graphics are of Australian towns and feature Australian flora and fauna. Wattle, grevillea and koalas abound.

I bought these tea towels with the intention of making cushion covers [see examples in posts, below] – but came to the realisation that actually I have far too many and nobody could actually use a thousand pillows, not even in the most optimistic of circumstances.

The set comprises ten ‘as new’ linens, and they are for sale: $AU50

Australia in the #40s and #50s

Australian Souvenirware,
made in Czechoslovakia, England, Australia 1940-50s

A selection of hand-coloured, photographic transfer prints of various Australian cities and landmarks made in the 40s and 50s. What a great wall feature they’d make!

Featured herein are beaches, streets, bridge and bridge approaches and traffic bridges, parks, clocks, landmarks, harbours, town halls, parliament houses and rivers [and I quote] :

  • Harbour Beach, Manly
  • Prince Street, Grafton
  • Belmont, Lake Macquarie
  • Bridge Approach, Shoalhaven River from Showground, Nowra
  • Bridge, Shoalhaven River, Nowra
  • Traffic Bridge, Macksville
  • Machattie Park, Bathurst
  • Dr Evershed Memorial Clock, Bega NSW
  • Bottle Rock, Coonabarabran
  • Ulladulla Harbour, NSW
  • Town Hall, Rockhampton QLD
  • Perth, WA
  • Parliament House, Canberra
  • Murray River, Corowa.

Makers are all noted on the backstamps: Victoria, IBC, Royal Grafton Bone China, Royal Stafford Bone China, Westminster China [the last, weirdly from Australia.]

All fifteen plates are in great vintage condition and provide a snapshot of important landmarks in Australia, as judged by tourists in the 40s and 50s. Or – as I mentioned – massed together they would make a fantastic wall feature.

The souvenirware plates are for sale: $AU120

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70s fishy platter

Fish platter
made in Japan, 1970s

I don’t collect much from the 70s; – 40s to 60s are more my thang; but this fish platter caught my eye. It’s quite 60s in it’s modelling- but definitely 70s in it’s decoration. The recesses between the fins and the tail make a clever handle; and the arc of the handle is beautifully repeated in miniature to form a little fishy mouth. Superb styling!

I can’t find a makers mark- it just has a ‘made in Japan’ sticker on the back. I expect that these fish platters were exported all around the world in the 70s- everyone has fish, right? I’ve teamed the fish with some 70s Crystal Craft coasters…keeping with the 70s theme.

The fish platter is in excellent vintage condition, and is for sale: $AU35

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