Colours: Decoration of to-day, no.3, January 1936, Written, illustrated and produced by Mr. Chermayeff thumbnail 1
Colours: Decoration of to-day, no.3, January 1936, Written, illustrated and produced by Mr. Chermayeff thumbnail 2
+12
images
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Request to view at the National Art Library

Colours: Decoration of to-day, no.3, January 1936, Written, illustrated and produced by Mr. Chermayeff

Trade Catalogue
1936 (printed and published)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

22 illustrated pages, 7 in colour, including one coloured cellophane plate, plans and elevations ; 29 x 22 cm.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Spiral binding of single leaves with screen-printed acetate overlay to front and back covers.
Brief Description
Trade catalogue, Colours, Serge Chermayeff, London, Nobel Chemical Finishes, 1936.
Physical Description
22 illustrated pages, 7 in colour, including one coloured cellophane plate, plans and elevations ; 29 x 22 cm.

Dimensions
  • Length: 286mm (closed) (Note: Measured in Book Conservation measuring box)
  • Width: 226mm (closed) (Note: Measured in Book Conservation measuring box)
  • Depth: 7mm (closed) (Note: Measured in Book Conservation measuring box)
Styles
Production typeMass produced
Gallery Label
  • From ‘Printing a modern world’ Gallery 102, V&A, 2018 Colours: decoration of today, no. 3 London, 1936 The streamlined building with flat roof and large glass windows is typical of Chermayeff's architectural works, which included the iconic De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill. Colour was used to soften the perceived clinical look of Modernist buildings for a wary English public. Chermayeff completed this brochure for a paint company with cutting-edge colour printing, a printed cellulose acetate cover and spiral binding. Screenprint and stencilling Written, illustrated and produced by Serge Chermayeff (1900–96) Issued by Nobel Chemical Finishes Ltd Printed by the Kynoch Press in Birmingham Museum no. 38041800558231(2018)
  • From 'Inspiration by Design: Word and Image from the National Art Library at the V&A', State Library of Victoria, Melbourne and State Library of New South Wales, Sydney, 2015 Serge Chermayeff (1900–96) Colours (Decoration of Today, no. 3) London, 1936 The modernist architect Serge Chermayeff wrote, illustrated and designed this brochure for a paint company. It incorporates techniques characteristic of the 1930s, such as spiral binding and colour printing on transparent plastic pages. The company appears as forward thinking and in touch with the latest technologies. Published by Nobel Chemical Finishes Printed brochure with plastic cover Donated by Nobel Chemical Finishes Museum no. 38041800558231 (2015)
  • From 'The New Line', De La Warr Pavilion, 2016-17 Colours: Decoration of Today no.3 1936 Designed by Serge Chermayeff (b.1900 Grozny, Russia, d.1996 Wellfleet, Mass., USA) Serge Chermayeff was multi-disciplinary designer and architect. Whilst in Britain (1924-40) he worked on significant projects such as the De La Warr Pavilion, designed with German architect Erich Mendelsohn. Chermayeff was an active member of groups such as the Modern Architectural Research Group (MARS) that supported British-based practitioners who shared the ideals of the European modern movement. This leaflet is a guide to applying colour to modern buildings. On loan from the Victoria and Albert Museum(2016)
Object history
The Jobbing Printing Collection, a collection of ephemera held in the National Art Library (NAL) at the V&A, was developed between 1936 and 1939, when Philip James (then Deputy Keeper at the NAL) requested samples of work from high-profile companies and designers across Britain, Europe and North America. Possibly responding to an article by Beatrice Warde describing an imaginary box of ‘jobs’ that would “display noteworthy new developments in printing”, James’ intention was to create an “open reference collection of commercial typography" and "to exhibit contemporary specimens from time to time so that the trend of typographic design, both in this country and abroad, could be appraised by students of industrial art". It comprises over 6,000 items ranging from handbills to typeface specimen sheets, lettering artwork to colour proofs and brochures. Donors included the companies commissioning and issuing work: significantly the Bauhaus; BBC; GPO and Shell-Mex, but also - among others - Bamberger & Hertz; Embru; Fortnum & Mason and United States Gypsum; as well as advertising agencies like Crawfords and Draeger. Work was also received from printers such as Gebruder Fretz and Hague & Gill, and typefoundries like Bauersche Giesserei and Deberny Peignot. The list of individual designers who responded to James’ request included Havinden; Moholy-Nagy; Sutnar and Tschischold. Categories of material include architecture, broadcasting, costume, interior design, motor industry, food and drink. The bulk of the collection consists of examples from the 1930s, especially 1936 - 1939, with a few items from the 1940s.



The collection is supplemented with material from the 1960s which the Library inherited from the Circulation Department of the Museum after its closure in 1978. The two groups of material stand as historic collections in their own right: the Jobbing Printing Collection is designated a 'closed collection'.

Bibliographic References
  • 'Modern Publicity', 1937-8, p. 94. (NAL pressmark PP.7.P) "ADVERTISER: Nobel Chemical Finishes, Ltd. DESIGNER: Serge Chermayeff, F.R.I.B.A. Prestige advertising to architects and othesr interested in decoration. One of a series of books. Direct response was observed and better results than attained by any previous advertising. To appeal to architects, format and layout was kept simple and free from frills. Gill type preserved formal character. Cover in transparent celluloid overprinted in colour, spirax binding."
  • Powers, Alan 'Serge Chermayeff : designer, architect, teacher' (London : RIBA Publications, 2001) NAL barcode: 38041001046861
  • Exhibited in NAL touring exhibition 'Inspiration by Design: Word and Image from the National Art Library at the V&A', State Library of Victoria, Melbourne, 20 March 2015-14 June 2015 and State Library of New South Wales, Sydney, 8 July 2015-27 Sept. 2015. After the economic crash of 1929–30, commercial graphics were considered a major tool in efforts to stimulate consumption and revive the world economy. In 1936, the Library devised a project to extend its considerable collection of commercial graphics. It solicited samples of work from significant designers throughout Europe and America to create an ‘open reference collection [representing] the trend of typographic design, both in [Britain] and abroad’ for the benefit of students. The idea that graphic art was essential both in business and in shaping consumer taste recalls some of the founding principles of the Museum. A small exhibition, Modern Commercial Typography, publicised the collection. Current but traditional work was displayed next to material that showed the influence of progressive developments in architecture and photography. Simplicity was valued over ornamental detail and typography given a dramatic role. Included in the exhibition were examples of new techniques such as airbrushing and photomontage.
  • Exhibited in 'The new line: works from the Jobbing Printing Collection’ held at the De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill, 10 December 2016 to 12 March 2017 This exhibition of commercial print from the 1930s includes material designed by Serge Chermayeff, Edward McKnight Kauffer, Paul Nash, Eric Ravilious, Graham Sutherland and László Moholy-Nagy, alongside films by Len Lye commissioned by the General Post Office Film Unit and Churchman Cigarettes. Europe in the 1930s underwent enormous social, political, cultural and technological change. To capture some of these changes through contemporary commercial print, Philip James at the National Art Library at the Victoria and Albert Museum developed the ‘Jobbing Printing Collection’. He requested samples of work from high-profile companies, artists and designers in Europe and North America, including items designed by members of the Bauhaus school, made for shops such as Fortnum & Mason, and for companies such as Elizabeth Arden, Shell and Imperial Airways. The New Line presents a selection of items from the NAL’s collection, including lifestyle and trade magazines, beauty catalogues, tourism brochures and a sample chart for stockings. It highlights how the movement of people across borders, often escaping oppressive political regimes, led to the exchange of ideas and aesthetics, and the formation of new expressions of modernity. It also shows how interconnected art, design and industry were throughout the 1930s. ‘The acquisition and display of items of commercial printing positioned the Victoria and Albert Museum directly in the debate on modern design for the manufacture or ‘art and industry’ as it was often termed at the time.’ Alongside material from the V&A National Art Library’s Jobbing Printing Collection are items from private collections. Researcher: Sandy Jones
  • Exhibited in 'Printing a Modern World: commercial graphics of the 1930s' displayed in Gallery 102 at the V&A, 3 February – 19 August 2018 As the world recovered from the economic crash of 1929–30, efforts were made to stimulate consumption and revive the global economy. In the 1930s there were advances in many areas of manufacturing and technology that reached into every aspect of daily life from construction to domestic chores to entertainment. In the UK, a government report championed the involvement of artists in design and manufacturing. The belief that new technologies and commodities would improve daily life was a reflection of the ideas of Modernism. Many designers, and the visionaries in the companies who employed them, regarded their work as an instrument of social service. They also felt that good design and eye-catching promotional material would contribute to commercial success. In this way, the developments in materials, energy, communication, and consumer goods in the 1930s were popularised for a mass market.
Other Numbers
  • JP Box 29 - NAL Pressmark
  • 366030 - Horizon bib. number
Collection
Library Number
38041800558231

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest Feedback

record createdFebruary 26, 2016
Record URL