Summer 2021

Captain litho

Barnett Freedman: Designs for Modern Britain

Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, UK14 March – 1 November 2020Curator: Emma Mason, Catalogue: Barnett Freedman: Designs for Modern Britain, £24.95.

Design: Adrian Hunt, Editor: John Jervis, with essays by Ian Rogerson, Gill Clarke, Michael Twyman, Emma Mason and Fraser Muggeridge

Barnett Freedman (1901-56) was an artist / designer from a Jewish immigrant family who grasped the technology of his time and made it his own. Freedman’s auto-lithographs conjure a spirit of mid-century Englishness with such warm familiarity that it is easy to forget how non-establishment he was – the designer of the King’s Golden Jubilee stamp (1935) whose own parents had arrived from Russia a few years before he was born. Freedman’s early years and youth were marked by ill health and poverty, but he nevertheless acquired a substantial education, together with a gift for leadership and skills in music, drama and art. His fellow students nicknamed him ‘Soc’, short for Socrates. At the height of his career, printers called him ‘Captain’ …

Barnett Freedman’s melancholy cover and spine for the first edition of Memoirs of an Infantry Officer (1930) by Siegfried Sassoon.
Top. The Darts Champion (1956) is one of Freedman’s last works, a Guinness lithograph that shows its subject from the point of view of a pub darts board.

John L. Walters, editor of Eye, London

Read the full version in Eye no. 101 vol. 26, 2021

EYE98

Eye is the world’s most beautiful and collectable graphic design journal, published for professional designers, students and anyone interested in critical, informed writing about graphic design and visual culture. It is available from all good design bookshops and online at the Eye shop, where you can buy subscriptions and single issues.

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