9 August 2010

A feast for lovers of Lettering at the Shuttleworth Collection

Yesterday I went to visit the Shuttleworth Collection at Swiss Garden, near Biggleswade, Bedfordshire. Its a fantastic place, full of early aeroplanes that are simply a wonder with their tensioned wires, varnished fabric skins and wooden carcasses. Labels written by retired chaps from long ago exist alongside neatly digitally printed text and image. Apart from the beauty of the planes there are fantastic logos and lettering everywhere: on the side of planes, on tin cans of varnish, enamel car badges right through to carved propeller made in honour of service by men who have flown and fought. Its a rich place to feed the eye and think about history too, of the men who flew those first aeroplanes and how much was literally flying by the seat of their pants! There is a curious light there in the hangar - kind of warm and other worldly on a humid day in August. The planes are flown, so there are drip trays under most of them and they feel tangibly alive... like a little of their blood has been spilt. I can only imagine that when the lights are off and the hangars are empty of visitors and the engineers, the planes shift just a little to chatter to each other.

So here is a little taster of the lettering and numbers delights I found. Have a look on my Facebook page for me photos of the planes themselves.... and whenever you can - visit the Shuttleworth Collection. Its a magical place apart.

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