Advertising and the Artist: The Work and Collection of Ashley Havinden
Dean Gallery, Edinburgh
15 October 2003 - 18 January 2004
Ashley Havinden was a major force in the development of advertising during the 20th century. It is useful to recall an essay he wrote as a prologue to the book by Michael Frostick, Advertising and the Motor Car, published in 1970. Having joined the important advertising firm WS Crawford Ltd in 1922 aged 19, where he remained all his career, he was fortunate to ride the wave of the 'typographical Renaissance' which was an international phenomenon from the very start in Britain and the United States. Havinden went from the Crawford studio in his lunch hours, to the British Museum and educated himself among the rare books and manuscripts there. Later, he became a firm friend of Moholy-Nagy. Havinden's work on the Chrysler contracts showed early distinction in the 1925-1927 period in Europe. The design for the Chrysler Plymouth was exemplary. Havinden quotes here the architect Wells Coates, who had said to him, ‘the problem for creative people is not so much the ability to do good work but the ability to create the conditions in which it can be done'. The illustrated press advertisement of 1940 by Havinden for Ford, demonstrates an affinity with the wartime imagery of Eric Ravilious (see Eric Ravilious). Perhaps one could add that Ashley Havinden and Eric Ravilious have both been accorded less than full cognisance by posterity, a reality which these two exhibitions, in their separate ways, do much to emphasise.