Tuesday 6 August 2013

Frank Bellamy and "Cover Story: Radio Times at 90"

Cover Story: Radio Times at 90
at the Museum of London

I spent a delightful day with my wife and 24 year old son walking the streets of London as we headed to the Radio Times at 90 exhibition which is on until 3 November 2013 and is free to visit. Where? The wonderful Museum of London.

The Museum's exhibition page (from which the above picture is taken) states:

From iconic covers and Doctor Who, to historic broadcasts and never-before-seen BBC archives; the Museum of London is celebrating the 90th anniversary of Radio Times. The exhibition charts the history of the British weekly TV and radio listings publication and its close association with the history of broadcasting in Britain. Highlights include original Radio Times covers, a 1920s Marconi valve radio and a 50th anniversary display for Doctor Who, which has been a regular in the Radio Times since 1964.

What's the connection with Bellamy? Well, I was contacted with a query a few months ago, about whether I knew anyone who owned an original Bellamy Radio Times illustration. I don't know how the organizers decided who to talk to or which artwork of those I know I suggested they might use, but one collector's piece ended up in the exhibition.

The covers on the top row, you can just about see here, are reproductions and Doctor Who, unsuprisingly in this the 50th anniversary year, gets a space of his own. I don't want to spoil all your fun by showing you all the pictures I took with my Samsung Galaxy Ace but the big drawing in the middle is bound to get die-hard Dalek fans excited. But for me, I was there for Bellamy art. The two pieces at the bottom right hand corner are both by Bellamy.  Here are two more photos taken in far from perfect lighting conditions.

Radio Times (16/12/1972 - 29/12/1972)
Doctor Who and the Sea Devils [Omnibus edition], p.82

Radio Times (30/08/1975 - 05/09/75)
Doctor Who - Terror of the Zygons, p.17

There's not much original art in the exhibition, but those by Mark Thomas (the "Singing Detective" and the very recent "Call the midwife") are gorgeous as well as the laughing cat cover for the 'Humor' edition of 1936 by John Gilroy (who also did famous Guiness adverts) and a Nevinson original too. But I loved the Reinganum art too. I have always suspected that Bellamy was inspired by him. Their work appeared in similar places, such as Lilliput, and of course the Radio Times and both had a graphic design approach in my opinion. Unfortunately there's not a lot about him on the Net, thus ensuring I have another artist for my little retirement projects!

Here are his Daleks:
Reinganum's Daleks from Radio Times (9 June 1969)

If none of this has persuaded you to visit the Museum how about you can take your photo with a Dalek

And I haven't said a word about how really interactive the exhibitions are and how easy to walk from Liverpool Street the Museum is.

Other articles on the exhibition


Anonymous said...

I am proud possessor of two pieces of original Frank Bellamy art work from the Radio Times - a black-and-white illustration of Bridge on the River Kwai featuring Alec Guinneas and a large colour poster of legendary aviators The Wright Brothers, featuring their plane which flew the Atlantic. This piece also features a telegram of congratulations.

Tony Smith

Norman Boyd said...

You're certainly a very lucky man. My favourite of the RT would be Bridge and How the West was won! Thanks for commenting Tony, any chance of a scan/photo for me to share?