In 1947, the directors of Lyons turned to Britain’s up and coming young artists and commissioned them to brighten up the interiors of these teashops with a series of poster designs. From 1947-55, three series were issued containing the designs of some 30 artists, including those by LS Lowry, Edward Bawden, William Scott and John Nash.
Just 1500 copies of each plate were made from each design, with almost all posters produced in a quad crown size at 2ft 5in x 3ft 3in (74 x 99cm).
A group of 14 Lyons teashop lithographs (Billiard Saloon by Ruskin Spear is pictured above) from the first and second series, issued in 1947 and 1951, appeared at 1818 Auctioneers (20% buyer’s premium) in Cumbria on June 4. The lot, consigned from a local collector in Kendal, was secured by the London trade at £5000 against a £2000-4000 guide.
“The condition of the posters was good for their age, with only minor tears to the borders. That, combined with the number of posters in the lot, pushed the price up. We expect them to be split and sold on individually,” said 1818 auctioneer David Hunter.
Individual prints from the series crop up with some regularity but group lots are scarcer. In May, Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood sold a set of 10 Lyons Teashop lithographs for £3500, while Stride & Son sold eight in 2015 for £2300.