Look And Learn



One of the many purchases I made at Barter Books whilst in the North East the week before last was this, The Things We See – No 5 – Public Transport published by Penguin Books. As you’ll know, if you’ve been paying attention, I’m an occasional collector of Penguins, Pelicans and Puffins however this excellent, (albeit limited), series is new to me.

Published in 1949 it has a particularly wonderful explanatory text regarding the series on the back cover : “The aim of the authors in this series is to encourage us to look at the objects of everyday life with fresh and critical eyes. Thus, while increasing our own daily pleasure we also become better able to create surroundings that will give us permanent pleasure. To achieve this in the furnishing and equipment of our homes, we must buy with discrimination and so prove to the designers, who set the machines to work, that we are no longer bound by habit or in-difference to accept whatever is offered.”


The book appears to have been written by a Christian Barman, a Mr Christian Barman rather than, well you get my point –  and after further research it appears Mr Barman was elected as a Royal Designer for Industry in 1948, served as president of the Society of Industrial Artists from 1949 to 1950 and received the Order of the British Empire in 1963. So whilst he may have a vaguely amusing name I think he wins on points.

Will have to look out for the other books in the series particularly the somewhat amorphously titled The Things We See – No 1 – Indoors And Out, which given it’s less than specific brief does raise the necessity for the further publications on Houses, Furniture and Ships.


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