Acrobats, clowns and ringmasters cast in full colour among original artwork and posters from the W.E. Berry Collection soared to thousands of pounds at Ewbanks
on August 19.
The surviving archive of the great Bradford-based producer, printer and distributor of posters for more than 75 years from the 1920s included celebrated and rare designs.
Initially working with Paramount, W.E. Berry produced designs for the Ealing Comedies, Ranks overseas posters, Disney, Columbia Pictures and Universal Studios, as well as for railway companies and Bertram Mills Circus.
The company continued to flourish until financial difficulties led to its going into administration early in the 2000s and it closed in 2004.
Ewbanks conducted a highly successful auction of part of the collection in 2020, now bringing another rare selection together, including original artwork as well as posters, for sale in a timed online auction.
Specialist Alastair McCrea says: W.E. Berry created landmark designs across several genres, and this sale is particularly strong in film and circus posters. While we pitched it to appeal to new collectors, keeping estimates down where possible to create added interest, it was clear that existing fans were just as keen to acquire what was on offer.
The best example of this was Bertram Mills Circus at Olympia Koringa, an original hand-painted poster artwork, on board, offered framed together with the finished poster. The estimate of £300-500 was left well behind when the hammer fell
Original framed hand-painted artwork on board for Robert Bros. Circus Mammoth Circus, measuring 40 x 76cm, had a guide of £150-250 but sold for £1,300. Likewise, original hand painted artwork on board for Bertram Mills Circus Rudy Horn Royal Command Performer, measuring 37 x 55cm, went for £800.00 against hopes of
In all the circus posters alone made more than £19,000 including premium.
Other big prices in the sale included £1,500 taken for London Underground advertising poster, for the 1928 University Boat Race with artwork by Percy Drake Brookshaw (1907-93).