A Shell Eye on England: The Shell County Guides 1934-1984

ISBN: 9781907471070
Artist(s): Various
Author(s): David Heathcote
Format: paperback
Edition: -
Year published: 2010
Publisher: Libri Publishing
Publisher Location: London
Total Pages: 152
Illustrations: Illustrtaed throughout in colour and black & white

Author(s) Biographies:


1 available

The iconic Shell County Guides began in the 1930s under the leadership of the young John Betjeman. The content of these early guides was often elitist and ironic but a relief from the dullness of earlier guides. By contrast to their often conservative ideas, their design and imagery was highly influenced by European Modern graphic design, experimental and documentary photography and Surrealism.

After World War Two, John Betjeman and John Piper (editors of the post-war Shell Guides) moved away from the self-conscious ‘cleverness’ of the earlier guides and in their place offered serious texts which dealt with each county, comprehensively accompanied by a deceptively ‘style-less’ Modernist design with black and white photography from a range of very good photographers. By the end of the 1970s however The County Guides had had their day. With increasing numbers opting to take their holidays abroad, The Shell Guides began to lose their popularity.

In this Shell Eye on England book David Heathcote explores the particularities of the Shell Guides and examines their relation to their cultural context and contains over 200 original images from the Shell County Guides.

Occasionaly copies of the original Shell Guides are available. View availability here.


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