Size: 24 x 39.75 inches
Notes: B+ condition
Artist: Austin Cooper (1890-1964)
This poster was produced by London & North Eastern Railway (LNER) as part of a series entitled "Passengers of the Past". The historic passenger in this poster is Robinson Crusoe, a fictional character created by Daniel Defoe in 1719. The story is of a castaway who spends 28 years on a remote tropical desert island near Trinidad, encountering cannibals, captives, and mutineers before ultimately being rescued. The man beside him is Friday, a character of the same novel. Robinson Crusoe names the man, with whom he cannot at first communicate, Friday because they first meet on that day. The character is the source of the expression "Man Friday", used to describe a male personal assistant or servant, especially one who is particularly competent or loyal.
Austin Cooper was a Canadian who studied art in Cardiff and Arbroath. He began his career as a commercial artist in Montreal but returned to London in 1922 and designed posters for LNER, Indian State Railways and London Transport until 1944. As one of England's leading poster designers, he became the first Principal of the Reimann School of Commercial and Industrial Art in 1936, a role he kept until 1940. Three years later, he left the poster industry to become a full-time painter. His first one-man show was held at the London Gallery in 1948.