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May 3, 2014

“Ireland. Fly Pan American” advertising poster for Pan American Airlines by Edward McKnight Kauffer, c.1953

☛ “Ireland. Fly Pan American” advertising poster for Pan American Airlines by Edward McKnight Kauffer, c.1953. Image retrieved from Live Auctioneers

Edward McKnight Kauffer (1890-1954) was a prolific and influential American-born graphic designer. One of his major client was the London Underground Electric Railways. From the London Transport Museum:

Edward McKnight Kauffer was undoubtedly one of the most prolific and influential graphic designers of the 20th century. Cubism, Futurism and Surrealism found expression in his posters, which translated the complicated language of the avant-garde into accessible commercial design.

The London Transport Museum website hosts 162 items produced by Edward McKnight Kauffer. For more see the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, the Design Museum and 50 Watts. AIGA.org has an extensive biography of the artist.

This is neither the only poster Kauffer designed to promote Ireland (see one he made for American Airlines in 1948), nor the only one he made for Pan American (Japan, Mexico, Hawaii).

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The medieval castle represented on the poster featured above is Blarney Castle. It is located in County Cork, about 9 km northwest of the city of Cork, in southern Ireland. Cork is the third most populous city in Ireland. Among other things, it is known for its technological and pharmaceutical industries, with the presence of major employers such as Pfizer, Novartis and Apple Inc.

Blarney Castle appears in other vintage travel posters. It is depicted on a promotional poster created in 1930 by artist G. H. Bland for the Great Southern Railways: Ireland Land of Romance, Blarney Castle Co Cork (printed by Hely’s c.1930, original dimensions: 102 x 64 cm). One can see more work by G.H. Bland at artnet.

“Ireland Land of Romance, Blarney Castle Co Cork”, travel poster for the Great Southern Railways, by G.H. Bland, c1930. Image retrieved from Onslows Auctioneers.
“Ireland Land of Romance, Blarney Castle Co Cork”, travel poster for the Great Southern Railways, by G.H. Bland, c1930. Image retrieved from Onslows Auctioneers.

The Great Southern Railways Company was a railway company in Ireland that operated between 1925 and 1945. It was created by the Railways Act 1924 which called for the amalgamation of all irish railways, except for cross-border railways. One of its most important line was the Dublin-Cork main intercity railway route, which remain active today.

Map of the Great Southern and Western Railwayand its Connections in Ireland, 1902. Retrieved from the book ‘The Sunny Side of Ireland’ by John O'Mahony, 1902
Map of the Great Southern and Western Railway
and its Connections in Ireland, 1902. Retrieved from the book ‘The Sunny Side of Ireland’ by John O’Mahony, 1902

Blarney Castle is also featured on a poster promoting “Ireland by CIE”. The poster was created by artist Curran in the 1950s. The CIE stands for Córas Iompair Éireann, Ireland’s national public transport provider.

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