OLD COMPTON STREET, SOHO, 1960
Original General Post Office (GPO) poster, 26"x36".
Art by Peter Edwards.
This poster's fascinatingly detailed artwork - a time capsule of Soho in the era of Colin MacInnes's 'Absolute Beginners' - shows Old Compton Street approaching the junction with Wardour Street, with the tower of St Anne's church beyond a bomb site.
Visible are shop signs in Greek, Italian and French, and historically identifiable businesses, such as the white fronted French grocery shop, the Heaven & Hell coffee bar ('Inferno e Paradiso'), Gone Gay Jewelery (Going Gay Jewelery its actual name) , La Tosta restaurant, and The Swiss Hotel and Tavern.
The hungover-looking figure on the right bears a distinct resemblance to the painter Francis Bacon, for whom Soho was a bohemian playground - Daniel Farson wrote of Bacon's "mornings when he was grey and nearly sightless from fatigue after drinking and gambling through the night".