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As a huge F1 fan, I love the history of the sport, and I particularly love old posters advertising the races in days gone by. When I bought my house 2 or so years ago, the first thing I bought was a print of the poster that advertised the 1965 Monaco GP. I have it hanging in my kitchen and due to its retro look and drawing of a Ferrari, it remains my favourite item in my home.
Therefore when a friend told me she had bought this book from an art book shop, I immediately googled it and was delighted to find it online. I couldn't afford to buy it myself, and so I got it for Christmas last year. It was the present I was most looking forward to unwrapping.
THE BOOK'S CONCEPT
This was 'written' by William W. Crouse, who in the book's introduction explains how he collected paintings, before deciding that he needed a new interest, and taking a friend's advice, started collecting vintage automobile posters. He went to dealers and auctions to hunt each poster down. It's somewhat sickening that the author doesn't even seem to have been an F1 fan, and yet is possibly the only collector in the world who owns ALL the official Monaco GP posters, from 1929 to 2009 (this book was published in 2010).
This, therefore, is an 120 page book showing each of those posters.
This is a hardback book, and it is covered in a very thin material as opposed to a paper cover. The front is brightly coloured in orange and yellow, with a photo of the 1931 Monaco GP on the front.
The chapters showcasing the posters are divided into eras:
1929-1937: 'Racing's Golden Age'
1948-1957: 'The Fangio Era'
1958-1983: 'British Supremacy'
1984-1993: 'The Prost-Senna Rivalry'
1994-2004: 'Superstar Michael Schumacher'
2005-2009: 'The Youngest Champions'
2 pages are dedicated to each year up until 1998 - 1 page showing the poster of that year, and the other page to explain who drew/painted the artwork, details about the history of the Monaco GP, and finally what happened in the race in that particular year. I found it interesting to read what happened in races before I was born, or ones I had forgotten, but really it is mainly the artwork I look it.
It is very interesting to see how the art and design, and even the font, of the posters has changed over the years. My personal favourites are the mid-1960s posters as they look so retro and really conjure up images of glamorous fans hanging over balconies in Monaco smoking Gitanes and drinking champagne while they watch the race *sigh*
The 1930s posters too are really stunning - I know next to nothing about art, but even I can appreciate how they are done in the art deco style of the time.
It goes without saying that the 1970s and 1980s posters look very of their time also; particularly showing how different the cars looked in those days - therefore this book also shows how F1 cars have evolved over time, as well as art.
Sadly, the 1998 Monaco GP was the last time a poster was attributed to a named artist. In 1999, Marlboro's advertising agency designed the poster, and as of 2000, all GP posters are designed by anonymous graphic designers or artists under the direction of the FIA (Federation Internationale de l'Automobile). Booooo I say! Therefore each of the posters from 2000 up until 2009 only get half a page, on account of them being generic and fairly dull. The author explains how these posters are worth less to collectors, which I can understand as these are easy to buy online and I myself have the 2008 Italian GP poster, having been to that race.
PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
This costs up to around £35, and you can easily find it on Amazon. It *is* expensive, there is no doubt about that, but as this is, I would say, a coffee table style book, I don't think this price is anything out of the ordinary. Treat yourself - or get someone else to!
WOULD I RECOMMEND THIS?
I would recommend this to diehard F1 fans, or someone who needed to buy a great gift for one. Even non-F1 fans could appreciate this, if they had an interest in art, design, or other vintage posters.