We have acquired the original hand decorated boards by the world famous fairground artist Fred Fowle from Margate’s 1930’s Caterpillar Ride our Skid Car/ Waltzer on our stage is also his work
The panels will be used as decoration……..somewhere!
The name Fred Fowle may not be widely known in design circles, but ask anyone with more than a passing interest in English fairground art and the following two words will no doubt pass their lips: ‘The Master.’ Fowle was the country’s foremost fairground artist. Once you become familiar with it, his exuberant, three-dimensional style is instantly recognisable.
Fowle’s other less-grandiose nickname was ‘Futuristic Fred’, given to him by the staff at his first employer, the fairground manufacturer R. J. Lakin & Co. The moniker was in reference to Fowle’s striking, futuristic looking three-dimensional lettering and images influenced by popular culture – particularly the cinema posters, adverts and American comic books which he loved. Fowle joined the Streatham-based firm in 1929 – it was here that he learned his trade and where he met the talented artist Edwin Hall, who became a huge influence on him. At the start of the Second World War, Fowle was laid off, and after a spell on the railways and serving in the army, he established the company Hall & Fowle with Edwin’s brother Billy Hall in a disused tram shed in Balham. It proved to be a winning combination, with Hall specialising in painting realistic scenes and classical imagery, and Fowle excelling in the traditional scrollwork, lettering and more abstract designs.
Hall & Fowle’s designs were highly sought after, with the showmen who commissioned them often proving to be extremely demanding clients. The seasonal nature of the industry meant that the bulk of the work had to be carried out in the winter months and Fowle worked long hours. It was during this time that he established and refined his signature style, which featured expressive swirls and curvaceous, freehand letterforms. His relentlessly high standards meant that he insisted on using the best quality paints, and applying no less than twelve coats.
(Taken from Eye Magazine)