Hey...that’s my grandad’s work

Anna Hirsch-Holland and her dad Matt Holland with the poster.                                                             Picture ref: 200344-26

Anna Hirsch-Holland and her dad Matt Holland with the poster. Picture ref: 200344-26

First published in News by

TEENAGER Anna Hirsch-Holland was bowled over when she spotted a poster designed by her late grandad.

She was even more amazed when she realised that he had been given no credit for his work.

Anna, 18, of Shaw, who is studying politics, philosophy and economics at Oxford University, was walking past Blackwell's bookshop one evening in the city of dreaming spires.

She immediately recognised the poster, which Purton artist Leslie Holland designed for the cover of the first edition of Aldous Huxley's groundbreaking novel Brave New World in 1932.

Leslie Holland died in Swindon in March this year at the age of 97.

The poster was in the centre of a display of famous book cover posters, produced by a small Cheltenham company, Bookish Design UK.

Anna said: "It was really exciting. I was walking along with a friend and there it was in the middle of the window.

"I recognised it instantly as it has gone down in the family history.

"It's a very striking design and it jumps out at you.

"The next day I went in and bought it and put it on my wall."

But she noticed some small print on the poster saying that the company had not managed to identify the designer.

She told her father Matt Holland, director of the Swindon Festival of Literature, who contacted Liha Okunniwa at Bookish Design, which is a new company supported by the Prince's Trust.

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He said: "I phoned up and it turned out to be a young woman only 20 miles up the road from here.

"It didn't sound like a big publishing company. She had tracked down the copyright holders for all the other book posters.

"I told her I was the son of Leslie Holland. I could hear her almost fall off her chair."

Mr Holland then went to visit the company. He is delighted the poster is being produced by a small organisation.

He said: "Dad was much keener on people who are marginal in society than big corporations."

He said his father had often turned down the chance of lucrative work with companies such as Disney.

"He was much happier at places like the Purton Gymkhana, giving away his drawings for free.

"When he went on trains he would sketch passengers and then give them the drawings at the end of the journey.

"It's nice for him to have this posthumous recognition by people who didn't know him. They just liked the design.

"The other remarkable thing is that the design has proved to be the best-seller of the series of 12."

Liha, a partner in Bookish Design, said: "It was a bit of a shocker when Matt rang but he has been so helpful and it's been fascinating to find out so much about his father.

"When we do the next print run it will have Leslie Holland's name on the poster."

But one mystery remains. Leslie actually signed the poster but somehow this was never spotted by experts, even when the poster was included in a history of famous book covers.

Anyone wanting to buy the poster, which costs £9.95, should visit www.bookishdesign.co.uk

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