Eight eminent Englishmen eagerly examining Europe.
An image and caption from illustrator Nicola Bayley’s book One Old Oxford Ox. This is a birthday card from 1981, which I’ve always kept. At the time I’d never seen such a fantastic thing – cards were usually emblazoned with ‘YOU ARE 10!’ or ‘IT’S YOUR BIRTHDAY HAVE A GREAT DAY!’ or ‘GREETINGS GRANDSON!’.
Today I can’t pass a decent card without buying. They never get sent but hoarded instead, and it started with this card.
I think my brother bought it on a day trip to Oxford, and Oxford seemed to me like a magic city of bookshops and music shops and galleries, so a collection of fantastical academic badgers fits the bill.
I still think it’s a work of art, quirky and witty and beautifully composed. What a wonderful illustrator – it springs from the era of Kit William’s Masquerade, colourful, detailed and rich in atmosphere…
And the card company logo is a nice bit of 70s design too.