Hugh Street was a publisher in London who traded under the name of Hugh Evelyn London Limited (Evelyn was his middle name). He died ten years ago, an uncle with no children. Three months after his death a man telephoned to say Hugh owed him money - not unusual following a death. He said Hugh had rented a lock-up garage from him for years. When asked what was in the garage the man said he did not know.
With some reluctance the man was paid his back rent and a key and directions to the lock-up were received. It was behind a run-down apartment block near Heathrow in a row of 6 garages. On opening the door packages piled from floor to ceiling were found. They were all wrapped in heavy oil or waxed kraft paper. Surprisingly there had been no attempt to break in and thanks to the wrapping, little damp was found.
The packages contained the prints you can see on this website. All but four of the images here are between 50 and 60 years old. It now seems clear that these prints had lain in that garage for upwards of 30 years.
Back in the mid ‘50’s Hugh left the Navy to pursue a career in art. One day he noticed on the desk of a friend, a drawing of a railway engine: simple but expressive; detailed yet decorative. The drawing, by a railway expert, was part of an experiment in lithography. This experience ignited his decision to publish books built around images.
During the 1950's and 1960's Hugh commissioned a series of large-folio books of chromolithographic plates. He wanted images that were beautifully drawn and lavishly printed. He thought the 18th Century print makers would have exploited the detail and decoration the camera often underplays had they lived in the 20th Century.
Hugh adopted these concepts in his books: artists with specialised knowledge making sensitive use of line-enclosing areas with exact colour in which chromolithography excelled. He showed that images of these objects, the subjects of his prints, sans background and other paraphernalia, were worthy of presentation for their own sake. Hugh published over 40 books which are now long since out of print. But he decided early on that the prints justified their own outlet. Until the end of the ‘60’s he had his own shop in the King's Road, London where he sold his books and these prints.
Eventually Hugh decided to pursue other interests. It seems clear that his decision to store these prints had been temporary and that he intended to come back to them later. He never did. What we offer here is nearly all the original quality prints that were part of the original print runs for those books 50 years ago and which were intended for sale on their own.
We are based in the South West of England.
© Hugh Evelyn Prints