A 1960s European Vacation

St Gothard PassmotorcyclistI’VE BEEN scanning some old 35mm colour slides for a friend and I’m fascinated as always by the period detail. The motorcyclist in the plus-fours at the St Gothard Pass for example.

My friend’s father, Jack, was an engineer and as a young man between the wars he’d got a secondhand sports car into reliable working order and set off and toured the continent so, after World War II he set off again with his young family.

By this time he was running a garage and he’d become a dealer for Standard Vanguard cars. This appears to be a 1956 Standard Vanguard III

St Gothard Pass
St Gothard Pass

You get a sense of it still being quite an adventure to tour the continent from his Agfacolor transparencies. St Marks in Venice and the Forum in Rome look amazingly quiet.

This slide is captioned 'On the road' - one of the Italian lakes perhaps?
This slide is captioned ‘On the road’ – one of the Italian lakes perhaps?

The little coach conjures up another era of travel. It wouldn’t look out of place in a Fellini film. Or The Italian Job.

German newsagents

 This shop – a photographer’s and newsagents? – appears in the foreground of an Austrian or German painted house which Jack had photographed.

The row of potted geraniums on the windowsill, the portrait in the shop window, the bicycle, the lettering over the shop and the mystery man in grey are the kind of plain, literal details that you might meet in a Tintin story of the same vintage.

I’ve used the poster edges filter in Photoshop to flatten the colour but I’d really like to try redrawing some of these scenes in comic book format.