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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Theo Page

Don Grant has sent over some fine pictures from his collection featuring the work of Theo Page. Page is listed amongst the contributors of Speed & Power where he produced at least one cut-away drawing. This was almost certainly a reprint from another magazine but excuse enough for me to be interested in him.

Don also supplied the above photo, and I can do no better than quote him: "I have dug out some pics depicting the Autosport staff on a works outing to, I think, Le Mans in 1966 and featuring John Bolster [Technical Editor of Autosport] telling a filthy story to the amusement of Theo Page, in the white shirt, George Phillips, chief photographer, Gregor Grant, sitting down, Jabby Combac, foreign correspondent in flat cap, Jack Fairman, ex-F1 and Aston Martin driver, sitting next to GG. I can't remember the name of the man in the foreground with the straw hat, dammit. The photos were taken by a lovely man called John Talbot Frith from Enniskillen in Co. Fermanagh, who was part of the 'team'.

Theo Page was Autosport's technical artist who drew amazing cutaway drawings of racing cars.

As well as being an incredible technical artist, he was also a magnificent forger, as Don relates:
I remember once turning up at Le Mans on my own another year, having hitch-hiked down from Paris. I sought out my dad, which was not too difficult as he was having a drink outside Gruber's Restaurant with the usual suspects again: Bolster, Jabby Crombac, George Phillips, Paddy MacNally, Dick Jeffreys of Dunlop, Theo Page and a few more of the usual suspects. When it transpired that I had no pass, Theo was detailed to provide one.

We went up to his room in the Hotel des Ifs, where, using coloured paper, inks, a John Bull printing kit and enormous skill, he was able to produce a perfect facsimile Photographe-Cinéaste pass, including Gendarmerie Nationale and Syndic AFPA stamps, number, accreditation and signature, which, when put in a plastic wallet and hung around my neck, along with one of Phil's cameras, allowed me to go anywhere around the circuit all weekend.

Theo was an exceptionally gifted artist and could sketch the most complicated piece of machinery on the spot with terrifying accuracy—and no rubbing out.
Don sent over a couple of book covers painted by Theo, saying, "Both show how he was able to 'loosen up' and get away from the strict disciplines required by technical illustration. He also did drawings for Autosport at race meetings, called 'Page in the Pits', showing details of racing cars, sketched on the spot."

Illustrated Books
French Vintage Cars by John Bolster. London, Autosport in association with B. T. Batsford, 1964.

(* With thanks to Don Grant for the photo and the scans. Don recently added some additional information on another artist, Raymond Groves.

And also to Simone Grant, who steps in to save any family embarrassment... "The man in the straw hat in the group pic is Tommy Wisdom, serious funster and gentleman, great driver and, of course, wonderful wordsmith.")

16 comments:

  1. Do you any place where one can purchase Theo's Illustrations that he did for Autosport? I am looking for the 1963 Cooper Formula Junior illustration he did.

    Thanks,

    Chris

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  2. Hi Chris,

    It would appear that copyright in that kind of illustration is likely to be owned by Haymarket Press and that the person to contact with enquiries would be peter.higham [AT] haymarket.com

    Hope you find what you're looking for.

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  3. Hi,
    Nice to see Theo Page remembered.
    I knew him in the early eighties, and worked with him on a couple of projects.
    I have an incomplete and unpublished cut-away of a TR6 that was given to me by Theo.
    I am very interested in his work and am hunting for a copy of his Concorde cut-away.
    Dave/.

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  4. Hi Dave, I have the Theo Page poster of the Concord cut away. Printed in 1973 and professionally mounted. I am in Sydney Australia. Did you manage to find the same thing or similiar since your postings last year? I can send you photo's if you like.
    Be - Sydney Australia

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  5. Hi I owen John Talbot-Friths Riley Lynx and would be interested in any phptos or information about him. There is a photo of him doing the Circuit Of Ireland in the Lynx in Autosport Vol.4 No.17 April 25 1952
    Bertie

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  6. Theo Page was my great uncle but unfortunately i never got to meet him and none of his talent came my way :0(
    It's strange seeing people talk about a member of my family

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  7. My father was great friends with Theo Page in the 1960's and often recounts stories of the time they spent together.
    I am trying to put together a small portfolio of Theo's work. Can anyone help support me?

    Regards

    Paul

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  8. Theo was my godfather and was an amazing man. He taught me all I know about champagne! He truly was the Krug amongst the Moet.

    He knew how to have an adventure and it was a privilege to be a part of some of them.

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  9. Rachel,

    Thanks for getting in touch. I wonder if it would be possible to get some background information on Theo from you. If you care to share any info. my e-mail address can be found top left, below the photo.

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  10. I know a lot about Theo. He eventually started working in Switzerland for Pilatus Flugzeugwerke AG and was their leading graphic artist. He was married then to a ballerina called Pam who was delightful.
    Theo was one of the most amazing people I have ever met and I have a couple of photos of him somewhere - I must dig them out. Lovely man!!

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  11. Hi AngieMac,

    If you find any, perhaps you'll let us see some scans. You can e-mail me directly via the address top left, just below the photo.

    Regards,

    Steve

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  12. He was my uncle and i pften sat watching him work, he was also very kind, generous and loving i miss him.

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  13. Hi there. I wonder if you could send a copy of the photo with John bolster and Theo page. John was my uncle and I know my aunt would love to have a copy. Please let me know if this is possible. Gideon

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  14. Jules,

    All I have is the scan that's included in the column. Sorry.

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  15. Hello, many thx for the Infos about Theo Page. I found a nice picture of a Renault Alpine A210 painted by him.
    Maybe someone can make a entry in Wikipedia ?

    Kindly Regards Ralf from Germany

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  16. If you look at www.fastonwater, under Shakespeare boatbuilders,there is a fantastic drawing of Bill Shakespeares 1962 Raceboat, taken from his book "Powerboat Racing". I am lucky enough to own this boat today and the drawing will be a real help with the restoration,so I also owe him many thanks..

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