Author(s): Peter Ashley
A seagull swoops across a packet of Senior Service, a seaman from HMS Hero poses in a lifebelt cameo on twenty Player's, a laughing cavalier puffs away at a Passing Cloud. And a Jeeves-style butler offers us a Kensitas on a silver tray. Welcome to the vanished world of cigarette pack art. Peter Ashley has delved into his own and other collections of packs to show us what an incredible art gallery of design they once offered, and creates a series of still lifes to show how much a part of daily life they were - Gold Flakes on a picnic, Park Drive on a workbench. He finds the stories to go with them too: the influence of Du Mauriers on a crooked tycoon, the Battle of Britain pilots throwing packets of Weights after free-falling Messerschmitts. And of course the packets dropped into literature: Ian Fleming, Len Deighton, John Betjeman, Will Self - all have contributed to cigarette culture without disapproving shakes of the head. The Cigarette Papers is a joyful, witty and ultimately beautiful recollection of old friends who will probably never be seen again.
'Thank goodness for Peter Ashley ! prowling the countryside like a subversive dowser' Richard Mabey on Pastoral Peculiars 'Peter Ashley scavenges to telling effect' Iain Sinclair on London Peculiars '...an absolutely stunning illustrated book...' A.N.Wilson in The Daily Telegraph on Unmitigated England 'Until the happy advent of Peter Ashley's Cross Country it has, ironically, been foreigners who have been best at celebrating Englishness'. Christina Hardyment The Independent
Peter Ashley is the author and photographer of over twenty books, including London Peculiars, Pastoral Peculiars, Unmitigated England and More from Unmitigated England. He edited Railway Rhymes for the Everyman's Library Pocket Poets Series and collaborated with Philip Wilkinson on books accompanying the BBC Restoration programmes, as well as The English Buildings Book, the ultimate guide to building types. Recent years have seen Built for Britain: From Bridges to Beach Huts (2009), followed by Cross Country (2011). He broadcasts regularly, notably talking about manhole covers and post boxes with Libby Purves on Radio 4's Midweek and reciting Betjeman on the Today programme. He has also been seen expounding on railway poetry for BBC 4's Between the Lines. He lives in Slawston, Leicestershire.