What with Christmas only 6 months away (at the time of writing) thoughts are obviously turning towards those enormous tins of chocolate toffees that come from the most desirable piece of real estate in the world not to be found on a Monopoly board, Quality Street.
Being very young, I barley remember the hey-day (or purple patch!) of the tins’ design, but having visited the odd charity shop since, I have become acquainted with them, full, as they tend to be now, of orphaned buttons.
A 21st century Quality Street tin is a thing of quite extraordinary ugliness, but, once, a long time ago, it was very different. Where now there is a hideous depiction of an explosion of foil-wrapped sweets, for 50 carefree years there cavorted, from a large scene on the lid, to a selection of vignettes around the tin’s waist, a brave and handsome soldier in a scarlet coat and shiny hat and a beautiful female brunette in a purple gown with an umbrella.
They were often to be seen sharing a joke in a carriage, or walking together pensively while an urchin (clean) ran behind them propelling a hoop with a twig. They were normally accompanied by a small dog, the ground beneath them was gaily cobbled and it was all played out in front of a backdrop of pastel coloured Georgian house fronts. A beautiful world, a place where our imaginations frolicked with the lovers while the caramel oozed down our chins and we spat the coffee creams across the room.
How the marketing department on Quality Street could have so shamefully and needlessly retired this pair of icons leaves me feeling bewildered and unsure. They have denied an entire generation the joys of the association between the munching of choclit covered toffees with Romantic Nostalgia …. SO, not being one to dwell, but a MAN of DESTINY, I have stepped in and breathed a new puff of life into them. In line with the modern way of things, but picked out in the appropriate style, I proudly present the latest chapter in the great flirtation on Quality Street…I did approach a tin maker who said the minimum run for a printed tin was 10,000 units, which even though I have high hopes for this design, I was never likely to sell. It will be available, signed, in an edition of 259 Giclee prints on thick paper, ever so slightly shorter than A4 but just as wide.