Anthony Froshaug Archive

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The archive documents Froshaug's design practice and his pedagogy, as well as the personal interests that ran alongside these more formal activities throughout his life, such as his own study (mathematics, computers and architecture, for example). Also well documented are his friendships and contacts with a range of individuals and institutions both within and outside his own professional field.

Administrative / Biographical History

Anthony Froshaug (1920-1984) was a typographer, designer and teacher. Developing a distinct personal ethos of typography, influenced by ideas of European modernism and particularly the work of Jan Tschichold, he worked independently as a designer printer before taking a series of teaching posts, including at the Central School of Art and the Royal College of Art as well as a period at the Hochschule für Gestaltung, Ulm, Germany. Both as a practitioner and a teacher, Froshaug liked to work in an experimental workshop environment with opportunities for discussion, rather than through more formal learning structures. Such an approach brought a close circle of friends and associates bearing witness to his originality and significance.

Anthony Froshaug was born in Middlesex, the son of the Director of Norwegian State Railways based in London. From 1937 he studied illustration and book design at Central School of Art, but left in summer 1939 without completing his degree. As well as being registered as a medical student from 1941-3, during the 1940s he explored opportunities working as a graphic designer/typographer, such as for the Communist Party of which he was a member. He shared studio space and collaborated with Geoffrey Bocking and Norman Potter, leading to the registration of Froshaug"s trading name Isomorph Ltd in 1944. Of a prospectus of planned Isomorph publications, only Helen Rosenau"s 'Women in art: from type to personality' came to fruition. At this time he also executed commissions for Lund Humphries.

In 1944, Froshaug encountered Jan Tschichold"s 'Typografische Entwurfstechnik', an important influence which helped him establish his own principles of typography. Froshaug hoped to publish English translations of Tschichold but the project never came to fruition.

In 1946 Froshaug moved to Cornwall, where he met Guido Morris, and set and printed work himself for the first time. He bought a small Albion press and took it back to London with him, printing his first pieces in 1947, including Brean Douglas Newton"s 'The Annunciation to the Virgin Mary' and Stefan Themerson"s 'The Lay Sculpture', and, in 1948, Peter Potworowski"s 'Five Letters' and W S Graham"s 'The Voyages of Alfred Wallis'. Robin Kinross describes these early works as characterised by the conjunction of modernist typography with ancient handicraft elements".

In preparation for a return to Cornwall in 1949, Froshaug produced a series of cards showing and describing the type he held. Once in Cornwall, he worked on commissions from St George"s Gallery in London, and the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA). Fulfilling his hope to work more locally, he took over Guido Morris"s role printing for the Penwith Arts Society from 1950-1. However he found it hard to make a living and returned to London to start work as a senior lecturer in typography at the Central School of Art in 1952. When this appointment was not confirmed in summer 1953, he travelled in Europe, in Zurich meeting Max Bill, who had informally invited him to teach at the Hochschule für Gestaltung Ulm. This invitation did not come to fruition, and Froshaug remained in London and Cornwall, working (including for St Georges Gallery Prints), but putting more of the printing out, rather than doing it himself. But in July 1957, a new invitation was received from Ulm, and he started in October that year.

The ethos of continental modernism at Ulm was appealing to Froshaug, as was the prospect of the printing workshop, always central to his work as a designer and a teacher. Nevertheless as in so many of his positions, Froshaug struggled to fit the constraints of the institutional environment, and his contract was terminated in 1961. A similarly short period of teaching at the Royal College of Art in London followed, ending in 1964 when he moved to the post of senior lecturer at the School of Art in Watford, which enjoyed the kind of avant-garde spirit that would have appealed to Froshaug. He established the planned experimental printing workshop there, as well as a new and innovative diploma course in visual communication, although this was not a success. While at Watford he produced an exhibition of his own work, in 1965, which remains a definitive account.

For Froshaug it was time to move on again in 1967, this time to study at the Architectural Association, where he completed two years of a five year course. After a brief period teaching at Coventry College of Art and Design, from 1970 onwards Froshaug taught part time at Central, in a printing workshop environment, and later an evening class in visual mathematics (always interested in this field, he had taken Mathematics courses at the Open University). This arrangement sustained Froshaug"s interests and creative activities until illness forced him to resign in 1983.

Arrangement

The archive falls into the following provisional series:

AFG/1 Design and typographic work

AFG/2 Teaching papers

AFG/3 Writings by Froshaug

AFG/4 Correspondence

AFG/5 Personal papers

AFG/6 Photographs

AFG/7 Sound recordings

AFG/8 Printed material

Conditions Governing Access

Researchers wishing to consult the collection should make an appointment. Telephone 44 (0) 1273 643217 or email designarchives@brighton.ac.uk.

Acquisition Information

Transferred to the University of Brighton by Jane Howard, Froshaug's executor, in 2007.

Other Finding Aids

Brief box list available.

Archivist's Note

Collection level description created by Catherine Moriarty, 2007, and completed by Sue Breakell, 2009.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission must be sought to publish any material from the collection. Email designarchives@brighton.ac.uk

Custodial History

Some sorting work was carried out on the archive after Froshaug's death by Robin Kinross, publisher and graphic designer, with the approval of Froshaug's estate. This work contributed to Kinross's book about Froshaug (see 'Publication Note' below).

Bibliography

Kinross, Robin, ed. 'Anthony Froshaug: Typography and Texts / Documents of a Life', London: Hyphen Press, 2000