Cranks restaurant publicity cards by John Lawrence.JPG
Cranks publicity brochures with John Lawrence engraved designs

David Canter is probably best known and celebrated for the restaurant chain that he, in tandem with his wife Kay and Daphne Swann, established from the early 1960s. Less appreciated perhaps is his longstanding support for handmade through commissioning work from artists and calligraphers and promoting craftspeople’s work more generally.

This can be manifestly seen in his employment of John Lawrence as a graphic designer for the promotional brochures above, at a time when many advertising studios had moved largely to photographic illustration. His longstanding contract with Winchcombe pottery for the supply of the majority of the robust tablewares used in Cranks restaurants is well known, and was also extended to the furniture used in their Cranks outlets.

A good example is the ordering of traditionally made restaurant chairs in the broadly vernacular manner from the workshop of Neville Neal in Stockton. Neal had been originally trained by Edward Gardiner, a former pupil of Ernest Gimson at his Daneway workshops in the interwar period. An example is shown below, and the Neal workshop is continued by the current generation – Lawrence – making primarily to Gimson designs.

Cranks restaurant chair by Philip Neal.JPG