• Underground-lead

    Alfred Leete: The Lure of the Underground (detail)

Exhibition

London Transport Museum shows 150 beautiful and innovative Tube posters

Posted by Anna Trench,

For over a century posters have been brightening up the dark walls of the Tube. Beautiful, striking and informative they’re the best public art to have come out of the tunnels. The London Transport Museum is celebrating the Tube’s 150th birthday with a fascinating exhibition of 150 posters dug out of its archive. When seen together, these posters not only tell the story of the Underground, they tell a story of London and graphic design, too.

The range is magnificent. From idyllic watercolours encouraging escapes to the country to typographical experiments urging congestion reduction, they trace the fashions and anxieties of Londoners while also revealing the artistic styles of the time and London Underground’s eagerness to commission beyond it.

Museums, sporting events and the zoo are consistently popular subjects. But there are many surprises, too, such as Maurice Beck’s dark photomontage reassurance that all trains are fitted with a “dead man’s handle” and John Henry Lloyd’s poster of Edwardian Londoners admiring Underground posters. Although the 1930s was the richest period, every decade produced gems. Highlights include illustrator Edward Bawden’s intricate Map of the British Empire Exhibition (1924), Edward McKnight Kauffer’s numerous Bauhaus-inspired designs, Alfred Leete’s cartoons, Man Ray’s planet-orbiting roundel (1938), Charles Paine’s penguins (1921) and many, many more. Definitely worth a stop.

Poster Art 150 – London Underground’s Greatest Designs is at the London Transport Museum until October 27.

  • 118.-for-the-zoo-book-to-regent's-park_-by-charles-paine_-1921

    Charles Paine: For the Zoo Book to Regent’s Park (1921)

  • 82.by-underground-to-fresh-air_-by-maxwell-ashby-armfield_-1915

    Maxwell Ashby Armfield: By Underground to Fresh Air (1915)

  • Img-220--133.-it-is-warmer-below_-by-frederick-charles-herrick_-1927

    Frederick Charles Herrick: It is Warmer Below (1927)

  • 132.-it-is-cooler-below_-by-frederick-charles-herrick_-1926

    Charles Frederick Herrick: It is Cooler Below (1926)

  • Img-207---23.-keeps-london-going_-by-man-ray_-1938

    Man Ray: Keeps London Going (1938)

  • 124.-the-lure-of-the-underground-by-alfred-leete-1927

    Alfred Leete: The Lure of the Underground (1927)

  • 94.-uxbridge_-by-charles-paine_-1921

    Charles Paine: Uxbridge (1921)

  • Img-226---13.-four-times-the-number-carried_-by-theyre-lee-elliott-1936

    Theyre Lee Elliot: Four Times the Number Carried (1936)

  • 58.-play-between-6-and-12_-by-edward-mcknight-kauffer_-1931

    Edward Knight Kauffer: Play Between 6 and 12 (1931)

  • 122.-something-different-at-every-turn_-by-roy-meldrum_-1933

    Roy Meldrum: Something Different at Every Turn (1933)

  • 74.-kennel-club-show_-by-tom-eckersley-and-eric-lombers-1938

    Tom Eckersley and Eric Lombers: Kennel Club Show (1938)

  • Img-223--79.-olympia-motor-show-by-andre-edouard-marty-1933

    Andre Edouard Marty: Olympia Motor Show (1933)

  • 78.-the-quickest-way-to-the-dogs_-by-alfred-leete_-1927

    Alfred Leete: The Quickest Way to the Dogs (1927)

  • Img-209--55.-where-is-this-bower-beside-the-silver-thames_-by-jean-dupas_-1930

    Jean Dupas: Where is this Bower Beside the Silver Thames (1930)

  • Img-211--75.-the-zoo-by-floodlight_-by-tom-eckersley-and-eric-lombers_-1935

    Tom Eckersley and Eric Lombers: The Zoo by Floodlight (1935)

Portrait16

Posted by Anna Trench

Anna is a writer and illustrator who joined us as an editorial intern after studying at Cambridge University and Falmouth university. She wrote for the site between January and March 2013.

Most Recent: Exhibition View Archive

  1. List

    In 1915, two years before the Russian Revolution took place, an exhibition took place in St Petersburg which turned the art world upside down. Entitled The Last Futurist Exhibition of Paintings: 0.10, it included one of Kazimir Malevich’s now iconic black square paintings, a profound and original offering in a 20th Century society which repressed modern ideas almost as furiously as it bred them, and it’s this spirit of radical thinking in the midst of a restrictive society which sits at the root of the Whitechapel Gallery’s new exploration of abstract art, Adventures of the Black Square.

  2. List

    With photography now a ubiquitous medium gifted to everyone for the price of a smartphone, it’s easy to forget that it was once the preserve of only a select few pioneers, whose experiments with light-sensitive chemicals and simple mechanical structures gave birth to something we all take for granted today. But a new show at The Science Museum’s Media Space seeks to remind us of the pioneering endeavours of modern photography’s forebears.

  3. List

    The name Jeremy Deller conjures up all manner of conflicting images in my mind’s eye; of frivolous inflatable sculptures and brass bands playing acid house; of turbulent clashes between miners and police and the rusted bodies of motor vehicles. He’s got a real knack for uniting ideas that feel inherently opposite. So his latest show at Modern Art Oxford shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise in its bringing together of two figures who seem very much at odds with each other.

  4. List

    There’s not a pie in the cultural world that James Franco isn’t ready and willing to stick a finger into, and to prove it the actor, director, poet and musician has just announced a new exhibition of his artworks, entitled Fat Squirrel, which is to be held at London’s Siegfried Contemporary gallery. The show is an undeniably eclectic collection, including a number of self portraits of the artist in the guise of various famous historical figures, a deer orgy entitled Triple Team, and some bright painterly collages, not to mention the eponymous overweight rodents which are undoubtedly our favourites.

  5. List

    There are equal doses of pleasure and frustration to be had in stumbling across the work of a photographer you’ve never seen before. It’s classic FOMO on a macro scale, coupled with joy at the prospect of showing off the treasure you’ve found. At least that’s what I felt when I discovered that photographer Mark Neville was to be showing two of his photo-series alongside one another in a new show entitled London/Pittsburgh at London’s Alan Cristea Gallery.

  6. List-flyers-for-the-institute-at-sexology.-photography-by-russell-dornan_-design-by-liam-relph-(3)

    London’s Wellcome Collection space always hosts explorations of the things that fascinate us most. It’s covered death, it’s exhaustively explored the human body in all its glory and grotesquery, and now it’s moved on to surely the most fascinating of all – sex, or more precisely, how people have studied it.

  7. List

    How’s this for a collaboration? Artist Quentin Jones, who counts photography, animation, painting and filmmaking among the tools of her trade, has teamed up with spatial designer Robert Storey to create the setting for her new exhibition in the The Vinyl Factory Space on London’s Brewer Street, with Robert creating a set for each of Quentin’s works.

  8. Main

    Right now, illustrator-turned artist extraordinaire Jordy van den Niewendijk is probably having a nap. For the last few weeks he’s been rushing around the world getting his work together for a very exciting solo show at New York’s trendy Moiety Gallery. It’s safe to say Jordy is one of our favourite artists, and to see his work evolve aesthetically over the years yet still cling on to that trademark style is great, a little bit like watching one of those cool videos of flowers blooming in slow-mo.

  9. Mp

    Hands up who loves boobies and butts? The pervier of us will appreciate this brand new show from Mike Perry which sees him collate all his brilliant nudie drawings in one place, and if you’re not a perv you’ll just love the colours. They say the human form is a beautiful thing, but sometimes people forget that it’s also super fun too. Good for lovely, bearded Mike for noticing this and spending ages drawing people with legs akimbo on coloured paper to entertain us straight-laced British folk. If you’re into illustration and/or nudity, head down to KK Outlet tonight for this scintillating show.

  10. List

    In 1963, the Royal College of Art held an exhibition celebrating 15 years of the school of graphic design. In the show’s catalogue, Professor Richard Guyatt remembered the days when the term was adopted by the college. “With a certain sense of relief, but not much conviction, the name ‘Graphic Design’ was chosen,” he wrote. “No one was quite sure what it meant, but it had a purposeful ring…”

  11. 4list.-charles-jourdan_-spring-1976-%c2%a9-guy-bourdin

    In the summer of 1979, several legs boarded a ferry travelling from Dieppe to Plymouth. However unlike most other legs making the journey, these didn’t have any feeling in their toes.

  12. Main1

    Just over a week ago It’s Nice That’s Jamie McIntyre and I took a train from London to Glasgow to the much-antiticipated Graphic Design Festival Scotland. We had been invited by Beth Wilson and James Gilchrist, two students who had recently graduated from Edinburgh College of Art. During their degree the two had found themselves working best when together, and decided to form Warriors Studio as a duo. They began thinking about the climate of graphic design in Scotland, the need for something new and exciting and – most importantly – what the hell they were going to do when term ends and they were turfed out to fend for themselves.

  13. List

    Designing for the Design Museum’s Designs of the Year must be in many ways a dream project, in many ways a nightmare. Creating graphics that can seamlessly place disciplines as disparate as graphic design, furniture, product and architecture comfortably next to one another takes skill and an eye for leaving said projects to speak for themselves. Ok-RM’s graphics did just that, sitting back to let the viewer to make their own decisions about each project on its own merit, regardless of how it was made or by whom. Clean, well-spaced and scant typography work with clever colour-coding to form an overall aesthetic that more than deserves its place alongside the best designs of the past 12 months.