London Underground posters


top left: Power by Edward McKnight Kauffer; top right: Speed Underground by Alan Rogers
bottom left: Which? by Maurice Beck; bottom right: St Paul’s Cathedral by Robert Sargent Austin

A small sample of the many great posters commissioned by London Transport during the last century, part of the collection at the London Transport Museum. These are all from the 1930s. The design and iconography of London’s Underground system has occupied much of my attention this year due to a substantial book project; more about that later. Meanwhile, Jonathan Glancey was asking earlier this week whether the expansion of the Underground system means the end of Harry Beck’s classic and much-imitated map design.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Battersea Power Station
The Mentor
The art of Cassandre, 1901–1968

4 thoughts on “London Underground posters”

  1. Hi John. The poster is one of a series (another says “Safety”) so it may be coincidence. What is coincidence is the name of the archer sculptor, Eric Aumonier, who I saw mentioned recently in connection with the Powell & Pressburger film, A Matter of Life and Death. I think Aumonier designed the statues for the stairway to Heaven scene. And in another coincidence P&P worked under the name The Archers.

  2. Transported exhibition
    Young people ‘transported’ back in time
    Young people from Grey Court School are demonstrating their creative skills next month at an exhibition celebrating historical transport posters of the borough.
    Twenty three year nine pupils worked with artists Rachel Craddock and Eleanor Pile to create their homages to train and tube posters. Their work will be displayed alongside historical posters from the London Transport Museum as part of the Transported: Posters for the Arcadian Thames exhibition at the Riverside Gallery from March.
    The project was made possible by the Thames Landscape Strategy.
    Cllr Pamela Fleming, Cabinet Member for Committees on Richmond Council, said:
    “The introduction of overground and underground trains in the 19th century made areas such as Richmond much more accessible to tourists and the rest of London. These posters were created by leading artists of the day, to celebrate our grand historic houses and picturesque gardens, all within easy reach of the metropolis.
    “Their posters celebrate many different styles of art, including cubism, futurism, vorticism and abstraction. The young people from Grey Court School have studied the styles and created their own contemporary interpretations, celebrating the local area. The exhibition will definitely be worth a visit.”
    Jason Debney, Co-ordinator of the Thames Landscape Strategy, added:
    “The Arcadian Thames is one of the most special landscapes in the country and is brought vividly to life through the London Transport posters. The exhibition includes some quite magical images of Hampton Court, Kew Gardens, Kingston, Twickenham and Richmond and is timed to encourage as many people as possible to get out and enjoy the river this spring.”
    The exhibition runs from 5 March – 28 May 2011
    Riverside Gallery, Old Town Hall Richmond.
    Free admission.
    Go to: for more information

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