From time to time our Members like to keep you informed of their activities and…
- On Friday 20 October 2023, London Transport Museum will open a new gallery dedicated to the history of poster art and design
- London Transport Museum cares for one of the world’s largest collections of 20th century graphic art and design, housed at its Museum Depot
- The new Global Poster Gallery, sponsored by Global, the Media & Entertainment Group, will showcase this iconic collection for the public to enjoy at the Museum in Covent Garden
- Through its exhibition programme, the Global Poster Gallery will reveal the power of the poster and its influence on mass communication since the 1900s to the modern day
- The Global Poster Gallery will launch with a block-buster exhibition, How to Make a Poster
- Entry to the Global Poster Gallery is included with museum admission. Adult tickets cost £24 – and kids go free! ltmuseum.co.uk
- A programme of public events for adults and families will be on offer, including a Museum Late on 17 November
On Friday 20 October, London Transport Museum in Covent Garden will open the Global Poster Gallery, its first permanent gallery dedicated to the history of poster art and design.
London Transport Museum cares for one of the world’s largest collections of twentieth century graphic art and design, with around 1,000 original poster artworks and over 30,000 posters housed at its Museum Depot in Acton, west London. Together, these reflect the Underground and London Transport’s unrivalled reputation for commissioning great works of commercial art and design.
Exhibitions hosted in the Global Poster Gallery will feature artistic works from the Museum’s collection together with loans from private, national, and international archives. Its displays will reveal the power of the poster and its influence on mass communication from the 1900s to the present day.
Behind the scenes of the poster store at London Transport Museum’s Depot in Acton Town, west London © London Transport Museum
When Frank Pick, the first Chief Executive of London Transport, first took charge of the Underground’s publicity in 1908, he revolutionised poster design. Driven by his belief that good design enriches life, Pick injected new life into a previously conservative, text-based medium by commissioning pictorial posters.
Eye-catching designs soon enticed prospective travellers by focusing on the destination rather than the mode of travel. Imagery never seen before on the Tube let commuters know that a trip to the theatre, zoo or countryside was all within their reach. Seeing this success, other commercial organisations soon followed suit.
Pick believed that ‘there is room in posters for all styles’ and in the 1920s, he began to commission more adventurous posters. He went on to work with graphic designers influenced by radical and avant-garde art movements, such as futurism, cubism, and surrealism, conveying the modernity of the Underground. Many of the posters in this period had a strong art deco flavour.
Over three decades, Pick cultivated an extensive network of talented artists and designers. This legacy established London Transport as a leading patron of the arts and brought the capital’s transport system critical and international acclaim for its graphic art and design.
Portrait of Frank Pick © TfL from London Transport Museum’s collection
The new Global Poster Gallery at London Transport Museum in Covent Garden will celebrate this important design heritage and its global influence. Set over two floors, the permanent gallery will open on Friday 20 October.
The Global Poster Gallery will launch with its first blockbuster exhibition, How to Make a Poster, which will run until 2025. The exhibition will be a visual exploration of poster commissioning and creativity in the pre-digital age from 1900.
It will explore the poster-making process behind some of the twentieth century’s most influential commercial art and design. More than 110 poster artworks and posters from London Transport Museum’s collection will be on display, including the Underground’s very first pictorial poster titled ‘No need to ask a p’liceman’ by John Hassall, dating from 1908.
Poster; No need to ask a p’liceman by John Hassall, 1908 © TfL from London Transport Museum’s collection
Iconic posters by internationally recognised figures will be on show, including works by the American graphic artists Edward McKnight Kauffer and Man Ray, the German-born graphic designer Hans Unger, and prominent British artists such as Abram Games, Tom Eckersley, Paul Catherall, and Dora M Batty, who was the most prolific female designer commissioned by the Underground.
Poster; There is still the Country, by Dora M Batty, 1926 (C) TfL from London Transport Museum’s collection
Poster; Power – the nerve centre of London’s Underground, by Edward McKnight Kauffer, 1931 (C) TfL from London Transport Museum’s collection
Poster; Keeps London going, by Man Ray, 1938 (C) TfL from London Transport Museum’s collection
Poster; A new view of London Paul Catherall, 2007 (C) TfL from London Transport Museum’s collection
Future displays in the Global Poster Gallery will include artist retrospectives and collaborative exhibitions with private, national, and international collections.
Elizabeth McKay, London Transport Museum’s Director said: ‘We’re incredibly proud to be opening a brand-new museum gallery in the heart of the capital dedicated to the fascinating history of poster art and design, of which London’s transport is at the fore. The Global Poster Gallery will shine a light on this fascinating heritage and celebrate its international influence. We can’t wait to open its doors and welcome visitors to enjoy the opening exhibition.’
Matt Brosnan, Head Curator at London Transport Museum said: ‘When Frank Pick took charge of publicising the Underground, his pioneering vision for beauty and utility turned the Tube – and later London’s transport network at large – into a place where great art and design could be admired in everyday life. The Global Poster Gallery’s opening exhibition will bring together some of the finest posters in the Museum’s collection of graphic art and design in a celebration of commissioning, creativity, and artistic talent that will inspire our visitors.’
The Global Poster Gallery at London Transport Museum is sponsored by Global, one of the UK’s leading outdoor media providers. Global’s outdoor advertising network includes London’s Tube and bus network as well as the UK’s largest network of buses in major towns and cities across the UK.
Jason Cotterrell, Chief Operating Officer – Outdoor at Global, said: ‘Poster design and outdoor advertising as we know it today is rooted in London and its transport history. A long line of designers achieved both artistic and commercial success under Frank Pick and his successors. Today, Global continues this legacy with our innovative displays and creative use of technology. We’re incredibly proud to sponsor the new Global Poster Gallery at London Transport Museum as part of our continued and long-term support. It will be the place in the UK to discover the story of commercial poster art, and its opening exhibition will be a fantastic opportunity for visitors to discover the people behind iconic poster designs and the artistic skill used to create them.’
London Transport Museum is grateful to the Wolfson Foundation for a major grant toward developing the gallery and to the Finnis Scott Foundation for their support.
In the Global Poster Gallery’s opening exhibition, How to Make a Poster, letters, photographs, audio, and film will reveal the people behind iconic posters designs, from the commissioners and the creativity they inspired to the soaring success of the artists.
The rich variety of artistic styles and techniques used in poster production since the early 1900s will also be on display, from painting and drawing to printmaking, photography, and sculpture.
Preliminary sketches, original artworks and the tools used by artists to create their work will feature alongside final poster designs. Together they illustrate the evolution of production techniques across more than 100 years of design.
Historic photos will explore the creative ways posters have been displayed in Tube stations, at bus stops, and on mail vans and lorries. Guests will also learn about the reception poster designs received from both the travelling public and art world. They will be challenged to assess some of the designs themselves through a touchscreen interactive.
Amongst the poster artworks to be enjoyed are a 1930s design by Scottish painter Anna Zinkeisen depicting a fantastical merry-go-round, a colourful 1950s poster produced from a classic oil painting of London’s flowers by Ivon Hitchens, and a mosaic by Hans Unger and Eberhand Schultze created in the 1970s to pay homage to the iconic red London bus.
Visitors will also have the chance to see the paintbrushes, palette, pencils and technical equipment used by the prolific poster artist Abram Games to create his eye-catching designs.
Poster; Merry-go-round, by Anna Zinkeisen, 1935 (C) TfL from London Transport Museum’s collection
Poster; Flowers by Ivon Hitchens, 1951 (C) TfL from London Transport Museum’s collection
Poster; Busabout by Hans Unger and Eberhand Schultze,1970 (C) TfL from London Transport Museum’s collection
Artworks, posters, and historic objects will also be on display throughout the exhibition from private, national, and commercial collections, including the estate of Abram Games, The Postal Museum, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Shell Heritage Art Collection, Manchester Metropolitan University’s Special Collections Archive, the University of Brighton’s Design Archive and TfL Corporate Archives.
How to Make a Poster has been curated and designed by London Transport Museum and built by Exib with audio-visuals created in partnership with DJW.
Entry to the new Global Poster Gallery to see How to Make a Poster is included with museum admission. Adult tickets to London Transport Museum cost £24 and include free return entry for a whole year. Off-peak tickets to visit at quieter times are available and cost £22. Kids aged 18 and under, go free!
To book tickets visit: www.ltmuseum.co.uk/global-poster-gallery
A programme of public events celebrating the opening of the new Global Poster Gallery at London Transport Museum will be on offer for adult and family visitors in October and November.
October Half Term: Perfect Posters – Saturday 21-Sunday 29 October
Families can join creative half-term activities inspired by the amazing artworks on display in the new Global Poster Gallery. Kids can get crafty designing a perfect transport poster, settle in for a lively puppet theatre show, or join a trail through the Museum’s galleries to track down a secret artwork. Adult tickets offer free return entry for a whole year – and kids go free! Tickets and timed-entry slots can be booked in advance online: www.ltmuseum.co.uk/whats-on/family-events/october-half-term-perfect-posters
Museum Late: Posters and Posers – Friday 17 November
At the Posters and Posers Museum Late on Friday 17 November, visitors can peruse the newly opened Global Poster Gallery after dark. Expert curator talks will reveal the stories behind iconic artworks on display. Guests can get creative as they make their own retro posters and find their muse in life-drawing sessions before enjoying a drink from the bar. Over 18s only. Tickets cost £18 and must be booked online in advance: www.ltmuseum.co.uk/whats-on/friday-late/museum-late-posters-and-posers
Ahead of the Global Poster Gallery opening people can delve deeper into London Transport Museum’s extensive collection of posters via its new website feature, My Collections. Website visitors can discover over 269,000 objects online – including 17,000 posters and artworks – and save their favourites to their own collection. My Collections is available from 11 September at www.ltmuseum.co.uk/my-collections