This week’s featured poster is London Subterranea by Stephen Walter (2012).
Subterranean London is an amalgamation of secret tunnels, buried rivers, sewers, utility pipes, bunkers and of course the London Underground along with its many now disused stations. Stephen Walter spent months researching and visiting sites underground to construct the final map. He also included mysterious elements such as ley lines, pagan burial sites and sites of unsolved murders. The original artwork was specially commissioned by London Transport Museum and features in the current exhibition Mind the Map which runs until the 28th of October.
Much of Stephen Walter’s worked is map based and always includes words and symbols to illustrate not just geographical landmarks but history, stories and trivia relating to a location. As well as drawing maps he works with a range of mediums including photography, digital drawing, painting and collage. His other notable works include cover illustrations for the successful books of Dr Who script writer Ben Aaronovitch – Rivers of London and Moon over Soho. His work has been included in the Royal Academy of Arts prestigious Summer Exhibition five times and is part of many important art collections including that of The British Library, the British Government Art Collection, the Royal College of Art Drawing Collection and now also London Transport Museum!
London Subterranea is the featured map in our final week of I-Spy Maps Summer Family Fun activities here at the Museum which finishes on Sunday 2nd of September. Families can discover the details of the map through story telling, games and craft workshops.
If you would like your own copy of this map to explore prints are available to buy in a range of sizes from our online shop.
This week’s poster is actually a pair of posters – Travels in Time on Your Doorstep and Travels in Space on Your Doorstep by Clifford Ellis and Rosemary Ellis, created in 1937 during the height of the Surrealist movement. This movement began in the early 1920s and encouraged the creative potential of the subconscious in all areas of the arts and literature, with visual art commonly appearing as a juxtaposition of imagery with the logic of reason removed. In keeping with this ethos, these posters promoted the use of public transport in a more ambiguous than literal fashion.
Surrealist art in advertising was a more subtle and indirect form of publicity and was adopted in a range of mainstream campaigns from fuel and transport providers to watch makers. Other notable works from this period within the Museum’s collection include those by English artist Graham Sutherland and prolific American artist Man Ray. It is worthwhile to note that across the Channel, during the same period, the famed Spanish Surrealist Salvador Dali was producing advertising for the French railways.
The illustrators of this particular set of posters, Clifford and Rosemary Ellis, were a husband and wife team who produced a number of posters for London Transport during the 1930s, as well as for Shell and the General Post Office. They also designed many book covers and worked for the Bath Academy of Art, an institution established to educate art teachers.
We were reminded of these posters while working on our new show Project X, an immersive theatrical adventure based on time travel! We don’t want to give too much away, but it involves the solving of cryptic clues and a finale that incorporates a time travel portal!
And as with all our Posters of the Week, prints are available to buy in a range of sizes and with optional framing from our online shop.
My first visit to the Boston Lodge works of the Ffestiniog Railway to see our restoration in progress. The carriage body is now nearly complete, with the teak panelling restored and revarnished. Work has started on fitting out the four compartments with their bench seats. The repairs and filling of gaps and holes has been beautifully done, just discernible from close up but not from a distance. It is already hard to reconcile the carriage in its present state with the tired body removed from our store at the start of the Project. The two holes for the Pintsch patent gas lights to be dropped into the ceilings can be seen in each compartment. The wooden strakes, window corners and mirror surrounds were seen in the varnish shop ready for addition to the body.
Much work has recently been undertaken on cutting down the ex-BR under frame to fit the body. The Ffestiniog guys have resisted the temptation to go for the 2ft and I can report the under frame is definitely standard gauge! We came away most impressed with the knowledge and workmanship of Norman’s team and our apprentice. Work is on programme and we look forward to 353 taking its place behind Met 1 later in the autumn for running in.
Have you been to the Olympics yet? Come visit our current Poster Parade display! This display celebrates the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics by reflecting on the history and tradition of London’s sporting life. There’s some fantastic posters on display, from football and horse riding through to athletics and swimming. Also on display is the one poster commissioned by London Transport during the London 1948 Olympics, also known as the ‘Austerity Olympics’ during the tough economic times after World War II.
Posters have been used since the early 1900s to encourage travel to sporting events and activities. They also assisted in promoting off-peak sales on London’s public transport network, particularly as the popularity of mass spectator sports grew. Special events such as Wimbledon and cup finals bring the additional challenge of transporting thousands of extra passengers. TfL is currently facing one of its biggest challenges – informing and assisting spectators and participants in their experience of the London 2012 Olympics.
To celebrate the triumph of the London 2012 Olympic Games and Team GB’s success in competing, this week’s featured poster is Boat Race by Andre Edouard Marty (1933). Team GB gained a total of nine medals in rowing (four gold, two silver & three bronze!) making it our most successful Olympic rowing attempt ever, surpassing our success back in 1908 when Great Britain also hosted the Olympics. We have however won gold in the rowing at every Olympic Games since 1984 and have been the most successful rowing team at the last two Olympics.
This poster was specifically designed by Marty to advertise our annual opportunity to witness British rowing in London, the Boat Race between Oxford and Cambridge universities which has taken place on a four mile stretch of the Thames annually since 1856. This poster was part of a set of panel posters he designed for London Underground all for special sporting events; the outcome of this commission was unsurprisingly stylish given that Marty was a leading fashion illustrator in his time, seeing his work published regularly in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Vanity Fair.
As London takes a break from all the excitement until the Paralympic Games begin on the 29th August, we’d love to hear your experiences of the last fortnight, what have been your highlights of the London 2012 Olympic Games?