Poster of the Week: There is still the country

here is still the country, Dora M. Batty, 1926

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As part of the exhibition, the Siemens Poster Vote seeks to find out what your favourite poster is. Is it this one? Let us know by voting now!

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The leaves are starting to fall from the trees, the central heating is on and the chunky knitwear is back…Hello autumn! This week’s striking Poster of the Week epitomises the autumnal season with bright yellow and orange tones contrasted with the cool blue of a woman’s tunic.

The poster, produced in 1926, was designed by one of the most prolific female designers at the time, Dora M Batty. It depicts a woman wearing the latest modern clothes. Like many posters produced during this period, it bears more than a fleeting resemblance to the upmarket fashion illustrations of the time. This was not unintentional as many advertisers and companies, including London Underground, were aware of women’s growing interest in fashion. This interest was exploited by advertisers who wished to attract female customers by seducing them with images of stylish women whose looks and lifestyle they aspired to emulate.

Batty worked in gouache, pen and ink, scraper board engraving and produced numerous book illustrations in the Art deco style. She went on to teach textiles at the Central School in 1932 and later became Head of the department. Her profession meant that she understood the qualities of textiles and this was often reflected in her posters.

The social conditions engendered by the First World War had provided new opportunities for women working in the design industry. The representation of the ‘modern woman’ in Underground publicity had also increased and as a result a staggering number of female artists were designing posters in 1920s-30s. While Victorian women were previously depicted in luxury parlours or in the safety and respectability of their own home the ‘new woman’ was depicted as having a more dominant public presence in society. This poster effectively illustrates the growing independence women had at this time; one which continued to increase throughout the century.

Written by Chloe Taylor, Curatorial Intern

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