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Sunday, March 28, 2010

London Transport posters of the 1930s: A display at the Bodleian Library

This April, the Bodleian Library showcases a small selection of posters which would have caught the eye of travellers on London's buses and underground trains in the 1930s. At that time, the Underground Group was a leader in poster publicity thanks to Frank Pick (1878—1941), the company's Managing Director, who was responsible for creating a strong visual identity for the company. He revolutionised its poster style and also famously commissioned the Johnston Underground typeface. By the formation of London Transport in 1933, the company was considered a patron of the arts, enthusiastically commissioning leading and avant-garde artists to create posters to inspire travel on London's trains and buses. Small panel posters were produced for display in Underground carriages, as well as on the inside and outside of buses and trams, carrying the art into the streets. Designers such as Herry Perry, Margaret Barnard, Walter Goetz, the husband and wife team Clifford and Rosemary Ellis, and André Marty offered vivid and varied artwork, ranging from naturalistic imagery to more radical geometric and abstract designs infused with the Art Deco spirit. The London Underground would eventually be dubbed "the world's longest art gallery"

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