The Arcadian Thames landscape has long attracted visitors with its offer of grand historic houses, picturesque gardens and sporting leisure. London Transport posters, created by leading artists of their day celebrated this rural respite within easy reach of the metropolis.
This exhibition at the Riverside Gallery in Richmond brings together a selection of historical posters from the London Transport Museum depicting famous local landmarks and views - from the distinctive pagoda at Kew Gardens to the vista from Richmond Hill.
The introduction of overground and underground trains and expansion of lines later in the 19th century made areas such as Richmond more accessible. Transport posters were essential in marketing these destinations. The modern graphic poster came into use from the 1890s, revolutionising publicity, advertising - and during periods of war - propaganda.
Most of the posters in this exhibition date from the 1920s and 1930s. This period is considered the golden age when artists reached a peak of bold, clear and stylish design. By the time London Transport was formed in 1933, the company was considered the leading patron of contemporary visuals arts. Alongside more traditional representational poster designs, many artists introduced aspects of modernism - from Cubism, Futurism, Vorticism to abstraction. The commercial appropriation of these styles helped introduce modern art to a wide audience.
The posters, and an array of reproductions, have provided inspiration for a new generation of artists and graphic designers. Working with artist educator Rachel Craddock, Year 9 pupils from Grey Court School in Ham, as well as pupils from Kingston and Hounslow Schools, have created contemporary posters celebrating the locality. The project has been sponsored by the Thames Landscape Strategy.
Jason Debney, Co-ordinator of the Thames Landscape Strategy, said:
“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.”
Updated: 26 April 2017