The Hidden Women Behind London’s Beloved Modernist Transit Posters
Art Business

The Hidden Women Behind London’s Beloved Modernist Transit Posters

From left to right: "Take cover – travel Underground" by Kathleen Stenning (1925), "Victoria Embankment" by Monica Rawlins (1926), "Travel Underground" by Miss Bowden (1917) With their mix of Modernist experimentation and now bygone charm, London Underground’s 20 th century publicity posters have long been popular in Britain. What is less well-known, however, is just how central a role women artists played in their creation. Since 1910, at least 170 known female artists have been commissioned to make work for London’s public transit network, creating instantly recognizable images in near anonymity. Over the past year, an exhibition at the London Transport Museum, entitled Poster Girls , has been highlighting this unsung contribution to the British capital’s visual identity. Due to close this Sunday, visitors have a last chance to view what is both a document of social change and a treasure trove of invention. “Boat Races: Head of the River” by Anne Hickmott (1959). (London Transport Museum) The important role of women artists in creating London Underground’s posters is probably no coincidence. While the network’s first line opened in 1863, London Underground’s expansion into a genuine citywide network began in the years following 1900—around the same time that women […]

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