Welcome to my blog

This is it! I've given up work -retired from the rat race and am about to start on a 10 year adventure, doing all those things I've been meaning to do but never had the time to do them. I've offloaded my responsibilities and it is now my time. So follow my adventures and see whether I actually manage anything!

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Female poster artists

100 years ago many things changed for women here in the UK. For the first time some women over the age of 30 were allowed to vote. By the end of 1918 some women were allowed to stand for election to the House of Commons. A time of change was beginning.
When Frank Pick took charge of Underground publicity in 1908 almost all poster artists were men. Pick changed that by commissioning artists solely on talent and not gender. The first poster by a woman appeared on the company's trams in 1910. By 1920 a new group of women poster artists emerged. This exhibition at the London Transport Museum celebrates the work of female poster artists.
Many of the posters are unsigned like this one from 1917 but it has been attributed to a 'Miss Bowden'

Hampstead Heath 1915.
Nancy Smith began her career as a book illustrator but became one of the first professional female poster designers in Britain.
Pinner 1916
Her posters were regularly reviewed in the press and exhibited in galleries alongside those of leading male poster designers.

Epping Forest !922

For Horsenden Hill 1914 by Dora McLaren

Always ready 1913 and Kensington Gardens 1915 by Hilda Cowham.. Before designer London Underground posters Hilda was already a successful children's book illustrator.

The day will come when the joybells will ring again 1944 by Anna Zinkeisen

Clifford and Rosemary Ellis  1936

Anna Zinkeisen 1934

Anna Zinkeisen 1934

Anna Zinkeisen 1934

Freda Lingstrom, one of the most successful poster artists of the 1920s

London's Season 1934 by Kate Burrell

Kate Burrell 1928

General Joy by Vera Willoughby 1928

Regents Park Zoo 1930 by Arnrid Johnson

Sybil Andrews 1933

Margaret Calkin James

Travels in time on your doorstep 1937. Rosemary Ellis always worked in collaboration with her husband Clifford producing over 20 posters for London Transport. Their surrealist inspired images would have been considered very unusual at the time and reflect the Underground's role in introducing modern art to its passengers.

A garden for all seasons 1993 by Caroline Brice. This poster promotes Covent Garden.

Lazy days by tube 1991 by Sandra Fisher
The new Kew by Tube 1987 by Jennie Tuffs (this became one of London Transport Museum's best selling posters.)

St James's park 1997 by Jennie Tuffs. Tuffs designed seven posters for London Underground between 1987 and 1999

The Flower Market 1987 by Kay Gallwey

London's Museum 1979 by Carci Barker

Westminster Abbey 1966 by Gaynor Chapman

Simply health and fitness by Jane Strother 1999

Simply Showbiz by Lesley Saddington 1998

Smithfield market 2010 by Ruth Hydes.

Borough Market 2010 by Ruth Hydes

Tube Map 2006 by Emma Kay. This was originally designed as a cover for the pocket tube map and was later turned into a poster.

Waiting for a train 2013 by Corin Sworn. Commissioned for 'Art on the Underground'

Cranky 2014 by Clare Woods. Commissioned for 'Art on the Underground' shows parts of the river usually unseen.

Winter fun 2016 by Anna Hymas


  1. I love old posters like these. All are good but I think I like the top one best.

  2. Very colourful, and very much evocative of their time period.

  3. Those were really fun to see. I love that I can enlarge each one and study the details. Horsy for iPads!

  4. These are fascinating! Thank you so much for sharing all of these. And the history as well. :-)

  5. This is a beautiful post, very fascinating..

  6. They are wonderful. The first from 1917 seems very much later and with minimal colour and an unusual font. It is quite extraordinary.

  7. They are beautiful ! Women were nowhere recognized as artists. How many took a male's name to publish their books

  8. That is a nice exhibition, so strange to think only man could paint....

  9. Interesting old posters --showing lots of feelings/history/trend of the times.....

    My high school band director was a woman... She was my brothers' band director also --and my oldest brother was born in 1922.... SO----WAY BACK in the early 1920's Mrs. MacChesney was the school's band director----LONG before women EVER did anything like that.... Mrs. Mac (as we called her) was a fantastic band director, and when we would go to contests around the area/country, our band would always win top honors. She was truly amazing and was such a great influence on my life... Thank Goodness for those WOMEN who excelled in a man's world!!!!!


  10. Looks like a great exhibition.

  11. Hello, what a wonderful post exhibit. I see a few favorite, like Lazy Days and the one with the bird. Thanks for sharing. Enjoy your day. Have a great new week!

  12. This is such interesting poster art. I never thought of this as a genre all by itself. Oh, that lovely poster of people huddled under umbrellas is one I’d love to have in my home.

  13. Such an interesting bit of history!

  14. Some of these posters might well have encouraged me to go out and about and exploring.

  15. Wow! What a wonderful post and photos of the posters that women created over the years ~ thanks!

    Happy Week to you,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  16. Those are beautiful posters. Have a wonderful 2018!

  17. Wow I loved looking at the posters, it is fun to see all the different ones. Great blog.

  18. What great posters - so much history.

  19. A most interesting post about posters. I never realised that initially it was only over 30s that got the vote. How times have changed as seen by the style of the posters as well as your description. I wish I had just a few of those originals - lovely period art.

  20. The posters are great in an of themselves, and besides this is such a great time to reflect on the talent and contributions of women ! Thanks for this great post. I wish I owned the Hampstead Heath one -- that was one of my favorite places and one of my favorite posters. Love thinking about it being a day trip from London back in the day -- going out to the country!!

  21. I so enjoyed seeing these. I always learn something new when I come here.

  22. How wonderful to witness the talent of these women and to have it celebrated in such a way!

  23. I didn't know that there were women poster artist. Always learning something from blogging.The poster collection is great.

  24. I love the style of these posters - especially the ones that show the countryside. Classics really.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  25. So much talent on display, each poster with its own story to tell.


Thank-you for reading my blog. I would love to read your comments.