Look Back In London History Through These Lovely Illustrations

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 64 months ago

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Look Back In London History Through These Lovely Illustrations
We love this Gothic view of Liverpool Street station by Edward Bawden. © Estate of Edward Bawden

Who doesn't love to look back at how London used to be? One treasure trove for rifling through London history is posters and illustrations by artists who used to live in the capital. Our inner nerd gets even more excited when we find out they designed London Underground posters and moquettes for trains and buses.

Just like all forms of London Transport, you wait for ages, and then two exhibitions come along at once. You'll find Enid Marx at House of Illustration and Edward Bawden at Dulwich Picture Gallery.

Both of these diverse artists covered more than just London, but we're called Londonist for a reason, and we've rounded up some of their most London-y art and design contributions.

The London elements are a small part of each artist's portfolio, but if you like what you see here, head down to either exhibition to see the rest of their work.

Edward Bawden

Behind the scenes at Borough Market in 1967. © Estate of Edward Bawden
We're fans of this jaunty perspective to show off the birds section at the Natural History Museum. © Estate of Edward Bawden
London looking nice and grey with Albert Bridge in the foreground - good to see little has changed. © Estate of Edward Bawden

Edward Bawden is on at Dulwich Picture Gallery until 9 September 2018. Tickets are £16.50 for adults.

Enid Marx

Enid Marx was an artist and designer who illustrated books, designed textiles, made ceramics and designed moquettes for both the Underground and buses. She also happened to be a contemporary of Edward Bawden so it's great timing to have both exhibitions on simultaneously. Their contemporary, painter Paul Nash, referred to Marx as a 'designer of real independence and vision'.

Here's a study of the chevron moquette that was used on the Piccadilly line from the late 1930s onwards.
Plus a couple more moquettes from the same era that were used on the Bakerloo line
Marx also designed posters for the Underground to encourage people to visit London Zoo.
Here's a close up of the Noah's ark illustration in the above poster.

Enid Marx: Print, Pattern and Popular Art is on at House of Illustration until 23 September 2018. Tickets are £8.25 for adults.

Last Updated 31 May 2018