The long and splendid history of advertising on London Underground is about to be celebrated in a new exhibition at London Transport Museum.
Poster Art 150 – London Underground’s Greatest Designs opens on 15th Feb and will run until October. The exhibition will feature 150 of the greatest Underground posters ever produced.
This poster has made the cut, it is one of my all-time favourites but I have never managed to identify all the characters depicted.
Produced in 1920 for the International Advertising Exhibition at the White City, London, the poster features a host of brand characters. Some, such as the Michelin Man and Johnny Walker are still with us today, others are harder to identify. For example, is the small dog in the foreground Nipper of HMV fame, or is it the dog owned by Rowntree’s Cocoa-Nibs? I assume the young woman with the camera is the Kodak Girl, but who is that pixelated female figure in the distance?
Click on the image for a full-size zoomable version.
The V&A catalogue entry for this poster offers a few clues to help identify some of the characters. This entry also includes a reference to a fascinating event that I hadn’t heard of before. Apparently the International Advertising Exhibition featured a: “‘Pageant of Publicity’, a procession through London of such brand characters as Bubbles, the Kodak Girl, the Michelin Man, the Rowntree’s Cocoa-Nibs children and many others, some of whom are depicted here.”
I haven’t managed to track down a single image of this pageant or discover its route, can anyone help?
The artist of this poster, Frederick Charles Herrick (1887-1970), also produced a host of other classic posters for the Underground Group and London Transport. You can buy a reproduction of this poster and many others from the London Transport Museum Shop.
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