Saturday, 28 January 2012

Tom Purvis - Railway Poster Designer

From 1923 to 1945 Purvis worked for the LNER under the direction of Advertising Manager William Teasdale and then his successor Charles Dandridge, who both allowed him considerable freedom in his designs. During his time at the LNER Purvis produced over 100 posters, around 5-6 per year or one every two months. He enjoyed a very high status in the LNER's advertising department as he was one of the major designers involved in the recognisable bold and graphic LNER poster style. He was so important to the LNER that he was paid a retainer of approximately £450 per annum to carry out his work.

His posters for the LNER largely avoided depictions of the trains themselves but rather concentrated on portraying the resorts that were the holiday destinations of travellers and the leisure pursuits that could be enjoyed there. Sex appeal was quite a strong element of Purvis's work, with many posters portraying women in bathing costumes with bare arms and legs—quite risqué in 1930's Britain! As well as individual posters, Purvis also produced two sets of six posters for the LNER that could either stand alone or be joined together to produce a single, overall image. 

The... by LNER series portrays six seaside resorts, each shown at an unusual angle, to form a continuous landscape in the background as the posters, like the trains themselves, travel up the east coast of Britain from Essex to Suffolk, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire and finally Northumberland. The East Coast Joys set, depicting various leisure activities, has a relaxed, simplified style and the warm colours give it an almost Mediterranean feel, emphasising that the east coast is 'the drier side of Britain'.

1 comment:

  1. Ian....awesome post....I could look and read about Tom Purvis and his work all day. I used some of his designs when I taught an intro to graphic design class. His talent should be in more design books! My favorite is shown here:

    Wish they we reproduce it cause it would be proudly displayed in my living room! Thanks.