© london transport museum collection
Not available to buy
Art of the poster label
The barmaid: Royal Academy, 1987 :
Ruskin Spear (1911-1990)
Oil and collage
This painting was commissioned in collaboration with The Royal Academy of Arts for the Art on the Underground programme. Spears won critical acclaim for his candid portraiture in the 1940s. Characters from his local pub were among his favourite subjects.
'The Art on the Underground programme has transformed Underground stations into a thriving public art gallery, visited by millions of passengers every day. The programme has enabled the Royal Academy to provide paintings… by leading British artists to an audience far greater and wider than those who presently visit Burlington House..'
Fay Ballard, Royal Academy of Arts Press Officer, 1989
The range of entertainment on offer in London provided countless vibrant and enticing subjects for transport posters. Rather than advertising specific venues or events, posters usually promoted general activities such as shopping or going to the theatre. Many aimed to encourage travel to the city in the evenings and at weekends. Others encouraged regular commuters to stay in the city after work, rather than travelling home at rush hour. In the 1930s, posters were also issued with listings of specific events scheduled for that week.
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