Posters

Poster; Highgate Ponds, by Howard Hodgkin, 1989
Simple name : Poster
Date : 1989
Collection : Posters
Object location : Acton Depot
Reference number : 1999/43124
Size : H 509mm, W 339mm
Reproduced in : London Transport Posters. A Century of Art and Design, edited by David Bownes and Oliver Green, Lund Humphries, 2008
Publisher : London Underground Ltd : 1989
Commissioner : Art on the Underground
Content text : Highgate Ponds Nearest stations: Hampstead, Highgate Highgate Pond by Howard Hodgkin A new work of art commissioned by London Underground
Additional information : London Underground commissioned this poster in 1989 as part of 'Art on the Underground'. The campaign was launched in 1986 to encourage an artistic rather than a commercial approach to poster design. The striking design by Howard Hodgkin was the first in the series to take the image right to the borders. Similarly Hodgkin often painted over the frame of his pictures. Hodgkin's bold compositions are never quite abstract. He created identifiable textures and used representational colour to construct what he described as 'representational pictures of emotional situations'. In this painting, which promotes Highgate Ponds, hints of the water's surface, lilly pads, blue skies and even a Union Jack, convey a nostalgic memory of the British outdoors.
Title : Highgate Ponds
Colour : Orange,Yellow,Green
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Londoners are very fortunate in having a large number of green open spaces, where they can escape the hustle and bustle of city life. Many of these were the former grounds of large houses or royal parks, whilst others were specially created as London expanded. The River Thames also offers Londoners a variety of day trips. Further outdoor attractions include London's public sculpture and historic sites like Highgate Cemetery. All these open air destinations have been promoted by London Transport posters.
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Historically, London's heaths and commons were managed as an agricultural resource for the local population. Typically less formal than traditional city parks, these rural landscapes also provide a haven for wildlife. Trips to Wimbledon Common and Hampstead Heath were regularly promoted by London Transport. Until the early 19th century Hounslow Heath formed part of the Forest of Middlesex. It is now largely buried beneath the runways of London Airport, but early posters featured its historic associations with legendary highwayman.
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Abstraction : Abstract imagery has been a common feature of Underground poster design. The simplification and distortion of form can be extremely striking, although an element of representation is usually necessary to communicate a clear message. Geometric abstraction, inspired by avant-garde art movements, was particularly popular in designs from the 1920s and 1930s.
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