Last night the winner of the Serco Prize for Illustration was announced at the London Transport Museum. The theme of the poster competition was ‘London Stories’ and the winning entry, above by Gill Bradley, will be displayed on the Underground while it and another 49 will feature in an exhibition which opens tomorrow…
This year I helped to judge the prize and so along with the top three posters that the judging panel selected, I’ve also included a few of my favourite entries here – all of which feature in the exhibition at the Museum that runs until April 6. (The show opens tomorrow night, February 14, as a Friday Late event – 6.45pm to 10pm, last admission 9.30pm.)
The theme for this year’s competition, organised with the Association of Illustrators, was ‘London Stories’ so each poster had to illustrate, or make reference to, a story or event particular to the capital. The stories that each poster reflects are also detailed below in comments from the artists.
Gill Bradley’s Monkey Band at Large in Notting Hill, 1927 – a raucous depiction of an “escaped monkey jazz band” no less – was chosen as the winner of the competition. Here’s Bradley’s explanation for the piece: “In 1927 an escaped monkey jazz band embarked on days of high-jinks and mayhem at Latimer Road Metropolitan station. Jumping aboard trains one reached as far as Rugby before capture.”
Second place – Nicholas Stevenson, Frost Fair. “The River Thames froze solid 24 times between 1408 and 1814. Sometimes it lasted long enough to hold a fair on the ice, complete with rides, beers, roast ox, and even an elephant!”
Third place – Eric Chow, The Lady Bridge. “The Waterloo Bridge was reconstructed mostly by women during the wars in 1945, while men were doing national service, and so has another name – The Lady Bridge.”
Melvyn Evans, Long Wolf and Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. “Long Wolf, Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show London 1887. Part of American Exhibition, Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. 300 performances, 2.5 million tickets sold. Long Wolf died London, forgotten until 1991.”
Erica Sturla, The Menagerie in the Tower. “The Royal menagerie in the Tower brings a wealth of stories from its 600 year chapter in London’s history. I wanted to create an exotic, chaotic and historical scene in a bright contemporary drawing.”
Faye Moorhouse, No. 7 Ghost Bus. “The No. 7 bus haunts the streets of London. When it’s seen it appears to have no driver or passengers. Cars swerve to avoid it and many drivers have crashed and died in the process.”
Nicola Pontin, Mole Man. “William Lyttle, who spent over 40 years digging under his home in Hackney. The image celebrates how he filled his time pursuing an interest with no objective or intent, simply because he enjoyed it.”
Kate Sampson, London Bells. “The famous rhyme ”Oranges and Lemons” is steeped in historical references, capturing the vibrancy of city life. I have depicted scenes from the original rhyme as it was formerly known ‘London Bells’.”
Samuel Kerwin, Add Your London Story. “The viewer is invited to add their own story to the rich diversity of London. Children’s building blocks evoke a spirit of ‘play’ and suggest that each addition forms the very fabric of the city.”
Paul Davis, Lenin’s Little-known Love Poem To London. “Lenin studied the work of Marx and allegedly wrote this.”
Eliza Southwood, Oranges and Lemons. “Everyone knows the Oranges and Lemons song but not everyone is familiar with the actual churches – I’ve drawn them all as they are today, in a playful interpretation of the London song.”
David McConochie, The Princes in the Tower. “An illustration based on the ambiguous manner of the disappearance of Edward V and the Duke of York, and the broken narratives that surround the story.”
More details on the exhibition at ltmuseum.co.uk. London Stories opens tomorrow (February 14) and there is a Friday Late event in the evening, complete with bar, DJ, London Stories quiz, and tours of the Museum’s new poster parade, I Love London. The Museum is also launching its new cocktail, The Night Bus, with a 2-for-1 offer.