Fine Art Collector | Spring 2018

As the war for emancipation raged on, women were also forging a name for themselves in the world of professional poster art, particularly for the London Underground. The first known poster by a woman to appear on the transport network was ‘Kew Gardens by Tram’ by Ella Coates in 1910. Over the next eight years – whilst women were still unable to vote or stand for Parliament – female artists sketched a creative world outside of the limited

opportunities of book and magazine illustration.

and illustrations, women’s art was showcased rather than hidden, albeit under the pseudonym of initials or an advertising agency (Ella herself simply signed her work with ‘Coates’). The importance of celebrating female art and the artists has been highlighted in

Adorning the platforms of the London Underground, the posters were viewed by the men in suits who commuted to work each day. Unlike suffragette posters – which could be defaced or torn down by opponents – they remained just as much a part of the tapestry of economic activity as the nondescript briefcases and trains that passed by.

From cartoons to paintings recent months. Along with exhibitions at Cambridge University Library and the London Transport Museum, the Women’s Library at the London School of Economics “I love to be creative as it sets my mind, heart and soul free even though my physical body is imprisoned.” ARTIST, HM PRISON LOW NEWTON

National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies, [date unknown], Cambridge University Library. Produced by the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies, this poster uses colour to reinforce the aims of the movement.

Kew Gardens by Tram, Ella Coates [1910] © TfL from the London Transport Museum collection.


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