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London Underground Maps Hardcover – 28 May 2012
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'...a very informative and splendidly illustrated book.' --- --artnewsletter.com
'Those interested in art, British history, business history, cartography, design, geography, and modernist studies will find this book accessible and rewarding ... highly recommended'. ----- Choice
About the Author
Claire Dobbin is Senior Curator at the London Transport Museum, where she specialises in the Underground's design heritage and art patronage. She helped develop the Museum's online poster collection, co-curated the 2008 centenary exhibition The Art of the Poster, contributed to the book London Transport Posters, also published by Lund Humphries, and curated the Museum's exhibition Mind the Map, an accompaniment to this publication.
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Chapter 1 covers the early history and mapping of the London Underground. The first line was opened in 1863 - it was actually steam trains that ran along these early tracks which came as a surprise to us - electric trains being introduced much later, in 1890. Another quick snippet of trivia is that the now ubiquitous term `tube' for the whole of the underground system comes from an early nickname for the Central London Railway which was known as the Two Penny Tube.
There's some stunning work by artists such as MacDonald `Max' Gill and it also has to be remembered that Harry Beck didn't start with a blank canvas before producing his famous 1930s design. He took ideas & influences from this earlier mapping such as line diagrams and distinct colours for individual lines.
Chapter 2 charts the map's development - its geometric design and the abandonment of geographical accuracy. In addition to reproducing the maps, the book also has some great examples of promotional posters and historical photos showing stations, travellers and artwork in situ.
Chapter 3 explores the continuing legacy of Beck's design and its influence over other transport maps. Also its branding, souvenir value and wider influence over the art world in general.
We've thoroughly enjoyed this book and can highly recommend it. It adds so much background to the subject without ever being dry or unapproachable. And if you're one of those people who has to hop on & off the tube regularly, this book will really help you see the places with fresh eyes!
The book's launch ties in with the Mind the Map exhibition that opened last week at the London Transport Museum- the author, Louise Dobbin is Senior Curator there. The exhibition, with accompanying events programme, runs until 28 October 2012.
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