First major London retrospective of the graphic art of MacDonald Gill


Released on: July 09, 2013, 2:29 pm
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Industry: Travel

Maps, posters, personal papers & artefacts unearthed at Gill’s cottage in Sussex to go on display in Ealing from September.

-- /EPR NETWORK/ -- A major retrospective of the work of influential designer MacDonald ‘Max' Gill will open in London this autumn. The first London exhibition to display the full range of Gill's work, Out of the Shadows: MacDonald Gill will open at PM Gallery & House on 20 September, running until 2 November 2013. PM Gallery is the extension to one of Sir John Soane's great architectural treasures, Pitzhanger Manor, designed by Soane as a place to entertain his friends and display his collection of art and antiquities. It is located within easy reach of central London. Tourists looking for hotels in London should visit LondonTown.com, where there is the latest booking information forhotel rooms priced at ranges to suit all budgets.

Inspired by the Arts & Crafts Movement, illustrator, letterer, architect and mural painter, MacDonald ‘Max' Gill (1884-1947) produced a captivating and innovative range of graphic design in many forms, across four decades. Covering political and social issues and the fields of transport and communication, his work was celebrated in his lifetime but, unlike that of his elder brother, sculptor and typographer Eric Gill, it faded from view after his death.

Perhaps best known for the richly-coloured and highly-detailed, light-hearted pictorial maps he created for the London Underground, Gill's body of work also includes the design of the alphabet for standard military headstones (for the Imperial War Graves Commission); the procession map and title page for the official programme for the Coronation of King George VI; painted wind-dial panel maps commissioned by Edwin Lutyens; a new logo and posters for the General Post Office; and a huge painted map of the North Atlantic for the First Class Dining room on the Cunard liner Queen Mary.

As well as featuring a selection of London Underground maps, the exhibition will include an extensive collection of original Gill artwork, personal papers and other assorted material, which had lain, undisturbed for over 50 years at the remote Sussex cottage where Max lived with his second wife Priscilla, until his death in 1947.

Most of the material to be displayed was discovered by Priscilla's nephew, Andrew Johnston and his wife Angela, when they inherited her cottage in the 1980s. With Gill's great-niece and biographer Caroline Walker carefully documenting each new discovery, a comprehensive collection of his work emerged once more into the light of day. As the poster maps were unrolled, they revealed colours as fresh as the day they were printed. Gradually it became clear that the collection had great significance, not only because it included graphic work of the highest quality, unseen for over half a century, but also because it formed an important record of a vanished age.

Among the key exhibits are Wonderground Map of London Town (1914) - the first of a series of seven humorous and colourful maps for the London Underground, which led to a worldwide resurgence in the art of decorative map-making' Highways of Empire (1927) – a traffic-stopper across the major cities of the Empire, this map launched the Empire Marketing Board's publicity campaign; GPO Mail Steamship Routes (1937) – part of a set of three communications maps, this shows the transatlantic journey of mail from pillar box to quayside; Tea Revives the World (1940) – a global view of the history and beneficial effects of Britain's national drink and Atlantic Charter (1942) – celebrating the Anglo-American treaty which led to the peacetime UN and the cementing of the ‘special relationship', this poster features the signatures of Franklin D Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, pasted in to the original artwork shown. For information on this and other exhibitions taking place at PM House, visit LondonTown.com, London's best website for visitors to the capital.

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