Paul Thurlby: greetings from London

Earlier this year I was excited to see the illustrations of Paul Thurlby brightening up the restaurant in a branch of John Lewis.

Thurlby ice creams
Paul Thurlby cut-out from the ‘National Treasures’ John Lewis promotion, summer 2017.

This huge cut-out and a series of window illustrations were part of the store’s ‘National Treasures’ promotion, showcasing the British summer in all its glory.

The promotion (and summer) are over, but even on a grey day you can cheer yourself up with mid-century-inspired illustrations of London.

As a fan of illustrator Miroslav Sasek’s This Is… series of city guides, I had often wondered what an updated Sasek book on London would look like. (This is London was published in 1959.) The answer is probably something like the Paul Thurlby book L is for London, which was published in 2015.

Some of Thurlby’s bold, colourful images of London scenes and landmarks – Kew Gardens, the V&A and Abbey Road – can be had for the modest price of a greetings card. The Postmark cards and stationery shop in Turnham Green Terrace, Chiswick is my favourite place to buy them.

This view of the Palm House and Pagoda at Kew, with tulips in the foreground is one of my favourites. On the right is the similarly themed Kew poster by Edward Bawden, produced in 1939 for London Transport.

The John Madejski Garden at the V&A is another of London’s great outdoor spaces, and it is free to visit (unlike Kew Gardens). Thurlby doesn’t have quite the same eye for architectural detail as Sasek or Bawden, but his rendition of the Italianate façade is eye-catching.

thurlby V&A

Thurlby has also revived the retro style of Sasek’s London Transport images with his depictions of bus and tube travel in the 21st century.

thurlby bus

I don’t think that bus driver is a member of the Unite union . . .

thurlby underground

If the Bakerloo Line platform was that empty it would still be 1959 – not 2017.


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