Not currently on display at the V&A

London Underground poster advertising a make-your-own toy theatre

Poster
1922 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

This was one of many attractive and distinctive posters commissioned for London Transport in the 1920s and 1930s by its publicity officer Frank Pick (1878-1941), who encouraged the use of trains outside peak hours in a bid to increase passenger numbers. He began to commission posters promoting the recreational use of the Underground to reach the countryside around London or attractions within the city such as the theatre.

Although Toy Theatre was at the height of popularity in the 19th century, this poster designed by Albert Rutherston (1881-1953) shows that it was still a favourite pastime in 1922 when this was poster was produced by London Transport. Children needed another copy of the poster to cut out the characters, the proscenium arch, backdrops, wings, borders, and characters to make their own paper theatre and and the text of the 2-scene play to perform it. A note on the poster indicating where the text of the play was available reads: 'To the children. A copy of the above poster, together with a book of the words of the Underground play, and instructions to make your own theatre, can be obtained from the Bookstall or your Bookseller, price 2/- net. It is published by Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., Ltd.'

The play by Harvey Darton, The Good Fairy or, The Adventures of Sir Richard Whittington R. Crusoe, Esq. Master Jack Horner, and others,described how fairy tale characters were able to defeat Demon Delay and reach the theatre in time for the pantomime. It was based on an idea by Claud Lovat Fraser (1890-1921) and featured several favourite fairy story and pantomime characters including Cinderella, Dick Whittington, Mother Hubbard, Jack and Jill and Jack with his beanstalk. A copy of the poster for cutting out and assembling into a theatre was folded inside the front cover of the book.

London Transport produced a similar designed by Rutherston in 1923 entitled For Christmas Plays illustrated with toy theatre characters, a proscenium arch and a backdrop. Both posters were later reprinted by London Transport from copies in their archives.



Object details

Categories
Object type
TitleLondon Underground poster advertising a make-your-own toy theatre (generic title)
Materials and techniques
Printed ink on paper
Brief description
By Underground for Pleasure poster issued by London Transport advertising a make-your-own toy theatre for the play The Good Fairy or, The Adventures of Sir Richard Whittington R. Crusoe, Esq. Master Jack Horner, and others by F. J. Harvey Denton. Designed by Albert Rutherston(1881-1953) and printed by Curwen Press Ltd., 1922

Physical description
Pictorial and typographic. Various cut-out images of pantomime settings and characters from Cinderella, Robinson Crusoe, Jack and the Beanstalk, etc.
Dimensions
  • Poster height: 101cm
  • Poster width: 64cm
Marks and inscriptions
Transliteration
Object history
Associated Production: Underground's make-your-own toy theatre. Company: Underground. 1922. Performance category: toy theatre, pantomime.
Summary
This was one of many attractive and distinctive posters commissioned for London Transport in the 1920s and 1930s by its publicity officer Frank Pick (1878-1941), who encouraged the use of trains outside peak hours in a bid to increase passenger numbers. He began to commission posters promoting the recreational use of the Underground to reach the countryside around London or attractions within the city such as the theatre.

Although Toy Theatre was at the height of popularity in the 19th century, this poster designed by Albert Rutherston (1881-1953) shows that it was still a favourite pastime in 1922 when this was poster was produced by London Transport. Children needed another copy of the poster to cut out the characters, the proscenium arch, backdrops, wings, borders, and characters to make their own paper theatre and and the text of the 2-scene play to perform it. A note on the poster indicating where the text of the play was available reads: 'To the children. A copy of the above poster, together with a book of the words of the Underground play, and instructions to make your own theatre, can be obtained from the Bookstall or your Bookseller, price 2/- net. It is published by Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., Ltd.'

The play by Harvey Darton, The Good Fairy or, The Adventures of Sir Richard Whittington R. Crusoe, Esq. Master Jack Horner, and others,described how fairy tale characters were able to defeat Demon Delay and reach the theatre in time for the pantomime. It was based on an idea by Claud Lovat Fraser (1890-1921) and featured several favourite fairy story and pantomime characters including Cinderella, Dick Whittington, Mother Hubbard, Jack and Jill and Jack with his beanstalk. A copy of the poster for cutting out and assembling into a theatre was folded inside the front cover of the book.

London Transport produced a similar designed by Rutherston in 1923 entitled For Christmas Plays illustrated with toy theatre characters, a proscenium arch and a backdrop. Both posters were later reprinted by London Transport from copies in their archives.



Associated objects
Collection
Accession number
S.5075-1995

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Record createdAugust 3, 2010
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