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Friends: Tom Eckersley, FHK Henrion

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    England (designed and printed)

  • Date:

    1993 (designed and printed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Eckersley, Tom OBE, born 1914 - died 1996 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Colour offset lithograph.

  • Credit Line:

    Accepted by H M Government in lieu of Inheritance Tax and allocated to the Victoria and Albert Museum, 2007

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C, case Y74, shelf D

This is the work of celebrated English poster artist Tom Eckersley (1914 - 1997). It was designed and printed in 1993 to advertise an event taking place in Essen (Germany) hosted by Eckersley and FHK Henrion, a contemporary poster designer. Eckersley depicts two pencils lead-to-lead, as if to represent the two artists and the creative nature of their professions.

All of Eckersley's posters demonstrate his ability to convey a simple, direct message through economical and effective design. His style is instantly recognisable - unlike other contemporary poster designers who introduced photography, airbrush, perspective and depth to their works, Eckersley favoured bold, flat areas of colour, reducing figures and objects to flat geometrical shapes. As he explains in his book 'Poster Design' (1954):

"The good designer can achieve far more with two colours than the poor one with twelve, since it is not the number of colours you use but the way in which you employ them which governs the result."

He was inspired by the striking, often abstract images by poster designers A.M. Cassandre and Edward Mcknight Kauffer.

After graduating from Salford Art School, Eckersley moved to London in 1934 to become a freelance poster designer. He collaborated with Eric Lombers on a number of commissions for London Transport, Shell and the BBC. During the Second World War, Eckersley worked independently for public service agencies including the Ministry of Information and the General Post Office.

In 1957 he became Head of the Design Department at the London College of Printing for twenty years. He then took early retirement in order to pursue his own work full-time. As well as producing posters advertising his own exhibitions, Eckersley also designed works for the the National Business Calendar, the World Wildlife Fund, the Imperial War Museum, a set of film star posters and posters advertising his own exhibitions. One of his most popular designs, a Concorde platform panel at Heathrow underground station, is also in the V&A collection.

Throughout his career, Eckersley focused his attention on posters and is considered the last full-time English poster designer. This poster was bequeathed by Phillip Granville.

Physical description

Two pencils, one blue and one pink.

Place of Origin

England (designed and printed)


1993 (designed and printed)


Eckersley, Tom OBE, born 1914 - died 1996 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Colour offset lithograph.

Marks and inscriptions

Main text in black, lettered around image. Centre.

50 Jahre Graphik / aus London von / TOM ECKERSLEY & FHK HENRION / 5.3.bis 11.4.1993 / Deutsches Plakat Museum, Essen / Rathenaustrasse 2, Theaterpassage
Text in black, centre right.

Artist's signature, bottom left.

Tom Eckersley.
Artist's signature, bottom right.


Height: 62.5 cm, Width: 42.5 cm

Descriptive line

Eckersley, Tom; Friends Tom Eckersley and FHK Henrion, advertising an exhibition by these two designers in Essen Germany, 1993, British

Subjects depicted



Prints; Advertising; Posters


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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