Jewish Museum London: ‘Designs on Britain’ exhibition

Jewish Museum London: ‘Designs on Britain’ exhibition

It may not be a well-known fact, but much of the iconic 20th century British design was influenced by the arrival of the creative and forward-thinking Jewish designers from continental Europe. Their knowledge of modernism was a key part of the huge transformation that British design experienced during the mid-to-late 1900s, with iconic posters for the London Underground, War Office and the General Post Office, by notable graphic designers such as Dorrit Dekk, Hans Schleger and FHK Henrion.

Other Jewish émigrés paved the way for twentieth century art in Britain, including Frank Auerbach, who has created some of the most energetic and inventive paintings of modern times, and Leon Kossoff, best known for his impastoed figurative and cityscape paintings.

‘Designs on Britain’ will celebrate creative Jewish influences

To celebrate the powerful and creative influence that Jewish design cast upon the British scene, and indeed, British life, ‘Designs on Britain’ has been formed to showcase the classic designs that have been embraced by so many of us over the years. 

The exhibition, which will take place from 19th October 2017 – 15th April 2018, and will be hosted at the Jewish Museum in London. ‘Designs on Britain’ will take a close look at 20 pioneering individuals who played a big part in importing European styles into Britain, and they should help resurface plenty of nostalgic memories for those of certain generations!

Iconic designs include posters, a bicycle, and a London bus stop sign!

If you catch a bus in London, you’ll find yourself standing underneath Hans Schleger’s instantly recognisable circular bus stop sign. Tom Karen’s Raleigh Chopper bike was a 1970’s favourite across Britain and is another design that is sure to spring to mind, along with his Marble Run toy creation, which is still adored by children to this very day.

Dorrit Dekk, who was born in the Czech Republic and originally set for a career in set design in Austria, escaped to London just before the start of the Second World War. Here, Dorrit Dekk worked for the government’s Central Office of Information, where she produced iconic British posters such as the poster for the ‘Coughs and Sneezes Spread Diseases’ campaign, before setting up her own business as a graphic designer.

FHK Henrion, a German graphic designer who arrived in London, England, in 1936, was another creative émigré who worked for the Ministry of Information and the US Office of War Information, where he designed posters for iconic campaigns, including ‘Dig for Victory’, ‘Aid the Wounded’, and ‘Grow More Food’.

These influential artists, and many more, will feature at the ‘Designs on Britain’ exhibition, as the most iconic British designs of the past 100 years are celebrated and appreciated.

Where to find the ‘Designs on Britain’ exhibition:

Venue:                                 Jewish Museum

Address:                              Raymond Burton House
                                              129-131 Albert St
                                               NW1 7NB

Opening Hours:                Sat-Thurs 10am-5pm; Fri 10am-2pm

Transport:                           Tube: Camden Town

Price:                                    £8.50, concessions £6.50 (or free with a National Art Pass)

Event Website:      

With all this talk of design and continental European influence, this could be a great time to visit one of our Barbed showrooms to discover the stylish variety of designer garden furniture we have available. Our showrooms in Barnes and Chiswick will let you discover plenty of wonderful garden accessories and outdoor lighting options as well, to ensure your garden is stylishly prepared for the winter months that lay ahead!

20th October 2017

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