Posters: stories from the V&A collection

Posters litter our everyday lives and collective cultural memories, making them a rich and compelling form of art and design. These posts are about working with the V&A’s extraordinary collection of posters. We’ll be covering exhibition projects and events, new acquisitions and current bits of research. We will also be linking to interesting poster projects elsewhere and asking a range of guest bloggers to contribute. The collection is international in scope and spans themes of commerce, culture and politics. The V&A was the first major museum to collect posters, acquiring its first examples over a century ago. It remains very much a live collection that we continue to add to and update.

Back to the blog front page

This double-sided placard is one of a series of placards made by radical queer marchers at a protest rally on February 4 th, 2012, where the LGBT flag appeared for the first time at a political demonstration.

Placards and Pride in Russia

Today over 20,000 people will participate in Pride, one of London’s largest events celebrating the LGBT community.  This year organizers have chosen the theme Freedom to…. , an idea closely tied to one of the placards in our exhibition ‘Disobedient Objects’. This placard formed part of a spontaneous 2012 exhibition in Moscow, after President Vladimir Putin’s […]

Keep reading

‘Our Power is in the Street’. American Posters of the 1960′s

  At University I was instructed to use the internet with caution- fine to look up a date or person on Wikipedia but never cite it as a source or rely on a Google search to provide all the answers. However whilst researching the backgrounds of the modern protest posters for the display A World […]

Keep reading

Keep Britain Tidy

A new book by Hester Vaizey looks at public interest posters in Britain from the 1940s to the 1970s. It presents a selection of posters from the National Archives giving tips on diet, encouraging people not to smoke and, of course, exhorting them to keep Britain tidy. Governments continue to use posters and billboards to […]

Keep reading

Posters of the Cuban Revolution

This is a guest post by poster collector Michael Tyler whose collection of Cuban revolutionary posters goes on display for the first time next week in an exhibition at Kemistry Gallery in London. Michael explains what sparked his interest and how the collection developed. ­­I confess, when asked to contribute to the V&A blog about […]

Keep reading

Floating Posters

dr.d (doctored or subverted) is an artist best known for altering and augmenting billboards. On one level the motivation is simply to disrupt the outpourings of commercial advertisers and provide people with something more stimulating in the visual environment. For many this is a welcome intervention. An email quoted as a testimonial on dr.d’s website […]

Keep reading

Culture in Defiance: Syria Speaks

An exhibition at Rich Mix this week presents a range of street art from the uprising in Syria. Guest blogger Nawara Mahfoud introduces the role that graffiti plays. The Syrian revolution started with graffiti, a dozen schoolchildren scribbled on the wall of their school, “The people want to overthrow the regime.” Two years on, more […]

Keep reading

#occupygezi: Protests Progress

As the Gezi Protests in Turkey continued with excitement along with tragedy and police violence, a pantheon of heroes was created by the protestors. Since the protests still continue the list of heroes remains unfinished and new characters are included through popular appeal as the events progress. The digital poster above is an early version […]

Keep reading

G8 Posters by Peter Kennard

Peter Kennard, one of Britain’s longest-standing and most influential activist artists, has released a series of posters in response to the G8 Summit hosted this week (17-18 June) in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland.  The posters (which are re-workings of photomontages from his book @Earth) are statements of dissent and distrust towards the activities of the leaders […]

Keep reading

#occupygezi: Gezi Protests in Turkey

Occupy Gezi is a movement that started in Istanbul in order to preserve one of the very few green areas left in central Istanbul which then turned into a group of massive, nation-wide anti-government protests. The protests which began by the occupy movement in Istanbul, spread to other cities such as the capital Ankara, and […]

Keep reading

‘People watched for these quaint and dashing conceits’

During the past year I have been involved in a project to clear copyright permissions for posters in the Schreyer Collection. As well as involving research to identify rights holders; this work has given me the enviable opportunity to open drawers and boxes – allowing me to see many of the designs. Some of my favourite posters are those produced by literary publishing companies during the 19th century.

Keep reading