Barnett Freedman, UK (1952)
Circus. Two-sheet poster, published by London Transport Executive, 1937. This poster is a technically complex demonstration of lithography which made use of the most up-to-date inks and effects available.
While spending four years in hospital as a kid, Barnett Freedman began to focus on drawing. In 1916–22 he took evening classes at St Martin’s School of Art and was helped to a full-time scholarship at the Royal College of Art. He took a teaching position at the Working Men’s College in London, but fell ill again and had to give it up. He then began to illustrate and became a part-time instructor at the RCA and the Ruskin School of Drawing in Oxford. Now trained as a lithographer, he made a series of very individual, colourful and decorative posters, especially for the Post Office, and book jackets. He worked for Frank Pick at London Transport Board and for Shell-Mex in the 30s, and illustrated for several publishers. In 1936 he designed the stamp for King George V’s Silver Jubilee. During WW2 he became an official war artist, creating drawings, watercolours and oil paintings. He illustrated Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Walter de la Mare’s Love, War and Peace and Anna Karenina.