The Poster Prize for Illustration 2019: London Stories

London Transport Museum

Across the ages, London has produced and inspired countless stories. This exhibition is made up of colourful, inspiring and fascinating artworks that celebrates the vibrant, multi-layered city that is London. These illustrations were submitted as part of the Poster Prize for Illustration competition 2019, organised by London Transport Museum in partnership with the Association of Illustrators.

What stories does London have to tell?
Fictitious or real characters and events in London have always held a fascination, from the anecdotal urban myth to grand tales of historic legend – from the everyday to the curious, and from the past to the present. Artists were invited to visually capture a familiar or lesser-known narrative in a single image - current or historical, real or fictional, heard in music, seen in a film, anecdotes or observations which feature London. The top 100 illustrations were chosen by from over 1,500 entries submitted by professionals and students for The Poster Prize for Illustration 2019 – a competition open to illustrators throughout the world.They are on display in the Exterion Media gallery at London Transport Museum until 14 July but you can now also explore them through this special digital exhibition...

The Gold prize-winning poster was designed by Eliza Southwood.

London is the Place for Me

70 years ago the Empire Windrush arrived at Tilbury Docks, with Lord Kitchener on board, singing his song, London is the Place for Me.

The Silver prize-winner, designed by Anna Steinberg.

The Cokeney

Cockney: Originally from Cokeney, a 14th century word for ‘Cock’s Egg’, that is, a small or defective one. A disparaging term for a town dweller regarded as affected or puny by rural Englishmen.

Ingmar Drewing - London Sewer Pigs

The illustration plays on the urban legend of huge pigs living in the sewers of London. The image shows a worker in front of a huge pig with rats witnessing the scene.

Bill Walsh - The Drowned World

In J.G. Ballard’s 1962 novel, ‘The Drowned World’, London is submerged underwater because of global warming. In one sequence, the hero of the story dives down to explore the London Planetarium.

Naomi Tipping - Pigeon Stories. Overheard in London

Every day London stories - genuine earwigged conversations, thanks to @overheardlondon. Told from the mouths of London pigeons!

Alexandra Wong - When the Elgin Marbles were moved into the Tube

During the Second World War, the Elgin Marbles were moved into Aldwych Underground station, previously Strand station, for protection.

Alexandra Dzhiganskaya - Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens

The Illustration is inspired by the story of the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, one of the leading venues for public entertainment in London, from the mid-17th century to the mid-19th century.

Hailun Zhang - Rainbow

The illustration is inspired by the snowy owl in the Harry Potter story. The focal point is the rainbow above Big Ben, showing an energetic story happening in London!

Jie Fu - London Eye lover

This is a scene I saw at the top of the London eye - a couple kissing - which I recorded in this illustration.

House of Deadleg - Phantom Bus No. 7

First seen in the 1930's and last witnessed in the 1990's, the phantom number 7 bus apparently appears at night, driving around the roads at Cambridge Gardens in Ladbroke Grove, West London.

Sarah Perkins - Philip Miller - The Chelsea Physic Garden

A celebration of Philip Miller and his role in the founding of one of my favourite London spaces, The Chelsea Physic Garden.

Sarah Perkins - Winchester Geese

In the shadow of The Shard is Cross Bones Graveyard, an unconsecrated memorial garden to thousands of prostitutes (Winchester Geese) who worked and died in this once lawless part of town.

Dom McKenzie - Queen's Cross St. Pancras

Boudica, Queen of the Iceni nation, fought back against the Roman occupiers of Britain in AD60. Legend has it that she haunts Kings Cross station where she was reportedly buried. ‘Queen’ of Kings Cross and St. Pancras.

Matt Bannister - Paint in the street

An accidental spillage of paint proves to be a messy event for a poor delivery driver. Despite the rainbow-coloured obstacle, the London passers-by fail to change their travel plans and just carry on.

Richard Johnson - The Night Bus

Against the backdrop of the city and through illuminated windows we glimpse fragments of London's stories. The Night Bus is a constant in a chaotic world, connecting people and moments shared, poignant, celebratory, humorous and surreal. I wanted to try and capture a sense of some of these nocturnal interactions.

Laura Greenan - The London matchgirls

Based on the famous London Matchgirls strike of 1888 when women and girls got together at a factory in Bow, East London, and went on strike to protest their terrible working conditions. And they won!

Rebecca Sutherland - The lost zoo of Walworth

The zoo in Walworth had exotic animals and a domed glasshouse. It was the most popular attraction in London and was visited by Queen Victoria. Small children could ride on the giant tortoise.

Caragh Buxton - Totting Bec Lido 4 rings

Tooting Bec Lido is my favourite swimming destination. I have tried to depict the energy and liveliness of the place.

Catherine Paiano - Yesterday's news

Yesterday's News' is the portrayal of what happens to old newspapers and stories once we have finished with them. It emphasises how quickly stories can turn to old news in this fast-paced city.

Carly Allen-Fletcher - Boudica

The Iceni warrior Queen burns London to the ground in her revenge against the Romans. Inspired by ancient British art from the bronze age.

Abi Daker - London Bridge is Falling Down

The drawing shows stories associated with the song 'London Bridge is Falling Down', including King Canute and Olaf II, the Great Fire and possibly 'Fair Lady' Eleanor of Provence.

Alexandra Dzhiganskaya - The secret life of London's foxes

Richard Lowdell - Hyde takes flight

Melodramatic scene in which Mr Hyde has evaded capture by climbing on to the coal wagon of a steam train on a viaduct.

Chris Harrendence - Journey through the wharf

This piece explores the journeys taken through Canary Wharf, and surrounding areas, past and present. I wanted to emphasise the scale of today's architecture by having it looming over the docks.

Ilu Ros - Teleportation

London for me means a heap of stories to discover. London is the city that never ends and never sleeps. The city where everything is possible. London is an endless story.

Elisabeth Bilz - 1st umbrella in London

Mid-18th century: Jonas Hanway walks through rainy London with his new umbrella, which he bought during his trip to France. His fellow citizens are utterly appalled by this conduct.

Andreea Dobrin Dinu - No trousers Tube ride all summer

Inspired by the yearly 'No Trousers Tube Ride Day' prank that takes place in January, and given the high temperatures in London this summer, I thought it wouldn't be so crazy to make it an all summer routine.

Chloe Isteed - Mind the gap No.78

Inspired by Albert Gunter, a London bus driver. In 1952, realising Tower Bridge was suddenly being raised, he bravely hit the accelerator and jumped the gap, landing safely on the other side.

Joshua Rice - Lost property

'Lost Property' is dedicated to the stories behind the usual and unusual items left on London's buses and trains, such as a suitcase with lots of money or an urn filled with someone's ashes.

Viola Wang (aka Gengyu Wang) - The blue whale

A year in the making, the iconic 28.3m long model of a blue whale at the Natural History Museum is the largest resident of London and has been inspiring visitors from around the world since 1938.

Francesca Shaw - A few of my favourite things

Literature, travel and art can transport you to new spaces while inviting adventure and excitement into your life. This piece pays a tribute to the places I’ve been and want to go to!

Zara Picken - Freedom

There's a large population of ring-necked parakeets living in London. A popular story is that they originate from a pair released in Carnaby Street in the 1960s by rock star Jimi Hendrix.

Mariana Alcántara Pedraza - The enormous crocodile

Interpretation of 'The Enormous Crocodile', a story written by Roald Dahl, about a character who plans sophisticated strategies to hide and eat children, now visiting Borough Market.

Marta Sevilla - London punk

This poster is about punk in London, how it starts in the city and the pubs in the 70's.

Natalie Singh - Waterloo sunset

Inspired by the song 'Waterloo Sunset' - nowadays a very different area to when the song was written. Looking Eastwards down the Thames at sunset, depicting the view from Waterloo Bridge.

Alicia Jennings - The Cabmen's cafe

The Cabmen's Shelters are bright green cafes used only by Cabbies themselves. There are only 13 left. Even though they have been around since 1875, they are overlooked by the public.

Diana Mayo - The Pearlies

Pearly Kings and Queens evolved from Costermongers, street sellers of fruit and vegetables in Victorian London. Henry Croft started the Pearly tradition, a charitable organisation of the working class.

John Armstrong - Love ya to Blitz

The moment when a burning Dornier 17 fell into Fenchurch St. on September 15, 1940, destroying the pub where my Mum worked. Luckily for me she was giving birth in St Thomas' hospital over the river.

Joseph Coupland Hartley - London bridges

A portrait of London, a city I lived in for over 10 years. Documenting the River Thames and its many bridges as a metaphor for how we are all connected and how easy it is to travel around the city.

Tracey Long - Tiger escape in Tobacco Dock

In 1857, a tiger escaped from the van of animal trader C. Jamrach. Schoolboy John Wade tried to pet the tiger. The tiger grabbed John. Jamrach rescued the boy only to later be sued for his trouble.

Noriaki Ishiyama - The London girl with freckles

London is a modern, multicultural city. A place to explore new possibilities.

Chia Ku - Tea party in Londonland

The image combines with the 'Alice in Wonderland' story. It shows the scenery, entertainment and lifestyle in London. In the image, people are 'Alice' and they are creating their own story in Londonland.

Erica Sturla - Naked bike ride

The story of the Naked Bike Ride, where people swap business suits for birthday suits and take to the streets of London on two wheels instead of four.

Luisa F. Arellano - The thieves of time

Dickens said that Big Ben is who dictates the city’s rhythm. Once a flock of birds perched on the minute hand of the clock and slowed it down, thus they stole the most important thing in London: time.

Katerina Bazantova - London stories

This illustration is a part of a series of illustrations of world cities and their hidden stories, which are being discovered by a detective.

Alex Hovey - Old Father Thames

Old Father Thames is the godlike personification of the river Thames. He is surrounded by his daughters Effra, Wandle and Tyburn. The image is inspired by the poem 'The River’s Tale' and the song 'Old Father Thames'.

Linda Aitch - Bunny about town

This image was inspired by photos in the media of a real little rabbit travelling around on London transport unaccompanied during the summer of 2018. I thought the obvious place the bunny would have set off on his journey from would be Warren Street.

Kate Greenslade - Untitled Victorian

I have created a Victorian street scene, a chaotic story of Londoners, labour, leisure and architecture.

Jack Oliver Coles - London Trans and Gender non-confirming Swimming Group

This piece was inspired by the story of TAGS, a group set up to encourage trans* and gender non-conforming people, to socialise and keep fit in a body positive space.

Andy Potts - 11/10/2008

This is my personal London story. The day my wife and I chose to celebrate our love for each other and the city by marrying on the London Eye and travelling by Routemaster bus.

R Fresson - Plane trees of London

The humble plane tree - its diverse hybrid origins; its pollution soaking ability; and how it lends a ruggedly beautiful and bauble-bedecked framing to the streets and embankments of the capital.

Mathanki Kodavasal - Catford - a prefab maze

For years, residents of the Excalibur Estate, have been fighting to save their prefab bungalows. I thought of juxtaposing a hungry pacman, like a creature gobbling away bit by bit, of what's left of it.

Mathanki Kodavasal - Migrants of London

No boundaries or visas here. Regent's Park offers a sanctuary to many passage migrants and winter visitors. This illustration celebrates the joie de vivre in the waters, at the heart of London.

Nikki Pontin - Where are they now?

A response to the depleting eel population, illustrating a time when the Thames was once full of young eels who travelled from the Sargasso Sea to live, before their return journey back, to spawn and die.

Valentina Catto - Turn the page!

My idea was to show in a surreal and literal way, that the buildings in London are stories themselves.

Lydia Hughes - Southbank Book Market

Under the arches of Waterloo Bridge, visitors rummage through the South Bank Book Market in search of hidden treasure. What would a trip to London be without a new (old) book to read on the way home?

Haijing Chen - Napkin drawings

This is the collection of napkins which contains my drawings. The napkins are all drawn when I was traveling in London. There's drawings of people, landscapes, buildings and animals, each telling its unique story.

Wes Karchut - Marine Timekeeper H2

The John Harrison Clock H1, a first-effort design to solve the longitude problem for sailing ships in the 1700's. Now housed at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich.

Maria Ines Gul - Mary Poppins on Victoria line

When I first moved to London, I kept imagining my favourite literary characters wandering through the streets of the city. The illustration shows a person reading 'Mary Poppins' on the Victoria line.

Masha Ash - W/E

The Greenwich Meridian is not just a border between two different hemispheres - it’s the World’s meeting point. Where the West connects and unites with the East. Celebrating London - the most multicultural city in the world!

Dawid Celek - The Blitz and ravens of the Tower of London

There is a legend that Britain will fall, if the six ravens leave the Tower of London. During the Blitz they were used as unofficial spotters for enemy bombs and planes.

Ruth Sampson - Spaniards Inn

I have illustrated the Spaniards Inn and its colourful legendary past. The winning of a girl, a tollgate for travellers, Keats writing in the garden and Dick Turpin the highwayman haunting its walls!

Richelle Dobson - Decimus dreams of his masterpiece

Decimus Burton dreams of his masterpiece in Kew Gardens.

Malek - Highgate Cemetery vampire

My illustration depicts Highgate Cemetery, which was rumoured to house a vampire. In reality, it was only a plunderer, thus my illustration shows the cemetery features merged with a vampire-like portrait.

Elly Jahnz - The 35 to Albany Road

An everyday bus journey. Everyday people. Everyday stories. Gossip, heartache, daydreams, contentment, boredom and banter all sit side by side on every London bus.

Candy Amsden - Sleeping rough in Tottenham Marshes

This drawing came from a newspaper article about a community of homeless people living on Tottenham Marshes. When I visited, there were just remains of old shoes and clothes.

Ana Jaks - Notting Hill Carnival

Notting Hill Carnival is celebrated annually by all races but what is not too commonly spoken about are the two women who fought to bring London back together as a diverse community. The carnival of the 20th century evolved from the efforts of two remarkable women, Claudia Jones and Rhaune Laslett, both of whom were inspired by the terrible racial tension of the 1950s.

Faceman - My first chapter - birthplace stations of 6 famous storytellers

The directors, newsreaders, actors, musicians and comedians. Celebrating a selection of unconventional London-born storytellers through time, alongside the closest Tube station to their street of birth.

Esther Cox - Rave on the Underground

In 2017, an impromptu rave was held in a carriage on the Bakerloo line, with DJs, sound system and lights. From Embankment to Paddington passengers enjoyed a dance. A true story of the energy of London.

Katie Rewse - The royal menagerie

I was completely fascinated to discover that the Tower of London had once been a zoo. I wanted to depict multiple stories of the animals and their escapades within my submission, such as the elephant being given only wine in the winter months to keep out the cold.

Errol Drysdale - The bus is coming

The illustration is inspired by the snowy owl in the Harry Potter story. The focal point is the rainbow above Big Ben, showing an energetic story happening in London!

Viktoria Fomina - Alice in London

"What road do I take?"
The cat asked "where do you want to go?"
"I don't know.'' answered Alice.
"Then," said the cat, "it really doesn't matter."

Vicente Reinamontes - Where are all these flowers coming from?

Every Sunday afternoon, after the Columbia Road Flower Market, the Overground train that stops at Hoxton Station has quite a colourful journey.

Cristian Turdera - London ride

I love London. As an author, I try to create concepts from my own emotional experience. Everyone should take a ride through this city, even Big Ben . London is the place where the amusement comes to you.

Kathryn Rosa Miller - Suffragette city

The Women’s Coronation Procession, 1911, led by Marjorie Annan Bryce, dressed as Joan of Arc and overlooked by Boudicca. Women who ended up ready to burn down London for a righteous cause.

Amanda White - Autumn days Wentworth Place

This is a London love story, depicting the house in Hampstead in which poet John Keats and his neighbour and muse, Fanny Brawne, lived and fell in love.

Chi-chun Chang - Fun is for everyone

In late the 1980s, Princess Diana, disguised as a man by her friend Freddie Mercury, had a great night out at the famous gay establishment Royal Vauxhall Tavern.

Jove - Kew Gardens

Inspired by Virginia Woolf's 1919 short story, 'Kew Gardens', where the natural world leads a dreamscape of colour and sound, to mirror those of the gardens' myriad visitors.

Karin Ljungberg - The 6th raven

Six ravens are living at the Tower of London, protecting the city. A city were ravens are part of Londoners' life, and rather than bad omens, they bring both history and legend to life.

Alli Gray - The story of Gareth Southgate station

Regardless of profession, good leaders are invaluable and the positivity they create has long-lasting effects on those lucky enough to share a personal journey with them. For one day in summer 2018, Southgate Tube station was renamed in honour of the England football coach, Gareth Southgate.

Credits: Story

The Poster Prize for Illustration 2019: London Stories is organised by London Transport Museum in partnership with the Association of Illustrators.


Visit the exhibition page on London Transport Museum's website


The Prize for Illustration 2019 judging panel

Derek Brazell - Projects Manager, Association of Illustrators
Roger Browning - Art Editor (Lifestyle), Hearst Magazines
Jason Cotterrell - Group Chief Strategy Officer and UK Managing Director, Exterion Media
Brian Grimwood - Managing Director, Central Illustration Agency
Miranda Leedham - Head of Customer Marketing and Behaviour Change, Transport for London
Steve Pill - Editor, Artists & Illustrators and Discover Britain magazines
Sarah Thomson - Head of Art Production, Ogilvy & Mather (1 Unilever)
Rachael Stevens - Associate Editor, Creative Review
Michael Walton - Poster Art Commissioner, London Transport Museum
Brian Webb - Director, Webb and Webb Design

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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