Olga Lehmann

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Olga Lehmann
Louise Olga Mary Lehmann

10 February 1912
Died26 October 2001(2001-10-26) (aged 89)
Alma materSlade School of Fine Art

Olga Lehmann (10 February 1912 – 26 October 2001) was a British visual artist.

Early life[edit]

The Dark Avenger costume design by Olga Lehmann, 1954.

Born in Catemu, Chile, to Mary Grisel Lehmann (née Bissett) and mining engineer Andrew William Lehmann, Olga Lehmann had one sister, Monica (Monica Pidgeon), and one brother, George (Andrew George Lehmann). Her father was of German and French descent (born in Paris) and her mother was Scottish.[1] She was educated at Santiago College, and in 1929 moved to England, where she was awarded a scholarship to the Slade School of Fine Art, London University.

At the Slade she studied fine art under the tutelage of Henry Tonks and Randolph Schwabe, specializing in theatrical design under Vladimir Polunin and in portraiture under Allan Gwynne-Jones.[2][3] Awarded prizes in life painting, composition, and theatrical design, she visited Spain in the early thirties; Spanish and Moorish themes were subsequently reflected in her art.


Murals in Bristol Aircraft Company's underground wartime factory canteen, 1943

Her productive working life as an artist spanned almost six decades, from the 1930s to the 1980s. Throughout the 1930s she acquired a reputation in the fields of mural painting[4] and portraiture.[5] She exhibited her work at the Royal Society of Portrait Painters in 1933, and with the London Group in 1935.[6] Later sitters of note consisted of people associated with the film or record industries such as singers Edric Connor, Carmen Prietto, conductor Richard Austin, and actors Dirk Bogarde and Patrice Wymore.[3] During the Blitz in 1940, her studio-flat in Hampstead was destroyed by a bomb, and much of her early work was lost.

After World War II, her name chiefly became associated with graphic design for the Radio Times, and designing for the film and television industries.[3] In 1939 she married author and editor Edward Richard Carl Huson, by whom she had one son, author and television writer and producer Paul Huson. She was predeceased by her husband in 1984, and she herself died in Saffron Walden, Essex, in 2001.


Illustration, design, and graphic work[edit]

Radio Times illustrations
issue title
29 June 1941 The Suicide Club meets...
11 July 1941 Kitchen Front
30 July 1941 Don't pass it on, but...
8 August 1941 The Raggle-Taggle Gypsies, O!
12 October 1941 But lovelier than the cornfield...
20 November 1941 The Canterville Ghost
23 November 1941 Three Sisters
15 December 1941 The Star in the East
28 December 1941
–3 January 1942
What the other Listener thinks
10 January 1942 The Dancers
17 January 1942 The Dark Charmer
1 February 1942 And the more I bring off...
6 March 1942 Easy Murder
13 March 1942 Gestapo over Europe
26 March 1942 Pagliacci
2 April 1942 Grim Fairy Tale
8 April 1942 Faust
26 April 1942 Alexander Nevsky
3 May 1942
–9 May 1942
Japan wants the Earth (cover)
14 June 1942
–20 June 1942
Carmen (cover)
6 July 1942 Next of Kin
15 July 1942 The Words upon the Window Pane
21 July 1942 Ladies in Retirement
4 September 1942 Death in the hand
9 September 1942 Tales of Hoffmann
30 September 1942 The Magic Flute
16 October 1942 Maude
6 November 1942 The Beggar Student
4 December 1942 Ruslan and Ludmilla
19 December 1942 La traviata
18 December 1942 Programs up to Boxing Day and Turandot
4 January 1943 Cinderella
20 January 1943 The Force of Destiny
24 January 1943
–30 January 1943
6 February 1943 Madame Butterfly
17 February 1943 La bohème
26 February 1943 Robinson Crusoe
7 March 1943 Liebestraum
17 March 1943 Fidelio
11 April 1943
–17 April 2007
Les Cloches
29 April 1943 Royal Gesture
2 May 1943 Dona Claries
17 May 1943 The Wild Duck
6 June 1943 A Princess of Tartary
25 June 1943 Master Peter's Puppet Show
2 August 1943 How to arrange a Concert
26 September 1943
–2 October 1943
Samson and Delilah
17 October 1943 Ring up the Curtain
27 October 1943 Romeo and Juliet
22 December 1943 The Flying Dutchman
26 December 1943
–1 January 1944
16 January 1944 Distant Point
19 January 1944 Carmen
14 February 1944 The Hostage
23 April 1944
–29 April 1944
A Play Toward and Aïda
6 May 1944 The Man Stayed Alone
23 June 1944 Alexander Nevsky
25 June 1944 The Story of the Ballet
30 June 1944 Romeo and Juliet
24 September 1944 Emilia
7 October 1944 The Second Mrs Tanqueray
8 November 1944 Turandot
9 November 1944 The Story of the Ballet #2
10 November 1944 L’Arlesienne
4 December 1944 Treasure Island
26 December 1944 Boxing Day (4 corner vignettes)[7]
9 January 1945 A Voyage to Lilliput
11 February 1945 The Story of the Ballet #3,
illustration of Sunday Rhapsody
28 March 1945 Scheherazade
25 April 1945 The Tale of Tsar Saltan
1 May 1945 Tuesday Serenade
18 July 1945 A Princess of Tartary
23 August 1945 Corner in Crime
29 August 1945 The Wizard of the Mountain
3 September 1945 The Wild Duck
9 September 1945
–15 September 1945
Paul Temple Returns
1 November 1945 Golden Dragon City
21 November 1945 Schwanda the Bagpiper
19 December 1945 Prince Igor
30 January 1946 Tosca
21 February 1946 Treasure Island
6 April 1946 Music for Saturday Night
2 May 1946 Bounden Duty
10 August 1946 A Hundred Years Old
11 September 1946 Lord Mondrago
19 September 1946 It Might Have Been the Moon
22 September 1946
–28 September 1946
La bohème
6 November 1946 Pagliacci
5 December 1946 The Turn of the Screw
21 December 1946 Children in Uniform
28 December 1946 Androcles and the Lion.
10 February 1947 Biography
15 March 1947 Save him, Doctor...
22 March 1947 Mary Rose
5 April 1947 The Silver Cord
21 April 1947 The Laughing Woman
11 June 1947 The Man who was Thursday
21 June 1947 To What Red Hell
7 September 1947 The Poet and the Child
13 September 1947 If
8 October 1947 The Flying Dutchman
16 October 1947 Beyond the Night
24 November 1947 The Narrow Corner
18 January 1948
–24 January 1948
12 February 1948 The Black Cap has to wait
5 May 1948 Eugene Onegin
8 June 1948 The Family from One-End Street
2 August 1948 The Lost Horizon
30 August 1948 The Healing Stream
28 September 1948 The first post will be opened tonight
9 November 1948 Focus on Old Age
2 January 1949 Scamps in Paradise
18 January 1949 Focus on Child Adoption
25 March 1949 The Great Ruby Ming
22 July 1949 Bizet's Carmen
28 July 1949 The Rise and Decline of Johnny Godwin
14 August 1949
–20 August 1949
The Story of ‘Lulu.’
26 August 1950 Point of Honour
1 September 1950 Summer Showtime
15 September 1950 Promenade Concert
26 December 1950 Boxing Day, two double-spreads
20 April 1951 Stars from the Shows
18 July 1951 Shanties and Forebitters
5 August 1951 Summer Showtime
17 August 1951 Songs from the Shows
1 October 1951 The Bottom of the Well.
2 March 1952 Dona Clarines
14 June 1952 Cried the Sparrow
4 July 1952 Songs from the Shows
31 July 1952 Summer Rain
13 October 1952 Pagliacci.
15 February 1953 La traviata
1 July 1953 The Flower in the Rock
26 July 1953 The Lady from Albuquerque
10 October 1953 The Laughing Woman.
25 July 1954
–31 July 1954
The Flying Dutchman
14 September 1954 The Turn of the Screw
11 October 1954 The Turn of the Screw
17 October 1954 The Dark Eyed Sailor.
26 February 1955 The Cat and the Canary
12 April 1955 A Vegetarian Dish for April
30 September 1955 The Turn of the Screw
3 October 1955 From Morn to Midnight
30 December 1955 Music at Ten
31 December 1955 New Year's Eve, triple spread.
11 June 1956 Journey to Venezuela
30 November 1956 Memories of a Street of Artists
16 December 1956 The Lost Horizon.
13 January 1957 A Hundred Years Old
17 July 1957 Murder at Elstree
19 July 1957 Australian Saga
21 September 1957 Ruslan and Ludmilla
26 September 1957 Stories and Music from the Ballet.
25 January 1958 A Time of the Serpent
21 March 1958 Samson and Delilah
21 December 1958
–27 December 1958
21 December 1958 The Wraiths.
25 April 1959 Lost Love
29 June 1959 Shadow of a Pale Horse
2 August 1959 Enter Three Witches
29 November 1959
–5 December 1959
Where William Weare was Murdered.
23 July 1960 A Play for the Guide Festival
23 December 1960 Scamps in Paradise
31 December 1960 New Year's Eve, triple page spread.
  • In 1936 Lehmann executed black and white designs for Pilkington Glass Ltd., and designed wallpapers for John Line, Ltd.[8]
  • In 1937 she illustrated the book Weekend Caravan, edited by S. Hillelson.[7]
  • In 1938 she illustrated the book Happy Heart, Some frontier folk I have met, fish, flesh and fowl, by Cora L. Shearburn.
  • In 1940 Lehmann was permitted by the War Office to make sketches and drawings of London bomb damage, air raid shelters, and Air Raid Precautions personnel.
  • In 1941, Lehmann began drawing monthly illustrations for the British Broadcasting Corporation's publication the Radio Times, commissions that would last over a period of almost two decades.
  • Lehmann also started drawing illustrations for another BBC publication, The Listener, beginning with Louis Macneice's Cook's Tour of the London Subways. In 1941, Lehmann also illustrated the novel Look! The Wild Swans, by Juliette de Baïracli Levy (pictorial title page, frontis, six full-page and one half-page illustrations in black and white, pictorial card cover). She later illustrated a book of poetry by Levy, The Yew Wreath, (eight full-page black and white illustrations, pictorial card cover), and a second novel of Levy's, The Bride of Llew, (black and white illustrations, pictorial card cover).[7]
  • In 1942 Lehmann joined the London artists' agency R. P. Gossop, for illustration commissions.
  • In 1946 Lehmann illustrated Fairy Tales from Turkey, collected by Naki Tezel, trans. Margery Kent, ed. Herbert Read (color frontis., seven full-page black and white illustrations).[7]
  • In 1947 Lehmann illustrated A Youthful Poet's Dream (black and white vertical half-page in The Children's Own Treasure Book, Odhams Press).
  • In between 1948-1950 Lehmann also began drawing periodic illustrations for BBC Publications, the Arabic Listener.[7]
  • In 1948 she illustrated An Indian Boyhood by Noel Sircar, London: Hollis & Carter (21 chapter-head illustrations in black and white scraperboard, pictorial dust jacket); The Peddler (black and white pictorial border) in The Modern Gift Book for Children, Odhams Press; "How Dan met the Fairies of Elbolton" (full-page color, pictorial border to title and two text illustrations) in "The Children's Hour Annual", Odhams Press.[7]
  • In 1949 Lehmann illustrated the book jacket for Dead Lion by John and Emery Bonnett (Michael Joseph, London).
  • In 1950 Lehmann executed illustrations for a year's advertising campaign for Murphy Radio Ltd. She also drew illustrations for The London Mystery Magazine, vol 1, number 2, The Trod, by Algernon Blackwood; and numbers 3, 4, 5, 6, The Slave Detective by Wallace Nichols.[7]
  • In 1952, she illustrated Singing Together – Rhythm and Melody, for BBC Publications.
  • Lehmann also illustrated the cover for the Christmas issue of London Calling, the overseas journal of the BBC.[7]
  • She also drew the illustrations and designed the dust jacket for Evening Star, by M.E. Patchett, Lutterworth Press.
  • Lehmann illustrated the 1953 London Calling, Christmas Issue cover.[7]
  • 1954–1957: Lehmann designed record sleeves for Argo Records (UK).[7]
  • 1954, Lehmann again illustrated the London Calling Christmas Issue cover.[7]
  • 1985: Lehmann illustrated and published The Wishing Chair and Other Verse, by her late husband, Carl Huson.
  • 1986: Lehmann illustrated and published Spoken Words: World War II Poems, Tales & Memories, by Carl Huson.
  • 1987: Lehmann illustrated and published Fine Feathers, a book of poems for children, by Carl Huson.[7]



  • In 1934 Olga Lehmann was commissioned by a French company, Stic-B Paints, Ltd, to paint murals in the Palace Hotel, Buxton.
  • In 1935 Lehmann painted murals in the St. Helier House Hotel, Jersey. She was chosen to design a canvas mural for the Queen Victoria Street Railway Bridge, London, to celebrate the Royal Silver Jubilee of King George V and Queen Mary.
  • Between 1936 and 1938 Lehmann painted murals for architect Clive Entwistle, and received multiple commissions from .Stic-B Paints for murals in hotels, private buildings, shops and nurseries. In 1938 she exhibited mural designs at the Building Centre, Bond Street. London, with Mary Adshead, Aelred Bartlett, John Hutton, Roland Pym and Laurence Scarfe, and painted murals in Fuller's Restaurant, Sloane Street in 1939, just before the outbreak of World War II.
  • In 1940 Lehmann painted murals for London Air Raid Precautions Headquarters, and received a permit from the War Office to execute sketches and drawings of London bomb damage, air raid shelters, and ARP personnel. In 1942 she painted murals at the Censorship Department, Holborn.
  • 1943: Lehmann designed and painted murals for the workers' canteen in Bristol Aircraft Company's underground, wartime factory in Spring Quarry, Corsham. These are now part of MoD Corsham, and are grade II* listed.[9][10] She also designed and painted murals in the Pavilion Hotel, Scarborough, and the Grand Hotel, Brighton, by which time she had entered the British film industry.
  • In 1953 Lehmann painted a mural on canvas featuring Captain Bligh for Errol Flynn's Tichfield Hotel in Port Antonio, Jamaica.

Film, television, and theatrical design[edit]





  • The AIA Gallery, London.
  • The Augustine Gallery, Holt.
  • The Barnsdale Gallery, Yoxford, Suffolk.
  • Canning House, London.
  • Galeria Maldon.
  • Gainsborough's House, Suffolk.
  • The Guildhall, Thaxted.
  • Heffer's Gallery, Cambridge.
  • The Little Gallery, New Burlington Street, London.
  • The Rushmore Rooms, St Catharine's College, Cambridge.
  • The John Whibley Gallery, London.



  • The London Group.
  • The Royal Portrait Society.
  • The Building Centre, Bond Street, London: Exhibition of Murals, 1938.
  • The Suffolk Art Society.
  • The Dunmow Art Group.
  • The New English Art Club.
  • The Contemporary Portrait Society.
  • The Phoenix Gallery, Lavenham.
  • The Wright Hepburn Webster Gallery, New York.
  • The National Society, London.
  • The Society of Graphic Fine Art, London.
  • The British Academy of Film and Television Arts, London.
  • The Lyttelton Theatre, London.
  • The Fry Art Gallery, Saffron Walden.
  • Royal Academy of Arts, Diploma Galleries, London: The Slade 1871-1971.
  • The Whitechapel Art Gallery: Mural and Decorative Painting, 1935.
  • The Tate Gallery: Mural Painting in Great Britain, 1939.



  • The Fry Art Gallery, Saffron Walden.
  • The Boundary Gallery, London.
  • The Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Austin, Texas.
  • The British Film Institute, London.
  • Bruce Denman Collection.
  • David Cohen Collection.
  • Robert Worley Collection.
  • Nicholas de Piro Collection.
  • Bill Connelly Collection.
  • The Victoria and Albert Museum Archive of Art and Design, London.
  • The Royal Air Force Museum Art Collection, London.
  • The Imperial War Museum, London.
  • The Slade School of Fine Art, London.
  • University College London Art Museum.

Record sleeves[edit]

Created for Argo Records (UK), 1954 - 1957[15]


  1. ^ "Olga Lehmann's Burlington murals".
  2. ^ The Slade 1871-1971, The Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1971.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Who's Who in Art, "Olga Lehmann", pp. 347-348, Michigan: The Gale Group, 2002.
  4. ^ Contemporary Mural Painters: Miss Olga Lehmann. The Decorator, London, July, 1941.
  5. ^ a b Spalding, Frances, Dictionary of British Art, Volume VI: 20th Century Painter and Sculptors, "Olga Lehmann", p. 295, Suffolk: The Antique Collector's Club Ltd., 1990, ISBN 978-1-85149-106-3.
  6. ^ The Royal Society of British Artists: An Open Assembly, London, 1954.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Connelly, Bill, Olga Lehmann, Imaginative Book Illustration Society Newsletter, No 15, Summer 2000.
  8. ^ Jackson, L.: Twentieth-Century Pattern Design, Princeton Architectural Press, 2002.
  9. ^ Quinn, Andrew H.: Corsham Murals. Cultural Heritage, Defense Estates Annual Report, 2001, Ministry of Defense.
  10. ^ Historic England. "MoD CORSHAM: Quarry Operations Centre (QOC) Murals (Grade II*) (1409132)". National Heritage List for England.
  11. ^ Leese, Elizabeth: Costume Design in the Movies, "Olga Lehmann". Frederick Ungar Publications. New York, 1976, 1983.
  12. ^ Olga Lehmann at IMDb.
  13. ^ Soren, D.: Vera-Ellen: The Magic and the Mystery, Luminary Press, Midnight Marquee Press, Inc., 2003. ISBN 1-887664-48-3.
  14. ^ Halligan, F.:Movie Story Boards - The Art of Visualizing Screenplays, pp 62-67, Chronicle Books LLC, 2013. ISBN 978-1-4521-2219-9
  15. ^ Scott, G.; Miles, B.; Morgan, J.: The Greatest Album Covers of All Time, "Under Milk Wood", London: Collins & Brown, 2005. ISBN 1-84340-301-3.

Further references[edit]

  • Bacon, C. W., Scratchboard Drawing, "Olga Lehmann", Studio Publications, 1951.
  • Branaghan, S., Chibnall, S, British Film Posters: An Illustrated History, British Film Institute, 2008, ISBN 1844572218.
  • Fishenden, R. B., The Penrose Annual; Review of the Graphic Arts, "Olga Lehmann", Hastings House, 1953.
  • Foss, B., War Paint: Art, War, State and Identity in Britain 1939-1945, Yale University Press, 2007.
  • Harper, S., Women in Cinema, "Olga Lehmann", Continuum, 2000.
  • York, Malcolm, Edward Bawden and his Circle, Woodbridge, Suffolk, Antique Collectors Club.

External links[edit]