Art on the Underground

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Updated roundel design at Southwark station in celebration of the new Tate Modern in collaboration with Art on the Underground.

Art on the Underground, previously called Platform for Art, is a visual arts showcase sponsored by London Underground, the rapid transit system for London, England.


London Underground's associations with visual art began in 1908 when its then Publicity Officer Frank Pick began commissioning leading artists to work on poster campaigns for the rapidly expanding network.

The company's distinctive corporate image, including official Underground roundel and iconic tube map designed by Harry Beck are also considered major contributions to visual art, and several of the network's stations have been decorated with artistic tiling or murals depicting local historical or traditional themes.

Launched in 2000, previously known as Platform for Art, London Underground's art programme aimed to continue the company's association with the arts and "create an environment for positive impact and to enhance and enrich the journeys of the passengers that are its audience". Platform for Art was rebranded as Art on the Underground in 2007.

The programme[edit]

Posters, billboards and exhibition spaces are provided by London Underground for young and aspiring artists in various media.

Most notably, at Gloucester Road station an entire disused platform is the backdrop for a rolling programme of four exhibitions a year featuring murals or sculptures with eye-catching lighting. The ticket hall and exit area at Piccadilly Circus station is also a venue for Platform for Art displays.

In addition, some stations' walls are decorated in tile motifs unique to that station, such as profiles of Sherlock Holmes's head at Baker Street, and a cross containing a crown at King's Cross St Pancras. Oval has cricket-themed decorations, with murals, statues and banners all celebrating the illustrious game. Unique Edwardian tile patterns, designed by Leslie Green and installed in the 1900s, were also used on the platforms of many of the Yerkes-funded stations on the Bakerloo, Northern and Piccadilly lines. Many of these tile patterns survive to this day, though a significant number of these are now replicas.[1]

As part of the commemoration of Arsenal's stadium move, a temporary mural was placed along the walls of Arsenal station passageways as part of London Underground's Platform For Art scheme. It was unveiled in February and removed in September 2006.

Go to the Gallery, an additional collaborative initiative with over 20 of London's art galleries, saw a series of posters featuring various artworks produced for display in unusual sites all over the network including in South Kensington's museum subway, and at Charing Cross and Earl's Court tube stations among others.

Many other stations on London Underground host temporary exhibitions, with past locations having included Canary Wharf, Piccadilly Circus, Charing Cross, Southwark and Westminster stations.

Since 2004, Art on the Underground has been commissioning artists to create covers for London Underground's pocket Tube map.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "London Underground's Edwardian Tile Patterns". Doug Rose. Archived from the original on 8 July 2007. Retrieved 12 July 2007.
  2. ^ "Underground art: London tube map designs". 20 March 2009. Retrieved 8 February 2021.

External links[edit]