The Art of the Poster

Ref: C3741127

This course will celebrate the illustrated poster that had its beginnings in Paris during the last quarter of the nineteenth century. Works of the leading poster artists of the time including Jules Chéret, Pierre Bonnard, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Alphonse Mucha will be investigated. We will also examine groundbreaking travel posters produced in Britain in the inter-war period including the London Underground, the four railway companies (GWR, LNER, LMS & Southern Railways), and Shell-Mex. Works by Tom Purvis, E. McKnight Kauffer and the modernist painters Paul Nash and Graham Sutherland will be discussed The poster as a collector’s item will also be explored.

Course aim

To explore the origins and development of the illustrated poster from its beginnings in Paris to the golden age of posters in Britain. To identify the artists involved and evaluate their contributions

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Identify some of the leading exponents of poster art.
  • Describe how the illustrated poster developed over time.
  • Analyse posters in terms of the art historical and/or social narrative they tell.
  • Identify places to view vintage posters today.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • Answers to questions. Responses to observations Informal discussions throughout Opportunities are given to students to participate in their own critical analysis

What else do I need to know?

  • Note taking equipment

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful
  • A reading list will be provided and reference books from the tutor's own collection will be made available for each session. Handouts mapping out the key points and listing the names of artists and designers under discussion will be given.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Participants will be able to use the course content to enhance their own enjoyment of art and design, and to continue studying the subject.

Download full Course information sheet

The Art of the Poster


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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