Arnrid Banniza Johnston, 1895-1972
From the Ark to Regents Park
Original Vintage Poster
Printed by The Baynard Press, 1931
Born in Sweden, Johnston studied at the Slade School of Art in London. A prolific artist, and best-known these days for her London Transport posters, she also carved in wood and marble. Her posters for London Transport include several for the zoo, including this particular one; a recurring theme in her art was animals – from 1938 she wrote and illustrated the Pigwiggen books, relating the life of the flying pig.
In this poster, perfect for a child’s nursery, the animals are seen heading two-by-two from the Ark towards the London Underground station for Mount Ararat. The penguins and monkeys using the escalators are of particular note, as is the seal which appears to be leaping directly into the sea from the Ark.
Interestingly there is a poster within the poster referring to the ‘Development Act 1929 for the relief of unemployment.’ This appears to be a reference to the Development (Loan Guarantee and Grants) Act 1929 which subsidised local authorities and public utilities to undertake capital development works in order to generate new employment. It is estimated that 100,000 people were employed by 1931 through this. Following the 1931 general election, the Conservative-dominated National Government scaled down the extent of these works and in 1932 the recovery from the Great Depression began.