Amelia’s Magazine | London Stories: The winners and my favourites from the Serco Prize for Illustration 2014

Gill Bradley, Monkey Band

Gill Bradley, Monkey band at large in Notting Hill 1927.

It’s official: I am a twit. Despite being invited by The AOI to sit on the judging panel for this year’s Serco Prize for Illustration I managed to entirely miss the actual exhibition at the London Transport Museum. Doh. This I put down to my current inability to attend evening events such as the preview night (I keep telling myself that these difficult toddler years won’t last long…) combined with the fact that I completely misread the end date of the show. Double Doh. So, despite my best intentions to see the artworks in reality before I blogged about my favourites, in the end this is a very late post, based on the same images we were asked to chose from as judges. It was a tough choice, with such a high standard to choose from and so many entertaining tales to learn along the way, but here are the winning choices, and below them some of my favourite London Stories:

Designer and animator Gill Bradley was declared the unanimous winner with her depiction of a not so well known story of an escaped monkey jazz band (see above) – chosen for it’s vibrant and unusual subject matter, with the added bonus that the event took place on London Transport.

Nicholas Stevenson_Frost Fair

I particularly loved Frost Fair by runner up Nicholas Stevenson, featuring curious characters at one of the famous Frost Fairs held on the Thames when it froze over.

Eric Chow_ Lady Bridge

Third prize went to Eric Chow for The Lady Bridge, a technically brilliant and evocative interpretation of the rebuilding of Waterloo Bridge by women during the Second World War.

Erica Sturla, The Menagerie in the Tower

Erica Sturla’s The Menagerie in the Tower shows the famous Royal menagerie in the Tower rendered in chaotic contemporary style. You can buy a variety of items featuring this design here.

london stories, Long Wolf and Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show - Melvyn Evans

Melvyn EvansLong Wolf and Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show was a popular artwork, depicting an infamous occasion during the reign of Queen Victoria, when a Sioux Chief brought his show to the American Exhibition for Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. There were 300 performances and 2.5 million tickets sold but sadly Long Wolf contracted pneumonia and died in London, forgotten until 1991.

Oranges and Lemons - Eliza Southwood

Eliza Southwood’s Oranges and Lemons riffs on the well known song (which was a popular theme for many illustrators) and features a glorious graphical representation of the actual churches from the tune.


Everyone loved the tapestry inspired River Pageant 2012 by Sue Prince.

London-stories-Richard Williams Wide Boy

There were many more idiosyncratic notions of London to chose from, such as Richard Williams’ illustration Wide Boy, with many of London’s most iconic attractions stowed away inside a capacious coat.

Elisa Cunningham Pelican Lunch - London Stories

Pelican Lunch features a pelican attacking a pigeon (apparently based on a rather upsetting incident found on youtube), by Elisa Cunningham.

London-Stories-White Bear - Paul Garland

I was most taken with the striking image of a White Bear by Paul Garland, based on the story of the polar bear kept at the Tower of London by Henry III, with a chain long enough that it could swim in the Thames and catch fish. In a nice decorative touch London transport signs make up the links of the chain.

Nathan Reed The Guardians of the Tower

Nathan Reed’s playful image of The Guardians of the Tower was one of many images that focused on these famous birds.

Gog and Magog - Helen Lord

According to the tradition, the giants Gog and Magog are guardians of the City of London, depicted here asleep under the bustling city by Helen Lord.

Starlings on the clock, Sonia Poli

Finally, Starlings on the Clock by Sonia Poli is an intricate papercut collage based on the moment in 1995 when a flock of starlings landed on the minute hand of Big Ben and put the time back by 5 minutes.

There were many more images that I loved, so do check out the London Transport Museum website, where you can still buy your favourite in poster form.

Categories ,Elisa Cunningham, ,Eliza Southwood, ,Eric Chow, ,Erica Sturla, ,Frost Fair, ,Gill Bradley, ,Gog and Magog, ,Helen Lord, ,London Transport Museum, ,Long Wolf and Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, ,Melvyn Evans, ,Monkey band at large in Notting Hill 1927, ,Nathan Reed, ,Nicholas Stevenson, ,Oranges and Lemons, ,Paul Garland, ,Pelican Lunch, ,Richard Williams, ,River Pageant 2012, ,Serco Prize for Illustration, ,Sonia Poli, ,Starlings on the Clock, ,Sue Prince, ,the AOI, ,The Guardians of the Tower, ,The Lady Bridge, ,The Menagerie in the Tower, ,White Bear, ,Wide Boy

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Amelia’s Magazine | Christmas Gift Ideas 2012: Cushions!

ooh deer pictor_cushion
Pictor cushion in super soft faux suede by William Branton for Ohh Deer.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be blogging all my best suggestions for a range of gifts, from homeware to jewellery to fine art prints to kids’ clothes… and to start off my round up I bring you my pick of cushions…

As a surface to display design in the home cushions are hard to beat, which is why you will find so many illustrators and textile designers currently churning them out. And they’re a great way to cheaply dress up your living room – so why not splash out on one, or two, for your loved ones. And then you’ll get to enjoy them too. Perfect!

ben the illustrator greenland multicoloured cushion
Ben the Illustrator believes that ‘good places make people feel good‘, whether you’re on the coast watching birds, or on the couch watching TV. His artwork is inspired by nature and his new homeware range is printed and hand-made in the UK, aided by his wife Fiona and manufactured ‘using unlimited volumes of colour and love‘. I love this Greenland design, inspired by Arctic dwellings.

kate marsden park hill cushion
The iconic Park Hill housing estate in Sheffield inspired this large square cushion by Kate Marsden, which is digitally printed on the front with black felt on the reverse.

Imogen Heath combines traditional artistry with digital technology to create print designs such as this bright Dahlia design.

shake the dust cheetah cushion
Shake the Dust is a new ethical design brand which sources, commissions and sells hand-made, luxury homeware and accessories: traditional skills are reinterpreted through modern eyes. This gorgeous Cheetah design was made in the Kingdom of Swaziland by Baobab Batik.

constructive studio faces_cushion
Craig Yamey of Constructive Studio created this beautiful calligraphic face print from his studio in Cockpit Arts, Holborn. Read more about the Constructive Studio collection here.

Donna Wilson oak tree cushion
No blog on cushions would be complete without mention of the all conquering Donna Wilson – I particularly like this shaped woollen oak tree. Something a bit different for the sofa!

Darkroom cushion Camille Walala
A little bit 80s, a little bit tribal,what’s not to love about Camille Walala‘s brilliant double sided cushion which was inspired by the wall paintings of South Africa’s Ndebele tribe? Part of the T-R-I-B-A-L-A-L-A collaboration with Darkroom.

howkapow white bear paul farrell cushion
I adore this White Bear/Black Bear two-sided cushion by Bristol-based illustrator, Paul Farrell, available from the great Howkapow design website run by husband and wife design team Cat and Rog.

ooh deer big_chill_jack teagle cushion
On Culture Label I found this characterful cushion designed by the inimitable Jack Teagle for Ohh Deer, who work with a host of illustrators to create lovely things.

Soma Ben Javens drum major mini cushion
Is it a cushion? Is it a plush toy? I’m going with the former for the purposes of this fab creation by Ben Javens on Soma Gallery. Each Drum Major cushion is carefully screen-printed in the UK using eco-friendly water-based inks, then stuffed and sewn by hand by Beast in Show in Oxford.

poppy and red ditsy flower cushion
A search of Society6 brought me to this lovely ditsy design by Irish design duo Poppy & Red.

Lu Flux Alphabet A cushion
For patchwork lovers: check out these fab alphabet cushions by ethical designer Lu Flux. They are all made from vintage fabrics sourced in Britain and no two are the same.

For those of you who prefer to create your own: I’ve already bought one of these as a present – an amazing floral skull cushion by Urban Cross Stitch. Meet them in person at the Bust Craftacular.

lorna syson Bullfinch cushion
Finally, for a festive feel that will work all year around, how about these plump and handsome bullfinch adorned cushions by Lorna Syson, discovered last weekend at the Cockpit Arts open studios.

Look out for my next gift blog, coming soon.

Categories ,Baobab Batik, ,Beast in Show, ,Ben Javens, ,Ben the Illustrator, ,Black Bear, ,Bust Craftacular, ,Camille Walala, ,Cockpit Arts, ,Constructive Studio, ,Craig Yamey, ,Culture Label, ,Cushion, ,cushions, ,Dahlia, ,Darkroom, ,Donna Wilson, ,Drum Major, ,eco, ,ethical, ,Greenland, ,Holborn, ,Homewares, ,Howkapow, ,illustrator, ,Imogen Heath, ,Interior Design, ,Interiors, ,Jack Teagle, ,Kate Marsden, ,Lorna Syson, ,Lu Flux, ,Ndebele, ,Ohh Deer, ,Ooh Deer, ,Park Hill, ,pattern, ,Paul Farrell, ,Shake the Dust, ,Skull, ,Society6, ,Soma Gallery, ,T-R-I-B-A-L-A-L-A, ,Urban Cross Stitch, ,White Bear, ,William Branton

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