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Spotlight on Collections 

Shell Postcard, Votes for Women, 1908

Shell Postcard, Votes for Women, 1908

Votes for Women

To mark the centenary of 'Votes for Women' the Shell Heritage Art Collection will be highlighting female artists from our collection who have played strong, leading roles in their professions of commercial and fine art. These women helped to create change within their industry and society as a whole.

The Representation of the People Act 1918 allowed some of the women of Great Britain and Ireland to vote for the first time. The act meant that women over the age of 30 could vote, but only if they were either a member, or married to a member of the Local Government Register, a property owner, or a graduate voting in a University constituency. The call for the vote for women was led by a group of strong, inspiring women known as the Suffragettes.

We launch our first female artist Cathleen Mann on 6th February 2018, 100 years after The Representation of the People Act 1918 was passed. Read more on our Blog

Discovering Britain through the Shell Heritage Art Collection 

To celebrate our new exhibition ‘Discovering Britain’ we have created an interactive map, exploring the British landscape through Shell’s 20th century advertising.

Travel through the 92 historic counties of Britain to view a selection of posters, guides, wallcharts and press advertisements from the Collection, that were produced to promote the British landscape, tourism and nature from the 1920s to the 1980s. The touring exhibition ‘Discovering Britain’ will be on show at North Hertfordshire Museum 25 Nov 2017 - 3 Mar 2018, please see below for further details. 

Discovering Britain, North Hertfordshire Museum, 25 Nov 2017 - 3 Mar 2018 

St Ives, Huntingdon, Duncan Grant, 1932

Our touring exhibition, celebrating British landscape painting through the artists commissioned by Shell for their highly successful 1920s to 1950s advertising campaign, also helps celebrate the opening of this new district musuem.  

The exhibition contains over 30 Shell posters and original paintings by artists such as Paul Nash, Graham Sutherland, Edward McKnight Kauffer and Vanessa Bell.  The art works reflect a diversity of artistic styles emerging in Britain after the First World War and explore the British countryside through images of inspiring landscapes and historic landmarks.  

Find out more about the new North Hertfordshire Museum

The Land We Live In – The Land We Left Behind, Hauser & Wirth Somerset, 20th Jan - 7th May 2018 

Farmers Prefer Shell, Denis Constanduros, 1934

Curated by Adam Sutherland this ambitious exhibition explores the contradictory nature of society’s relationship to the rural. The presentation features over 50 international artists and creatives.  Works on loan, by artists working from the 1500s to the present day, include Farmers Prefer Shell by Denis Constanduros, work by Paul McCarthy, Beatrix Potter, Carsten Höller, Laure Prouvost, William Holman Hunt, Samuel Palmer, Frank Lloyd Wright, Marcus Coates, Fernando García-Dory, Mark Dion, Roni Horn, Aaron Angell and Mark Wallinger.

A new selection of 1920s Shell Lorry Bills at Upton House, 25th March 2017 - 31st March 2018 

Artists Prefer Shell, John Armstrong, 1933

Over 30 original Shell lorry bills and paintings from our collection have been loaned to the National Trust in a new exhibition to celebrate former Shell Chairman Lord Bearsted’s ownership of Upton House. Walter Samuel inherited the title of Lord Bearsted and a love of art from his father Marcus Samuel, a co-founder of Shell. Walter exploited his chairmanship of Shell to foster young and contemporary artists who helped create our posters which spearheaded Shell’s distinctive marketing campaigns in the 1930s.

'A range of photographic exhibitions and Shell advertising posters from the 1920s will change throughout the year, shedding new light on what life was like for a home buyer in the late 1920s. You can be inspired by displays of fabrics, wallpapers and examples of exquisite taste. Understand about fashion trends and what it takes to create the perfect made to measure home.'

Find out more about the exhibition at Upton House 


Designs on Britain, The Jewish Museum London, 19 Oct 2017 - 15 Apr 2018 

Journalists use Shell, Zero-Hans Schleger, 1938

20th century design in the UK was profoundly shaped by the arrival of pioneering Jewish émigré designers from continental Europe. They brought with them a knowledge of modernism and radically transformed the practice and language of British design.

This exhibition at the Jewish Museum includes iconic posters for London Underground, the General Post Office and the War Office created by designers including Dorrit Dekk, FHK Henrion and Hans Schleger. We are pleased to loan the poster 'Journalists Use Shell' by Hans Schleger.

Poster Girls - A century of art and design, London Transport Museum, 13 Oct 2017 - 31 Jan 2019 

Antiquaries Prefer Shell,Clifford & Rosemary Ellis, 1934

We are pleased to loan an original poster to this exhibition that shines a spotlight on 20th and 21st century female graphic designers and reveals the contribution they have made to poster design over the last one hundred years.  

With over 150 posters and original artworks on display, this exhibition attempts to recognise some of these forgotten design heroines and reveal the hidden stories behind their work.

Included in the exhibition is Rosemary Ellis, a graphic artist and illustrator who worked with her husband Clifford Ellis to design posters for Shell, The Empire Marketing Board and the General Post Office, as well as London Transport

Permanent Exhibitions

Shell Heritage Art Collection Exhibition at the National Motor Museum 

From the early days of motoring Shell’s advertising has encouraged a nation to explore the roads of the British countryside.  Take a journey through Shell’s innovative campaigns in a new display at the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu, featuring original artworks, posters, early ephemera, Shell guides, film, sound and interactives for all the family. See visitor information here

Other venues

More Shell Heritage Art Collection items can be seen as a part of larger exhibitions at Nature in Art, Brooklands MuseumMottisfont.


Graham Sutherland - Life, Work and Ideas Publication 

Brimham Rock, Graham Sutherland, 1937

A new biographical study of respected artist Graham Sutherland titled ‘Graham Sutherland Life Work and Ideas’ will feature a copy of the poster he created for Shell in 1937 - no. 507 Brimham Rock. The author of the publication, Rosalind Thuillier knew Sutherland well (he died in 1980) and she describes not only his landscape inspirations from the Pembrokeshire countryside, but also his time as an official war artist, and his friendships inside and outside the art world.

The paperback and ebook is now on sale and available to order from Lutterworth Press


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