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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. ‘Discovering Britain’ is on show at Mottisfont from 6 May – 2 July 2017. 

From Mile End to Mayfair, Southampton City Art Gallery, 2 Sept 2017- 6 Jan 2018 

Alfriston, Vanessa Bell, 1931

This exhibition at Southampton City Art Gallery brings together many of the East London Group’s most iconic pieces, some of which have not been seen in public for more than eighty years plus a few which have only come to light in recent weeks, months or years.

The genesis of the East London Group was from classes led by their inspirational teacher John Cooper at the Bow and Bromley Evening Institute in East London from the mid-twenties. The majority of the members were working East End men and women supplemented by a small contingent who were Slade School trained, as was Cooper himself. Members Elwin Hawthorne, Walter Steggles, Harold Steggles all produced work for Shell at this time.

The vast majority of the ELG work will be on loan from family or private collections augmented by three or four pieces from institutional collections including posters from our collection by Elwin Hawthorne and Paul Nash.

John Armstrong: Dream & Reality, Penlee House Gallery, 16 September - 18 November 2017 

Theatre Goers Prefer Shell, John Armstrong, 1938

This exhibition examines the diverse range of work produced over the lifetime of this intriguing artist. John Armstrong ARA (1893 - 1973) studied briefly at St John’s Wood School of Art but was essentially self-taught. His one-man exhibition in 1928 established him in avant-garde circles, including that of Unit One with Ben Nicholson, Paul Nash and others. He later became deeply involved in theatre and film, designing sets for the Royal Ballet and costumes for ten of Alexander Korda’s epic films. After the war, he spent a period of time in Lamorna before returning to London and continuing his eclectic style that encompassed still life and classicism alongside larger, more abstract works. 

We have loaned a poster and three paintings including 'Near Lamorna', 1952,  as contributions to this exhibition at Penlee House Gallery. A selection of Newlyn School paintings will also be on view.

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 


A Printmaker's Journey by Angie Lewin, St Barbes, 30 Sept - 25 Nov 2017 

Brimham Rock, Graham Sutherland, 1937

Artist Angie Lewin has a unique vision of the natural world. Her hugely popular prints and textile designs depict in intricate detail the native flora of a variety of environments, from saltmarsh and Highland loch to flower-strewn meadow and wild garden.
This exhibition features a wealth of Angie’s work alongside paintings, prints, ceramics and sculpture by artists who have influenced her including Eric Ravilious, Edward Bawden, Gertrude Hermes and Monica Poole. We are pleased to loan a poster and original painting to the exhibition at St Barbes Museum & Art Gallery.


Discovering Britain, North Hertfordshire Museum, 25 Nov 2017 - 7 Jan 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

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 exhibitons at Nature in Art, Brooklands Museum , Mottisfont and Upton House (see above)


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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