The Lyons Teashops Lithographs: Art in a time of Austerity

Barnett Freedman, People, 1947

Barnett Freedman, People, 1947. Towner Collection

In the post-war years, catering giant J. Lyons & Co. commissioned three series of lithographs from some of Britain’s most popular artists – including Edward Bawden, John Piper, David Gentleman, John Minton, William Scott and John Nash.

The lithographs were commissioned to combat a wartime decline in the interior décor of their famous teashops, and a post-war austerity lack of decorating material! Through the company’s imaginative approach to interior decoration, the cream of modern British art reached a wider public audience.

We exhibited three series of lithographs from the Towner Collection, alongside some of the original paintings and working drawings.

Our visitors were able to step back in time to experience a Great British institution at a time when great art overcame austerity and fed their nostalgia with a visit to the Towner café for a special Lyons-inspired experience of ‘tea and a slice of art’.

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