London’s subterranean train system is used by millions of travellers and commuters every day. The intricate collection of tunnels and stations has seen thousands of changes and upgrades over its 154-year existence. Many of the changes have been creative or artistic, combining street art and galleries together to transform the dark subway system into a treasure trove of cultural and historical artworks.
Whether they have been built into the station or created by an artistic traveller, there are some amazing things to be found on the Underground. If you want to see the artistic secrets held underneath London’s streets, then this useful guide will help you on your search.
Edgware Road Station
The amazing creation at Edgware Road Station was the brainchild of renowned artist Jacqueline Poncelet. The instalment is called ‘Wrapper’ and consists of a series of enamel prints that cover the whole of the station’s sub-building.
Inspired by the local area, it was designed with a series of coloured patterns that reflect the Tube map. Poncelet’s incredible work is the largest enamel piece in Europe, at 1,500 square meters, and was the result of years of careful planning. The extravagant spectacle can be seen from platforms and roads surrounding the station, which means that everyone gets to enjoy the vibrant colours and complex pattern work that Jacqueline is famous for.
No matter which station you find yourself at during your travels around the city, you will always come across one of Mark Wallinger’s signature pieces. As one of Britain’s most famous contemporary artists, Wallinger has been creating popular artwork for decades. To celebrate the 150th anniversary of London’s historic Underground system, the artist was commissioned to create 270 original creations. Each piece features a unique labyrinth design which serves as a fun challenge for commuters, as well as a piece of art that brings life to each station.
Charing Cross Station
If you hop off a train at Charing Cross Underground Station you’re unlikely to miss the outstanding classical artwork created by watercolourist, David Gentleman. The 1930s born painter was commissioned with the job of creating a selection of wall panels to brighten up the gloomy station at Charing Cross. The hand-crafted mural is a classical piece that depicts the construction of Queen Eleanor’s Cross. The historic cross was created in the 13th century by King Edward I for his wife, and is where the Tube station got its name from.
Green Park Station
The well-known sculptor, John Maine has created a unique piece of art at the Green Park Station, which is a reflection of his brilliant technique of embodying the local landscape. This amazing piece is built right into the walls of the station itself. The series of intricate engravings is called ‘Sea Strata’ and is a reflection of the local scenery between Piccadilly and Green Park. The talented sculptor used the natural qualities of the station’s Portland stone to create a piece of art that has become part of the Underground itself.