The Twentieth Century Society

Past Events

Event Details

Words on Buildings: Lettering and the environment in the 20th Century - The Age of Trajan - public lettering of the interwar period
The Gallery, 70 Cowcross St
Lambeth County Court, Cleaver Street

Words on Buildings: Lettering and the Environment in the Twentieth Century 

Thursday 17th November at 6.30pm, The Gallery, 70, Cowcross Street, London, EC1M 6EJ doors open at 6pm

The autumn 2016 lecture series celebrates the centenary of Edward Johnston’s Underground type with six speakers who look at the ideas behind changing styles of architectural lettering, and how the use of lettering is a key aspect of design that is often overlooked. 


Thursday 17 November

The Age of Trajan – the lettering of the interwar period

Dr Alan Powers


The letterforms from the inscription on Trajan’s Column in the Roman Forum became a standard for refined classical lettering at the time that Edward Johnston’s early pupil, Eric Gill, began his career in lettering. The transformative effect on architectural lettering was astonishing in its speed and thoroughness, and Trajan became associated with public services, especially the Post Office. Good lettering became a cause in the design reform movement of the interwar period promoted by the Design and Industries Association. In Italy and other countries, the associations of Rome resonated with more political meaning. Alan Powers, writer on the highways and byways of  British twentieth century taste, will argue for the significance of this style.  

Members £8.00    Non Members £10.00   Students £5.00 (glass of wine included)

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