Sign Painting Olympiad

Lettering maven Sam Roberts announces Letterheads 2018: London Calling is bringing the international Letterheads movement to London for the first time from August 16 to19 at the Bargehouse on OXO Tower Wharf, SE1. “These ‘meets’ are typically closed-doors affairs, but the London expo will provide a rare (and free!) opportunity for the public to glimpse the beautiful sign and lettering work via a free exhibition, demonstrations, screenings, behind-the-scenes tours, and much more.”

The Grand Exhibition of the
Pre-Vinylite Society: An 18th Century Revival is a contemporary sign writing exhibition, an homage to a legendary exhibition of signs that took place in London in 1762. The original Grand Exhibition of the Society of Sign Painters, which opened on April 22, 1762 at Covent Garden, was a satirical display of pictorial signboards, some painted specifically for the show (purportedly by William Hogarth) and some taken clandestinely from the city streets in the aftermath of a sign ordinance that required all projecting signs to be removed.

One of the few surviving objects from the 1762 exhibition is its companion catalogue, which playfully and often facetiously describes the pictorial signs for the 18th century viewer.

For The Grand Exhibition of the Pre-Vinylite Society, the artists work directly from the 1762 catalogue to translate the historic descriptions into contemporary lettering and pictorial styles. Each artist in the show interprets a description from the original catalogue by lettering it verbatim, rendering it pictorially, or by utilizing both lettering and pictorial skills.

Exhibition curator, Meredith Kasabian, will be giving a short curator’s talk at 1pm every day 16-18 August. These are free and open to the public. The main reception area will host a variety of craft demonstrations including sign writing, screen printing (where visitors can print a limited edition souvenir poster) and, on Saturday only, the opportunity to participate in the Pop-Up Type Tasting lab.