This is the first comprehensive book on the life and work of Tom Purvis: one of the most successful British commercial artists in the interwar years. Purvis is remembered for his iconic work with Austin Reed, his iconic posters for LNER, and for his 'signature style' of block colour minimalism.
Tom Purvis was a commercial artist and proud of it - 'I got fun out of the money as well as out of the work'. After a period at the Camberwell School of Art and some time in Paris, Purvis claimed to have gained his most useful experience working for the advertising agency Mather & Crowther. His career was interrupted when he served in the Artists' Rifles in WWI, but thereafter he was self-employed, starting work in the 1920s for his two main clients - Austin Reed and LNER. He became one of LNER's 'elite' artists, producing some 100 railway posters, the most iconic of which is 'East Coast Joys'.
During the inter-war years he provided posters and press advertisements for some sixty clients. His 'flat method' of colour block minimalism became his distinguishable 'signature style'.
In 1936 he was elected by the Royal Society of Arts to be a Royal Designer of Industry, the first commercial artist to have his work so acknowledged. He became one of the most celebrated and successful commercial artists of the period and thoroughly enjoyed the life-style this brought him - Lancia car, Savage Club membership, and so on.
He never saw himself an artist but considered himself a Master Craftsman, capable not only of producing a good poster, but of printing it, and, if paid sufficiently well, mounting it on a street hoarding!