Fred Taylor was born in London on March 22 1875, the son of William Taylor. Taylor studied briefly at Goldsmith’s College, London, where he won a gold medal for his posters, and a travelling scholarship to study in Italy. At some point working in the Waring and Gillow Studio, Taylor was a poster artist, illustrator, decorator and a watercolourist. Particularly noted as a poster artist from 1908 to the 1940s, and was regularly commissioned by the LNER, EMB and shipping companies. Taylor also exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy, and other provincial societies. Taylor’s designs frequently referred to architectural subjects.
During the Second World War, Taylor was employed on naval camouflage. He also executed commissions for London Transport, including ‘Back Room Boys’, where the underlying concept and use of central image with a surrounding border were probably taken from A S Hartrick’s series of lithographs on war work called Playing the Game, 1918, although ‘their finely balanced colouring and their superb draughtsmanship are peculiar to Taylor at his best’. Married to Florence R Sarg, with a son and a daughter, Taylor is also remembered for his decorating work, most notably for ceilings for the former Underwriter’s Room at Lloyds of London, and murals for Austin Reed’s red laquer room in 1930. He was also the author of a number of publications.
Information taken from: Livingston, A. and Livingston, I., Dictionary of Graphic Design and Designers, 1992, p.187, London Transport Museum Database, February 2000, quoting Riddell, 1994, Darracott, J. and Loftus, B., Second World War Posters, 1981 (1972), p.55
Mass Communications Academic, @MMUBS. British Home Front Propaganda posters as researched for a PhD completed 2004. In 1997, unwittingly wrote the first history of the Keep Calm and Carry On poster, which she now follows with interest.