Olga Lehmann – another unexpected artist in the archive

I’m back to artists again! I was looking up something for an enquiry and I came across these booklets in a folder I’d already catalogued.  That’s the funny thing with cataloguing – you could go over the same box again and again and each time focus on different aspects in the cataloguing.  It was a folder of correspondence with the Women’s Freedom League and although I did actually list both these booklets I couldn’t have looked closely enough at the covers or I’m sure I’d have already scanned them!

NUWT Collection ref UWT/D/64/7 ©Institute of Education Archive

NUWT Collection ref UWT/D/64/7 ©Institute of Education Archive

They’re such striking designs and I just had to find out more.  Luckily the name of the artist is printed on both of them.  Olga Lehmann designed both these booklets for the Women’s Freedom League, I’m guessing in the 1940s, going from the dates of the other material in the folder.  What an incredibly talented artist she was – in addition to doing graphic design work like above, she also designed album covers for the Argo record label (there’s a great blog post on that here), she designed sets and costumes for Pinewood Studios, MGM and ABPC, costume designs for television programmes, murals (such as these ones in the Burlington Underground shelter), she was also a portrait artist and exhibited in joint and solo shows. She studied at Slade School of Fine Art from 1929 to 1934 and worked from then right through to the 1980s.  I feel very lucky that these examples of her work are in the NUWT collection!

It’s interesting as I’ve been looking at a variety of online sources on Olga Lehmann and none of them mention any work for the Women’s Freedom League.  I wonder if she was commissioned to do the work or whether she volunteered out of agreement with their aims?