Shell and the Art of Advertising

Tristram Hillier's poster features in the exhibition

Tristram Hillier's poster features in the exhibition

The father of Viscount Bearsted, owner of Upton House in the 1930s, founded the Shell oil company.

This exhibition brings together Shell's groundbreaking advertising campaigns of the 1930s and the fortune and philanthropy of Viscount Bearsted, chairman of Shell at the time.

Until January 2015

  • A new exhibition in the Squash Court Gallery
  • Original artwork from Shell's ground breaking advertising campaigns of the 1930s
  • Over 30 framed posters showing the richness and diversity of their creators
  • See the work of Graham Sutherland, John Piper and others
  • Showcasing one of the most recognisable campaigns, 'People prefer Shell'
  • How a fortune made from oil was turned to philanthropy, arts patronage and helping the flee to freedom of wartime jews
  • Open 1pm to 5pm daily, except Thursdays
  • Included within normal admission charge, adult £7, members free

From seashells to Shell Oil

The experience you encounter at Upton House began with a small family business in the early 1800s. It invented the oil tanker, for transporting paraffin in those days, and became one of today's major players in the oil business.

More than room guides

The exhibition is the result of a joint effort between Upton staff and its volunteers. They researched the artists and the history of the family who owned Upton.

Keep in touch with Upton

Upton Backs to the Future exhibition displays the hidden side of paintings

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Yelena introduces herself to Upton’s volunteers in the exhibition space © Mike Perry

Yelena introduces herself to Upton’s volunteers in the exhibition space

Artist in residence

Yelena Popova is a creative artist in painting and video. She will be resident at Upton until late 2015, working with volunteers on the challenges of keeping Lord Bearsted's art collection during World War II, discovering how a collection reflects the attributes of a period and researching what happens to it in wartime. Her resulting artwork will feature in an exhibition from June 2015. Yelena graduated in MA painting at the RCA in 2011 and in 2014 was shortlisted for the Arts Foundation Award in Painting.