River of life

At 350km, the Thames is the longest river in England and a thoroughfare for trade and travel dissecting London through its core.

As it meanders through the city, it links the iconic landmarks ’like pearls on a string’, contemplates artist Hartwig Braun, who created The String of Pearls illustration one of the top 50 entries for the Serco Prize for Illustration 2011.

The competition, sponsored by Serco for the second year, is organised by the London Transport Museum with the Association of Illustrators.

This year the brief tasked illustrators and students to create an image showing the benefits of the Thames as a central feature of the capital. The winners will be revealed on 9 May.

The 50 best entries will be exhibited next month at the LTM, and include varied depictions of life on the river. In her London Banquet piece, Liz Rowland’s dinner table invites tourist attractions to dine as the river plays host. Freddy Boo draws on the transport side by using the Transport for London logo, which doubles as the Thames in The Merry River. And Emily Wallis takes a more serious approach in her Reflect on London.

’Variety is key to this year’s competition and deciding the winners was enjoyable and unanimous,’ says judge Ramon Blomfield, managing director of AOI.

The illustrations certainly make for a colourful display, showing an unrivalled part of London in all its glory. As Tracey Long’s illustration, ’She Flows Fair, the Thames’, portrays, the river is the puppet mistress a giver of life, work, travel and pleasure with us as the puppets and it holding the strings.

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