The Lyons chain – which at its height numbered around 200 stores – opened in 1894 and the last one closed in 1981, having become icons of the British town centre.
Lyons always showed a commitment to interior design, with day with creative director Oliver P Bernard developing some forward-thinking Art Deco designs.
However, in the years after World War Two, the Lyons interiors were suffering a bit of a decline, which was compounded by a post-war lack of decorating materials.
To address this, Lyons commissioned some of the finest artists and print-makers of the time to create lithographs to be displayed in the shops – these had to be produced on a large-enough scale to conceal the faded Lyons décor.
Edward Bawden, LS Lowry, David Gentlemen and John Nash all created works for the series, which went on show in shops between 1946 and 1955.
A collection of the lithographs is being brought together for a new exhibition at Towner in Eastbourne, along with a selection of original paintings and working drawings.
The gallery says, ‘Together with the artistic innovations developed by London Underground, Shell-Mex, the General Post Office and others, the Lyons Teashop Lithographs established a distinctive post-war vernacular.’
The Lyons Teashops Lithographs: Art in a Time of Austerity, is at Towner, Devonshire Park, College Road, Eastbourne BN21, from 13 July-22 September.