Railways Under London
London, Max Parrish. .
'Library Edition', 4to, original orange buckram with gilt emblem of a tube train on upper cover and original dust jacket replicating the boards of the 1948 edition. Illustrated throughout in colour, including double-page title, map and full-page illustrations and cross-sections depicting all aspects of the design and functioning of the tube system. A rare 'Isotype' work on all aspects of the design and functioning of the Tube system, by the pioneering German graphic designer, physicist and social scientist, Marie Neurath. Ostensibly aimed at children, the book's vibrant illustrations and cross-sections help to explain how the trains, escalators and lifts work, how platforms are built for speed and how the tunnel system fits together. Issued as part of the series 'A Parrish Colour Book for Older Children', this 1964 Library Edition seems as scarce as the 1948 original. Born Marie Reidemeister, Neurath met her future husband Otto at art school in the 1920s, and the two moved first to Vienna and then the Hague, where they sought to develop their utopian vision of an enlightened society educated through an illustrated encyclopaedia. It was in 1935 that Marie coined the acronym Isotype (International System of Typographic Picture Education), to represent a visual language for the public communication of historical and statistical information. When Germany invaded Holland in 1940, the couple fled to London, married the following year, and set up the Isotype Institute in Oxford. One of the couple's most important projects was to advise on the redevelopment of the slums of Bilston, near Wolverhampton, and supply Isotype charts. Otto was adamant that plans should be exhibited to the potential residents, a radical idea at the time, and when he died unexpectedly in 1945, Marie went back to help fulfil his vision, which was ultimately realised only in part. Marie continued the work of the Isotype Institute, publishing Otto's writings, completing other projects he had started, and producing many revolutionary children's books using the Isotype system. Only recently has she received due recognition as the main driving force of the couple, 2019 seeing an explosion of interest including an exhibition at the House of Illustration, Marie Neurath: Picturing Science, which highlighted the children's books. A fine copy just slight fading to spine and part of the front cover.