Harold Stabler RDI (1872 – 1945)



From the Tile Gazetteer – London:

“Interwar platform tiling tended towards the relatively bland, with large areas of white or cream tiles and minimal coloured banding which often highlighted entrances and exits; much of this was supplied by Carter’s of Poole. A variation was introduced at the instigation of the administrator and design reformer Frank Pick (1878-1941), who began working for the Underground Group in 1906 and ended his career in 1940 as vice-chairman of the London Passenger Transport Board. In 1936 Pick commissioned Harold Stabler (1872-1945) to design a series of eighteen London-themed tiles with low-relief moulded decoration which were produced by Carter’s. These were installed as random ornamental insets at Aldgate East and St Paul’s (where they can still be seen today) in 1938 and were in use until 1947; the Aldgate East tiling is the most complete remaining scheme, but was threatened by proposed refurbishment in 2005. The Builder considered the tiles to be ‘an excellent notion, and one which will certainly arouse popular interest’, but the architectural critic J. M. Richards felt they represented ‘a kind of arti-craftiness’ out of character with the Underground’s modern standardised detailing.”

From bonhams.com:

“Harold Stabler RDI (1872 – 1945)

Born in Levens, Westmoreland. His training was in the Arts and Crafts Movement, firstly, in the stone and wood carving at the Kendal School of Art under Arthur Simpson and, later, metalwork at the Keswick School of Industrial Art. In 1899, he left Keswick to study in the metalwork department of the Liverpool School of Art under Richard Llewellyn Rathbone.
In around 1906, he moved to London to teach at the John Cass Technical Institute as head of the Art Department. Around the same time he married Phoebe Gertrude McLeish, the couple went on to collaborate in the design and execution of jewellery, silverwork and pottery. Together they set up a business in their home, Hammersmith in 1912. During the First World War with his wife they worked on a series of cloisonné enamelled wall plaques (also in the collection at The Goldsmiths Hall) together with a Japanese artist who instructed them in enamelling techniques.
Stabler was an instructor of metalwork, jewellery and enamelling at the Royal College of Art 1912-1926. He went on to design for several major silversmithing companies; Goldsmiths & Silversmiths, Adie Brothers and Wakely & Wheeler, using an ‘architectural modernist geometric style, later to be called Art Deco.’ He was very much part of the modern movement and was awarded the first Royal Designer for Industry in 1936, for pottery, enamelling and silversmithing, by the British Royal Society of Arts.
Frank Pick, Chief Executive of ‘London Transport,’ was determined that every element of London Transport’s activities should be in unified designs. The design programme commissioned many leading artists, including Stabler who was responsible for the tiles used at St Paul’s, Aldgate East, Bethnal Green, St. John’s Wood and Swiss Cottage Underground stations. For Wood Green station, he designed the bronze ventilation grilles depicting deer and doves as well as numerous posters for the Underground Group and London Transport.”

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