Title: The Popular Service Suits All Tastes
Published By: Underground Electric Railway Company Ltd
Size: 476mm x 763mm (18.25in x 30in)
Commissioned by the Underground in 1913, the image is instantly recognisable as a pastiche of Willow Pattern, a popular china decoration adapted from a Chinese design in the 18th century. The features that this version shares with the original Willow Pattern are three figures crossing a bridge, a characteristic tree to the right, two doves, and a pagoda. The boat and teahouse have been replaced by a train and station building. The combination of elements tells the mythical story of a Chinese maiden and her forbidden lover who elope. Pursued and killed by her enraged father, the couple are reincarnated as doves and find eternal happiness. The text below provides a witty play on words, with a punning reference to the popularity of the 'service', referring to the china dinner service and the train service.