Banners for Spain

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These Hammersmith Aid Spain banners in the below image gallery, dating from 1937-8, were created in response to the civil war in Spain (1936-9). All but two are unattributed, but we believe they were authored by members of the Artists International Association, an informal group of anti-fascist artists founded in 1933. 'Hammersmith Ambulance for Spain' is by artist Julian Otto Trevelyan and 'Hammersmith Communist Party Sends Greetings' is by artist Laurence Bradshaw. Three directly reference the Hammersmith Communist Party, which took a leading role in Hammersmith Aid Spain. 

These banners were used at the time to raise awareness of the plight of Spanish Republic and to make both humanitarian and political appeals. They celebrate the solidarity and internationalism of the Aid Spain movement and the example of the International Brigades. These artworks, with a very practical function, evidence how Spain inspired a generation of both artists and activists.

Thanks to funding from Textile Society and the General Federation of Trade Unions these banners were conserved in 2017 for display at a special exhibition at Islington Museum. You can browse the exhibition booklet with additional information on the Aid Spain movement in Islington below. 


These banners form part of the Spanish Collection – the largest archive on the British volunteers and the Aid Spain movement in the country - at the Marx Memorial Library.


They were donated to the Library in 1975 by George and Jean Pavett, Communist Party members, booksellers and activists who had been resident in west London.


Additional details on the banners can be found in our online catalogue under 'objects' here.


Photo credit: Ian Lillicrap