Down and Up

A postponed walk along the South Downs is now in the offing, and the thought put into my mind this skilful London Underground poster. Executed by Clifford and Rosemary Ellis in 1933, for me it perfectly evokes the atmosphere of downland, even though its form is very graphic. Literally a bird's eye view, I continually return to it. The Ellis's produced companion posters for 'Heath' with an owl, 'River' with a heron and 'Wood' with, yes, a green woodpecker. Part of London Transport's brief to get passengers out into the countryside, this poster is not only brilliant in its execution, but a testament to the far-sightedness of publicity manager Frank Pick in choosing such celebrated artists to give the Underground the feel of a very accessible art gallery.

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