I am increasingly drawn, if you'll pardon the appalling pun, to the work of Clifford and Rosemary Ellis, (1907-85, 1910-98). I don't think we know who did what on their work; perhaps they were so much of one mind they started in opposite corners, worked until they joined up in the middle and then had a cup of tea. This illustration is one of four posters they did for the London Underground, and is probably my all time favourite. The other three are entitled Wood, River, Heath- this one is Down- and were for promoting the great outdoors to hard-pressed city dwellers in 1933. The Ellis's most prolific output was for nearly 100 gouache dust jackets for the remarkable Collins New Naturalist Series, and so have assured their place not only on nature lovers bookshelves but also in the collections of those who appreciate the stunning artwork. I haven't got one copy, so was relieved to find out recently that there's a set of the first 70 going for £6,000. Which is a bargain, strange though it may seem. Clifford and Rosemary also designed lorry posters for Shell (see one here) and were instrumental in setting up the Bath Academy of Art. What brought all this on? Well, on looking up stuff in the Betjeman edited Collins Guide to English Parish Churches last night, I found they'd done the cover for that too.
I am a designer, writer and photographer who spends all his time looking at England, particularly buildings and the countryside. But I have a leaning towards the slightly odd and neglected, the unsung elements that make England such an interesting place to live in. I am the author and photographer of over 25 books, in particular Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2006), More from Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2007), Cross Country (Wiley 2011), The Cigarette Papers (Frances Lincoln 2012), Preposterous Erections (Frances Lincoln 2012) and English Allsorts (Adelphi 2015)