Ronald Maddox on illustrating Britain

 In the 70s and 80s artist Ronald Maddox travelled throughout the United Kingdom making drawings and paintings for the Post Office, Royal Mail and BT. The resulting images later appeared on stamps, first day covers, posters, aerogrammes, telephone directories and stamp books. In a talk given here in May, Ronald Maddox reflected on more than two decades of work. This talk is now available on our podcast.

Village Churches, 1972

Village Churches, 1972

One of Ronald Maddox’s best known stamp issues is the Village Churches set from 1972. Initially Maddox made drawings of around 50 churches before the final five were settled on. This being the first stamp issue he had designed, he recalled his excitement at visiting the stamp printers Harrisons and seeing the stamps come off press. Maddox was also interested to read a recent article in The Independent reporting that samples of the Village Churches stamps, printed on different paper stock to the issued stamps and encased in a Perspex block, are now worth £500 each.

Holyroodhouse stamp from British Architecture issue, 1978

Holyroodhouse stamp from British Architecture issue, 1978

In other stamp issues he designed, Maddox found that the Queen and politicians took a great interest in his work. When she saw the British Architecture (1978) designs, the Queen is said to have asked why the artist removed the hedges from the view of Holyroodhouse.

Garden Festival Hall, Liverpool stamp from the Urban Renewal issue, 1984

Garden Festival Hall, Liverpool stamp from the Urban Renewal issue, 1984

A few years later when Maddox was working on the Urban Renewal (1984) stamps he found that Environment Secretary Michael Heseltine kept in touch with him throughout the design process, urban renewal being a hot topic at that time.

Another interesting commission for Maddox was designing a mural for Liverpool Head Post Office. The mural shows many of Liverpool’s landmark buildings, and the boats, trains and other methods of transport used by Royal Mail at the time.

Ronald Maddox's mural for Liverpool Head Post Office (Photo courtesy Ronald Maddox)

Ronald Maddox's mural for Liverpool Head Post Office (Photo courtesy Ronald Maddox)

The BPMA podcast is available from http://www.postalheritage.org.uk/podcast.

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