The BPMA is the custodian of two main collections: the archive of the Royal Mail and the BPMA Museum Collection. The vast influence the postal industry has had in shaping British society, and the world, is reflected throughout our collections. They include photographs, films, ephemera, weapons, uniforms, vehicles, trains and letterboxes – and artwork, including a number of works in oil.
The subject matter of our oil paintings includes portraits of people who had a significant impact on postal services, such as past Postmaster Generals or Secretaries of the Post Office, as well of those of unnamed postal workers.
Specific historical events are depicted, such as the bombing of Mount Pleasant Parcel depot in the Second World War, while others are more general scenes of times past, including extensive representations of the Mail Coach era.
Changing transport methods, from the seas to the skies, and road to rails, is also captured in these works.
Landmark buildings – such as the GPO Tower and the old GPO building in the City of London – sit next to depictions of local post offices and more domestic scenes; the excitement of receiving a letter is portrayed more than once.
Recently our collection of oil paintings was made available on the Your Paintings website, a partnership between the BBC and the Public Catalogue Foundation which aims to show the entire UK national collection of oil paintings. Paintings from thousands of museums and other public institutions appear on the site.
Visit the BPMA page on Your Paintings to see our collection of works in oil, or search the site to view postal-themed paintings from other institutions. We like Army Post Office 3, Boulogne by John Lavery from the Imperial War Museum, and Post Office, Port Sunlightby Keith Gardner from The Port Sunlight Museum. What’s your favourite?