Saturday, 20 February 2010

Ronald Lampitt (1906-1988)

Most English illustrators of the Twentieth Century are better documented than Ronald Lampitt. Bear Alley blog has a brief biographical note to which there is nothing I can add. His earlier work included three posters designed for the Great Western Railway in 1936 in a striking tessellated mosaic style, please follow this link for an example. His most admired work appeared in 1948 when he illustrated a book for children entitled The Map That Came To Life. The narrative describes two pioneering junior psycho-geographers (Joanna and John) on a cross-country walk following a route on an Ordnance Survey map. The accompanying illustrations observed from an aerial perspective translate the cartographer’s graphics into richly detailed images in a style similar to Clark Hutton. The entire volume can be viewed at Visual Telling of Stories.

Much later in 1962, the same team produced a follow-up, The Open Road in which Joanna and John get to ride the length and breadth of the national road network in Uncle George’s car and in the process acquire an encyclopaedic understanding of road signs, traffic engineering and responsible driving practice. A new world of motels, motorways and multi-storey car parks has arrived in the intervening fourteen years and Lampitt’s images faithfully reflect the new sterility of reinforced concrete alongside the traditional English pastoral. Lampitt was quoted in John Bull magazine attributing his fascination with aerial views to his war service in RAF Intelligence where he was employed making drawings from aerial photographs of bombing targets. Some of his cover designs for John Bull will feature in a future posting.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A musical tribute to Ronald Lampitt