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Classic Red British Post-box In London


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This collage style London artwork captures the functional beauty of the classic red British Post-Box. While the classic red telephone box is fading from the landscape, you still find red pillar boxes in some abundance on the street of cities and villages around the UK. Sadly, time marches on and the British Post-Box is expected to decline in number as more and more mail is of the electronic variety.

I was very much inspired by the history of the mail when I began this British post-box artwork. The history of the modern public mail service in the UK and beyond goes back to royal messengers delivering letters for the kings. “Post” houses were built for the messengers to change horses, and well the rest is history as to how the word came to its modern postal meaning.

The background to this work contains a number of vintage letters and stamps along with the unmistakable shapes of Big Ben and the dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral. Although the British post Box is ubiquitous in the UK, I very much wanted this artwork to represent London specifically.

In the long history of the Royal Mail, the British Post Box or Pillar Box is by contrast modern. Although to most of us alive today, that might not seem so. The first letterboxes were erected and formalized during the reign of Queen Victoria. And the classic design has been so consistent over the years that you have to look at the letters on the box to get an idea of the age of the post-box. This one for instance, has ER with the roman numeral II. This indicates it was put in service during the reign of Elizabeth II. Relatively few survive from Victorian times, but there are still British Post-boxes in service for each monarch from Victoria to today. Quite a history for such a simple mailbox, eh?

I love the style of these beautiful old post-boxes. They come from an era when even very utilitarian objects were built with a style often missing today. And they were built in such abundance that they came to represent a national identity. Even a their time may be winding down, it’s hard to imagine Britain without the British Post-box isn’t it?

Does this print remind you of visits to London? Or perhaps you have family who worked delivering the mail? I hope you’ll pause to jot down your thoughts about this artwork and what attracted you to it!


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