Born in Bognor in Sussex and trained at St Martin’s School of Art and Regent Street Polytechnic, Ellis was a graphic artist and illustrator who is best known for the posters he produced for London Transport during the 1930s. He generally collaborated with his wife Rosemary – whom he married in 1931 – on their posters. The General Post Office, Shell, and The Empire Marketing Board were also clients for their posters. They signed their posters C&RE, their initials being in alphabetical order and they are readily recognisable by their ebullient use of colour and form.
Employed during the war as a camoufleur, along with so many other artists, Clifford was also an official war artist, serving with the Grenadier Guards. Rosemary, meanwhile, was an artist for the Recording Britain project.
Following the war they trained art teachers at Bath Academy of Art. They also designed a series of nearly one hundred book jackets for Collins New Naturalist series, published between 1945 and 1982.
The Ice Age series of works are sketches for designs. Number III was sold to Derbyshire School Library Service; the final very large oil painting – entitled Advance of an Ice Age – may be seen on the Art UK website by clicking here.