Clifford and Rosemary Ellis

You can be sure of Shell

Chanter’s Folly and Dry Dock, Appledore

Lithographic poster for Shell Mex BP (1937)


Provenance: the family of the artist, by descent.

Condition: A/A- backed to linen.

Click here for biographical details and other works by the artist.

Shell produced a large series of posters in the 1920s and 30s to encourage motorists to use their products in that early and golden age of motoring. They often commission artists not known for their commercial art, so their posters very often featured large and dramatic views of the British countryside and landmarks, inspiring motorists to travel further afield. Here the Ellises have taken a well-known landmark and applied avant-garde artistic techniques so stylising the view, turning, e.g. the clouds into an array of angular v-shaped blocks. Thomas Burnard Chanter (1797-1874) was owner of a fleet of sailing vessels and erected a signal tower (‘Chanter’s Folly’) to give him advance notice of his vessels’ arrival. It was demolished in 1952. The dry dock – Richmond dry dock – was built in 1853 and designed to hold two ‘large’ ships. It exists today and is Grade II listed.

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