Sir Stephen Tallents, Public Relations Officer of the Royal Post Office in the 1930’s, commissioned several artists to create sets of educational posters to be used in schools for the purposes of raising the profile of the Post Office. Themes included ‘Outposts of the Britain’; ‘Outposts of the Empire’ and promotion of the General Post Office workforce, and were explored by, respectively, Edward McKnight Kauffer; John Vickery and Duncan Grant.
Armstrong was invited to work on a series depicting the history of communications. As his interests stretched through historical time the first in his series depicts Pheidippides – the herald who ran from the Battle of Marathon to Athens to proclaim victory over Persia in 490 BC; the second is entitled ‘King’s Messenger AD 1482’; the third ‘Mail Coach AD 1784’, and the forth, which we publish here, ‘Royal Mail’ as delivered in 1935. With its flat background and semi-abstract forms so consistent with 1930’s art tendencies of the time, this is an exceptionally strong rendering of mid 1930’s iconography.