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“In the Heat of the Summer you will find me cool…”

  • Author: GILL, (Leslie) MacDonald (artist)
  • Publisher: Underground Electrical Railways Co of London Ltd (publishers) - Waterlow & Sons, Lith. London Dunstable & Watford (printers)
  • Date: 1922
  • Dimensions: 136 x 108.6 cms


MacDonald Gill striking London Underground Map poster, “In the Heat of the Summer”, 1922

About this piece:

“In the Heat of the Summer you will find me cool…”

[London Underground Advertising Poster].

Bright printed lithographic colours. Printed on heavy white paper. Entirely backed with conservation quality linen. Lines of old vertical and horizontal folds still visible with some signs of old wear and with some very occasional localised retouching along the lines of these folds. Overall a clean, crisp and well preserved example.

One of the more uncommon of MacDonald Gill’s large London Underground posters, originally designed and published for the London Electric Railways Company (London Underground) in 1922.

The poster is quad royal size and the design is especially striking. Set against a black background is a central pictorial map, similar in decorative style and comic content to the original Wonderground map of 1914, which shows central London from Docklands & Whitechapel in the East to Barnes Bridge Shepherd’s Bush and Acton in the West and from the Oval and Fulham in the South to Maida Vale, St John’s Wood, King’s Cross and Angel Islington in the North. A large sailing vessel, the Jolly Roger, sails up the Thames towards Tower Bridge, its passengers including two members of the Gill family, one of them (labelled “RG”) perhaps Gill’s younger brother Romily, the other (labelled “ME G”) a hooded female figure, wearing spectacles, perhaps Gill’s own wife, Muriel.

As in the earlier Wonderground Map, Gill again reveals himself in an amusing self-portrait hidden within the vignette details of  map, in this instance grasping the tail of a hare within the confines of the Inner Temple in Central London. An arrow pinpoints his presence with the accompanying note: “Still one hare caught in the Temple”, a reference to his Office & studio address at No 1 Hare Court, Inner Temple.

A text banner runs above and below the map and reads as follows :

In the heat of the summer we will find me cool, in the cool of the winter will find me warm, come down underground you’ve bought you your ticket ? Your health man I’m thinking no longer twill stick it. For cheapness, celerity what else can compare. You are fed up above, feed below on our fare”

The coats of Arms of the eight principal Boroughs together with that of the Underground are shown across the top of the poster. The coat of arms of the Underground depicts a “rabbit rampant” standing on its hind legs – one of Gill’s in-jokes, referencing back to his 1914 Wonderground poster & map, on which the rabbit is identified as “the oldest inhabitant of the Underground” !

A note in the lower left corner indicates that copies of the map are available for 5/- from the Traffic Advertising Agent, Electric Railway House, Broadway House, Westminster, SW1. Embellished by the figure of an exhausted walker, dripping beads of sweat, a further note in the lower right corner inquires : Will the tired traveller wearisomely realize that this map of London Town is meticulously accurate (with exceptions) that it has punctiliously delineated to the scale of six inches to the mile and that its merry quips are well meant even when unintelligible.

In all a good, clean, crisply printed example of this scarce & striking pictorial map poster.

Refs: LTM Collection: Poster 1983/4/1425; V&A Collections: E.631-1923 & CIRC.431-1971