Search for Lewes artist who depicted ration news notice

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Almost 70 years after the weekly food ration was introduced, a man is hoping to trace a Lewes artist who painted a still-life image depicting the announcement.

John Cushing is appealing for help to find the creator of the painting, which hangs in Goldstone Hall, Market Drayton, Shropshire.

Mr Cushing said: “We have a wonderful original still life – “Rations for two for one week 1946” – which depicts the weekly ration for two that was announced on April 24, 1946.

“The composition uses the day’s front page of the Daily Mail as a back cloth, which led with the Government’s changes. The headline says ‘Smaller loaf, less beer, wheat stocks cut’.

“The painter signed his name Elvin but also included his ration book within the picture and the name and address of JR Elvin, 40 The Avenue, Lewes, SX.

“The painting is an interesting piece of social history as it shows how the nation’s diet has changed with the essentials including tea, lard, a tub of margarine, a 1lb of sugar, some fatty bacon and a considerable beef joint.

“The Daily Mail is in broad sheet with a distinctive mast head advert for Gordon’s gin.

“I have no idea how the painting arrived here in Market Drayton but it hung for many years in the director’s office of my grandfather’s grocery shop, WH Cushing Stores, in the centre of Market Drayton.

“When the shop closed, it was consigned to an attic. I recently unearthed it and hung it in one of our hotel and restaurant’s reception rooms.

“It would be fascinating to find out more about the artist and of course, if there are any similar works of his about.

“There is mention of a JR Elvin in “The Barbican” which is the magazine of The Lewes County School for Boys 1968. It says Mr JR Elvin was in charge of Art during the Autumn term. I cannot find any other references to him but he was obviously an accomplished artist.”

If anybody has any information, contact Mr Cushing on 01630 661202.

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