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Poster - Pheidippides 490 B.C.
  • Pheidippides 490 B.C.
    Armstrong, John, born 1893 - died 1973
  • Enlarge image

Pheidippides 490 B.C.

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    United Kingdom (made)

  • Date:

    1936 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Armstrong, John, born 1893 - died 1973 (artist)
    General Post Office (issued by)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    colour lithograph

  • Credit Line:

    Gift of the American Friends of the V&A; Gift to the American Friends by Leslie, Judith and Gabri Schreyer and Alice Schreyer Batko

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C, case Y, shelf 67, box E

Pheidippides was a mythological Athenian courier who ran 150 miles to Sparta and back, seeking aid when the Persians launched an attack on Marathon. This poster forms part of a series commissioned by the GPO (General Post Office) to capture in images the story of message delivery throughout history. Others in the series are a king's messenger in 1482, a mail coach from 1784, and a modern Royal Mail postman on a motorcycle in 1935.

Physical description

Landscape-format image of a two-handled Greek urn rendered in grey, black and sepia (reddish-brown). Images of Pheidippides running away from Persian warriors wielding shields and spears, running towards three (Spartan) female figures standing before temple-like structures.

Place of Origin

United Kingdom (made)


1936 (made)


Armstrong, John, born 1893 - died 1973 (artist)
General Post Office (issued by)

Materials and Techniques

colour lithograph

Marks and inscriptions

Pheidippides . 490 B.C.

artist's monogram, lower right corner

[GPO logo] (PRD 56)
lower margin, right


Height: 50.7 cm, Width: 63.3 cm

Descriptive line

GPO poster by JA (monogram for John Armstrong). UK. ca. 1935.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Poster Progress. Tom Purvis (introduction). F.A. Mercer & W. Gaunt (editors). London: Blackmore Press/ The Studio, Ltd. 1939.


Paper; Ink


Colour lithography


Prints; Advertising; Posters


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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