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Creator of treasured Worthing artwork discovered

Released: Thursday, 22 August 2019

Relatives of a prestigious 20th century graphic designer were invited for afternoon tea with the Mayor after helping unravel a piece of Town Hall history.

Hanging on the wooden walls of the Mayor's Parlour for decades, the town's original map has been a real talking point for visitors from around the world. However the origins of the art was unknown until recently.

Following some digging by the Mayor's office, the creator of the artwork was soon discovered to be the highly regarded MacDonald 'Max' Gill.

To mark the discovery, relatives of the famous artist including his nephew Andrew Johnston and great niece Caroline Walker attended a special celebration within the parlour to admire the work and talk about his achievements.

The Councils' Chief Executive, Alex Bailey, joined the Mayor's guests, curious on discovering the background of the room's centrepiece.

Mayor of Worthing, Cllr Hazel Thorpe, said:

“Celebrating the creative talents of the borough is one of my priorities for my year in office so it was lovely to have an insight into this piece of art that has never properly been taken for granted.”

“It was really fabulous to meet the relatives of Max Gill and realise how many links there are to this piece of history in our town hall.”

Gill was born in Brighton in 1884 and continued to live in the south east throughout his life, with homes in Bognor and Chichester.

It is these local links which led to him being commissioned to create the striking map after the town hall was built in the 1930s.

Famous for his decorative maps - such as that of the Wonderground Map of London, a colourful picture map invented to entertain passengers on the capital's gloomy station platforms - Gill quickly became a household name in his field.

Today, he continues to be recognised as one of the UK's pioneer graphic designers in the field of cartography. He was also a prolific designer of posters.

Over afternoon tea, the group shared how lovely it was to see Gill's work looking as good as new, as well as viewing other pieces of work from his portfolio.

“It's been a pleasure to be invited to the Mayor's Parlour and see Max's work in person” said Andrew.

Photo: Worthing's original map has been a real talking point for visitors from around the world

PR19-123 - Worthing's original map has been a real talking point for visitors from around the world

PR19-123 - Worthing's original map

Photo: Relatives of the prestigious designer were invited for afternoon tea with the Mayor

PR19-123 - Relatives of the prestigious designer were invited for afternoon tea with the Mayor

Photo: (left to right) Angela Johnston, Andrew Johnston, Mayor of Worthing Cllr Hazel Thorpe, and Caroline Walker

PR19-123 - (L-R) Angela Johnston, Andrew Johnston, Mayor of Worthing, Cllr Hazel Thorpe, and Caroline Walker

Photo: Alex Bailey, Adur & Worthing Councils' Chief Executive, with Andrew Johnston

PR19-123 - Alex Bailey, Adur & Worthing Councils' Chief Executive, with Andrew Johnston

(PR19-123)

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