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Artist’s bird’s eye map of Hampstead a best seller at bookshops

PUBLISHED: 14:32 20 February 2012

Hand drawn ink and watercolour bird's eye map of Hampstead by Jonathan Addis. Picture: Jonathan Addis

Hand drawn ink and watercolour bird's eye map of Hampstead by Jonathan Addis. Picture: Jonathan Addis

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An artist whose hand drawn map of Hampstead has been flying out of local book shops has spoken of his delight at seeing the prints snapped up.

Jonathan Addis had long eked out a living as an ink and watercolour artist working between Spain, Ireland and England.

But it is his unique bird’s eye maps, which are sold as prints and greeting cards, that have brought him recent success.

It was the natural beauty of Hampstead Heath that first inspired the artist’s unique take on Hampstead’s geography.

The 51-year-old, who was recently commissioned by then Prime Minister Gordon Brown to make a portrait of 10 Downing Street to print on a postcard, said: “The last bit of true countryside in London is Hampstead Heath.

“I feel that as a result of the fresh air and altitude, the people who live here are much happier than in other parts of the city and it is a wonderful place to spend a few hours.”

The cultural and intellectual traditions of Hampstead are reflected in his map, which features the Freud Museum in Maresfield Gardens and Keats House in Keats Grove as just two of its highlights.

They are complemented by quirky illustrations including frogs on Frognal Lane, dogs demanding “walkies” and a rotund cyclist idling by.

In a world of increasing globalisation, Mr Addis believes his maps go a small way to re-connecting people with the local community.

“Fundamentally, London is a lonely place,” he said.

“Creating maps gives me a sense of localism and I hope that buyers experience a feeling of belonging when they look at it too.”

The artist had carved out his niche drawing homes in wealthy areas before he started creating illustrated maps.

But it was when he was working on a commission for a country estate that he was inspired to take a wider perspective.

“I had an epiphany,” said Mr Addis. “As I was drawing I suddenly imagined floating above the scene where I could get a better sense of the property’s depth - it was a revelation.”

He has also created panoramic maps of London, Bloomsbury, Oxford and Cambridge.

The Hampstead map is on sale in West End Lane Books in West Hampstead, England’s Lane Books in Swiss Cottage, Highgate Books, and Waterstone’s, Hampstead, or to buy directly at www.jonathanaddis.com


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