30th March 1866

Subversive designer Edmund Blampied is born

Edmund Blampied was an accomplished artist working in several different media. He was born in St Martin and died, aged 80, in 1966. Although he left Jersey to be trained in London, then spent time in Paris and the Middle East, he returned to Jersey before the Second World War and remained on the island throughout the occupation. There, his talent as a designer gave him the opportunity to produce a piece of subversive artwork that passed through the hands of almost everyone on the island: Jersey-born and German alike.

As soon as the German forces moved in, supplies from the mainland were cut off. Stamps soon ran out and local banknotes started to wear out a couple of years later. The German authorities commissioned new notes for five denominations between six pence and £1, with Blampied assigned the 6d (six pence) note.

A hidden message

His design incorporated the word ‘SIX’, with an oversized X, so that when folded vertically into quarters, it formed a V on either side of the note. This was a nod to the resistance, some of whom were spraying V, for ‘Victory’ on walls around the island.

As well as designing currency, Blampied’s long career saw his work adorn more than 200 books and 600 magazines and newspapers. His paintings are found in collections as far flung as Cambridge and California, Amsterdam and Australia.


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