A chance conversation with a passenger at Seaford ticket office led to the artist of a painting on the wall reliving the moment his artwork was displayed 26 years ago.

Sussex Downs Line Officer Paul Bromley was at the station talking to the ticket office staff when a woman waiting to ask for travel advice started taking photos of the large-scale painting of the Seven Sisters chalk cliffs which is displayed above the ticket window.

After striking up a conversation about how nice the painting was, the woman explained to Paul that it had been painted by her brother Henry when he was at boarding school in Seaford in the 1990s. She was taking photos to put on the family’s WhatsApp group because they couldn’t believe it was still there.

She said her brother was going to be in Seaford later that week and Paul said it would be great if Henry could come to the station to chat about his painting.

And so it was arranged for the artist to see his artwork on display once again.

Henry Robertson-Nicol was a 17-year-old pupil at Newlands Manor boarding school (now closed) studying A-level Art when there was an initiative for school pupils in the area to help brighten up railway stations. He chose to paint the Seven Sisters.

The painting includes his signature in the bottom right-hand corner. It looks like a squiggle but actually says “Henry”.

He said: “Painting at that scale is actually quite easy. I did it from a photo I took when I walked up onto the Downs. Looking at it now, my one regret is not getting the Coastguard Cottages in.”

His painting was chosen to adorn the station ticket office. He visited the station in the summer of 1997 to have his photo taken with the painting.

Other artworks from the initiative were also displayed at Seaford and other railway stations.

Looking up at his painting, Henry commented: “It feels a bit surreal that it has lasted that long. I felt there were better paintings by more accomplished people at the station but they are no longer there. The familiarity of it has endured the test of time.”

It may have been chosen to go on display at the station but it didn’t help Henry with his A-level.

“I’m afraid to say I got a D,” he confessed. “It looks grandiose but it was really simple.”

Henry, now 43 and a behavioural therapist living in Sevenoaks, Kent, was in Seaford to visit his parents in Dane Close. He last saw the painting about 10 years ago.

As we parted, he took one further gaze upward at the artwork.

“It’s become a bit of a family joke that whenever one of us passes, we come in and have a look,” remarked Henry as he left the station.

Photo: Now and then. Henry Robertson-Nicol in front of his painting at Seaford ticket office holding the photo of himself as a 17-year-old when the artwork was first installed.

Man in railway station ticket office holds up photo with painting on wall of chalk cliffs. Separate photo of man as 17-year-old up ladder when painting was first placed on wall