New Hope artist Lloyd Raymond Ney created this large four-panel painting in 1940 as a study for his mural proposed for the United States Post Office in New London, Ohio. When Ney submitted his preliminary sketch to the Treasury Department's Section of Painting and Sculpture in December 1939, he envisioned an abstract mural that would be a composite picture of the town's history, depicting many ideas of scenes in one setting similar to the photo montages shown in every moving picture house. His compositional challenge was to organize different scenes of the town's history in such a way as to allow each scene to flow into the neighboring space to produce a work with no single center of focus.
The Ohio town's colorful history began when British soldiers burned the city of New London, Connecticut, in 1776 and a federal land grant promoted the migration of settlers to New London, Ohio. The mural is filled with figures representing the burning of New London; the settlers' migration west in covered wagons; an eccentric who would visit New London yearly, shouting "How far is it to Belle Fontaine?"; the dome of the capitol symbolizing Ohio's contribution of two presidents to the United States; slaves escaping through New London; Civil War veterans; the town's first train; baseball players in gaudy uniforms; a farmer carrying apples to the schoolhouse to avoid students raiding his orchard; and the first hippopotamus seen in America.
New London Facets is one of the few abstract works commissioned for post offices by the Section of Painting and Sculpture of the United States Treasury Department. Although federal officials initially rejected Ney's sketch for the mural, they ultimately accepted it when the local community endorsed it as a brilliant depiction of how the town had triumphed over adversity. The original mural still hangs in the New London post office.