ARTICLES IN RAILWAY ANTIQUES GAZETTE (RAG) (2006-7)
RAG ARTICLE - NOVEMBER 2007
East Devonby Hubbard turns out to be Otterton, identified by its singular church tower. Red Devon is Ladram Bay in the parish of Otterton. Adrian Allinson, the artist behind this, and a poster artist for the SR, GWR and BR, has 'copied' the composition of his painting almost exactly from a previous SR sepia panel - even down to the figures in the foreground! I wonder how many other photograph carriage panels were used in a similar way? Cornish Vale, the last of the four west country views by the SR, painted by Allinson still needs identifying, so readers please help if you can. Yorkshire Dales by Rowland Hilder turns out to be of Burnsall in Wharfedale. Norfolk Broads by Frank Mason is almost certainly an amalgamation of different Broads scenes to give an overall impression rather than a specific location. The mill looks either like Horsey or Herringfleet and was also featured in Mason's similar double royal poster of the Broads.
John Worsdale, a member of the Wapping Group of Artists (first president Jack Merriott), kindly wrote and told me of another case of carriage print 'copying'. Frederick Donald Blake, another Wapping member, told John that he had spent five days at Fort William for sketching and painting Ben Nevis from Corpach. The clouds were so low during all five days that he never saw the mountain at all! He ended up buying a postcard of the subject and painting the view with the station in the foreground when he got home. Coincidentally, I have his initial 'rough' artwork here, and there is no station in the foreground so he has amalgamated the two images. P.S. To find out more about Wapping Members go to www.thewappinggroupofartists.co.uk or type in 'Viagra' on Google.
One other interesting set of 'coincidences' noted recently which confirms a suspicion I've had for some time is the part played by local councils in the choice of early pre-war carriage print views. It was certainly quite common before the war for local authorities to dictate in large measure what they wanted their railway poster views to depict, and a council representative would often meet the artist and take them to the viewpoint they had planned - an artistic subject the artists were not always too happy about! In this era, councils and railways would often work together on holiday guides, so some joint venture was often understandable. Recently, on my travels, I have been to Peterborough to photograph the locations as they are now. Both the Henry Rushbury and Cyril Barraud views turned out to be from the riverside council buildings, and we were kindly given permission for access and let in through the offices on to their disused wharf behind the building to take the photos. The offices are planned for demolition in a year or two. Next stop was Fred Taylor's view from the south east of the cathedral. This, again, turned out to be from about the 2nd floor of a completely different set of council and passport offices. Taylor has completely ommitted the buildings in the forefront (built at the same time as the cathedral, so can't blame post-1937 new structures!) to help his composition. A couple of weeks later we were at Harrogate to photo Rushbury's Royal Baths, Harrogate. The exact vantage point is about the 2nd floor up in the council offices facing the baths. I didn't have time to seek permission for photography on this one. After the war the railways seemed to have a completely free hand in which views they wanted.
Feedback on the ability to see all the images of carriage
prints and details of artists on the new website www.travellingartgallery.com has been
excellent, so many thanks for your comments to me at recent auction stalls we have had.
Following collector's requests, I have just added a selection of original prints
for sale and more information on artists and the locations. Incidentally, the
large flood of quantities of loose prints for sale in auction houses in the past
two or three years has obviously had some effect on the carriage print market
for a few of the series. Data on auction results show that this
was well before my new website venture - a clear fact that the one or
two wind-up merchants around don't like to acknowledge. Railway art is a great
opportunity to introduce more 'outsiders' into the railwayana market, especially though
the access of the internet, and I for one will be glad if this happens more
and more in the coming years.
RAG ARTICLE - 2006
One of the most enjoyable aspects of researching the book Landscapes has been the contact with many of the artists relatives over the years. It is surprising how many of these have found a renewed interest in their parents or uncles paintings after having shown little interest during the artists career and several now buy their work when it comes up in auction. The extra information gleaned from their knowledge has been invaluable in my researches and I now have basic details on all of the artists.
The other more obvious error is
the carriage print River Allen near Bardon Mill,
Co Durham which is located well into Northumberland! I assumed that the location was
at the bottom of the National Trust property at
Allen Banks. Whilst similar to the print, the curve of the river was wrong and, after
walking all along the river bank, I was on the point of giving up - putting the difference
down to my experience of Leonard Squirrells artistic licence! My colleague for the
day, Robert Forsythe, suggested going further upstream to Plankeys Mill and, sure
enough, after a drive of a few miles, the view was exactly right. Squirrell was painting
the location from the middle of the old swing bridge over the river which now lay derelict
with out of bounds and warning signs about its safety. I thought Id
never get another chance to take a photo from the correct viewpoint, so warily started to
traverse it (I know, I know
!). If a Squirrell can traverse it then perhaps I can,
ahem. After carefully stepping over the missing gaps in the flooring, I quickly found out
why they called them swing bridges and photography wasnt easy! By the way, on the
subject of safety, dont tell me that railway enthusiasm is a safe hobby. When I was
14, I impaled myself on an iron railing whilst trainspotting at Elm Road level crossing,
New Malden when I fell several feet off some breeze blocks onto some spikes below, one of
which missed my lung by a centimetre and sent me to hospital. I dislocated a couple of
fingers whilst going round Cricklewood depot a couple of years later (right
next to the foremans office!). I later ruined my cruciate ligaments playing football
for the railways against West Ham reserves. Kick-boxing is a pastime for fairies compared
to being a railway enthusiast as far as I am concerned. It was ironic that after the
Cricklewood episode, a policeman came to see me one evening at home to read me the riot
act, but ended up encouraging me to apply to join the railways, which I duly did. Funny
how things work out. Anyway, I digress; Plankeys Mill is a beautiful place to visit
as the print shows, but do watch your step.
The other more obvious error is the carriage print River Allen near Bardon Mill, Co Durham which is located well into Northumberland! I assumed that the location was at the bottom of the National Trust property at Allen Banks. Whilst similar to the print, the curve of the river was wrong and, after walking all along the river bank, I was on the point of giving up - putting the difference down to my experience of Leonard Squirrells artistic licence! My colleague for the day, Robert Forsythe, suggested going further upstream to Plankeys Mill and, sure enough, after a drive of a few miles, the view was exactly right. Squirrell was painting the location from the middle of the old swing bridge over the river which now lay derelict with out of bounds and warning signs about its safety. I thought Id never get another chance to take a photo from the correct viewpoint, so warily started to traverse it (I know, I know !). If a Squirrell can traverse it then perhaps I can, ahem. After carefully stepping over the missing gaps in the flooring, I quickly found out why they called them swing bridges and photography wasnt easy! By the way, on the subject of safety, dont tell me that railway enthusiasm is a safe hobby. When I was 14, I impaled myself on an iron railing whilst trainspotting at Elm Road level crossing, New Malden when I fell several feet off some breeze blocks onto some spikes below, one of which missed my lung by a centimetre and sent me to hospital. I dislocated a couple of fingers whilst going round Cricklewood depot a couple of years later (right next to the foremans office!). I later ruined my cruciate ligaments playing football for the railways against West Ham reserves. Kick-boxing is a pastime for fairies compared to being a railway enthusiast as far as I am concerned. It was ironic that after the Cricklewood episode, a policeman came to see me one evening at home to read me the riot act, but ended up encouraging me to apply to join the railways, which I duly did. Funny how things work out. Anyway, I digress; Plankeys Mill is a beautiful place to visit as the print shows, but do watch your step.
SEPTEMBER ISSUE 122
LOST FILE COPY UNLOCKS REMAINING LNER CARRIAGE PRINT SECRETS
Despite the many years of
observance and research that lay behind my last index of artists carriage prints in
the 2nd edition of the book Landscapes under the Luggage Rack, I knew I was still
just tantalisingly short of completing a few of the series lists. One of the most
difficult to finalise was the huge LNER series, due to the long time span of commissioned
work (1936-57 approx.), and also the vast total involved (200+). The only
official published list I had ever seen was a depots order form, and
this only covered post-war prints, and very selective ones at that, depending on
stocks held. I was confident I had a full listing of all the post-war prints and
was also pretty certain that a few more pre-war prints would turn up, based on the
totals I had already seen produced by Rowland Hilder and Fred Taylor etc. In the book I
had listed all these prints as one continuous series.
Many years ago a retired collector had told me that he thought he had an old file copy from Liverpool Street H.Q. in his possession, buried amidst mountains of other books and relics purchased from the railways around 40 years ago. It goes without saying that I had phoned him regularly to see if it had surfaced, but to no avail! I had just about lost hope when I received a phone call recently and was told Ive finally had a clear out, checked the attic and found the file - do you want to come and look at it? Needless to say, I didnt wait too long to head south and, due to an unexpected hiccup, ended up with a mere 20 minutes to view the item, and so began hurriedly to flip though the file. Almost all the prints were in mint, unused condition, with the usual small holes in the left hand margin where the file held them together.
I had seen several H.Q. file
copies over the years but all had only contained post-war prints. The particular
specimen in my hand only contained LNER and Scottish Region series prints
but, on flipping through, the first print that opened before me was Framlingham Castle,
Suffolk by Harry Tittensor R.I. - a pre-war print, never seen or listed before!
Next in my random delve appeared Boston by Cyril Barraud, a superb mounted etching
and a confirmation to a question I had had for some time. I had listed this print with a
question mark (?) in the 2nd edition of Landscapes because, years ago, when going
through a large collection, I had noticed several brown packets which had once contained
wads of prints from the original printers (i.e. Thos. Foreman of Nottingham etc.). One
wrapper had the words Boston - Barraud just visible in pencil, so I was pretty
certain it existed, but had never seen it.
By now I confess I was starting to drool over the new images! My next random and somewhat nervous flick, however, produced Blythburgh by Denham and Westcliff-on-Sea by King - never mind, you cant win them all! I then came across Fountains Abbey, Yorkshire by Henry Rushbury R.A. - another print I had never seen before or listed. Two other unknowns appeared as I continued thumbing feverishly; Pottergate, Lincoln by Tittensor and Clare and Kings Colleges, Cambridge by Rushbury. Although various prints were missing from the file (someone seemed to have coveted some of the Essex, Suffolk and Hertfordshire prints!), these were in the main, and somewhat fortunately, post-war examples.
One of the huge benefits of the
file lay in the fact that the prints had largely been added to as they were issued. This
meant that most of the original 16 mounted etching prints by Barraud and Frank
Mason were at the bottom of the pile (issued in 1936), interspersed with others from the
eight mounted etchings by Barraud and William Lee-Hankey [I have re-titled these as the 2nd
Etching Series, as the wording From Original Etching by... again appears
on the mounts]. This meant that they had been issued at pretty much the same time as the
On top of these mounted examples lay most of the pre-war prints, including the four new ones as mentioned previously (see rear cover, issue 121). It was interesting to see that several of this series were in mounted format, too, and I have now seen a handful of these prints produced in both unmounted and mounted format. Things were now becoming clearer - I had previously lumped all the pre-war and post-war prints together, as originally I had no idea what was produced and any dates, when I initially listed them over 12 years ago. The only inkling of age being the type of paper used (whiter paper came later) and colour of titles (BR used different coloured titles as well as grey for the later prints). The file copy confirmed that these prints were really issued in two separate stages, and needed listing accordingly.
With the above in mind, I compiled a separate pre-war list including the new-found prints and things fell further into place - four images each by Byatt and Haslehust, and eight each by Hilder, Rushbury and Tittensor. Unfortunately, Fred Taylor only has seven examples listed. Having made further researches, Im 99% certain that this is all he ever produced (did he have an off day with one painting with the commissioner?!) but railwayana often seems to defy the laws of logic. If anyone has seen an eighth, please let me know!
Like the mounted prints, pre-war series prints are much rarer than the post-war ones. This is born out by the scarcity of them through auctions over the years - of the 39 different titles, only a combined total of 66 prints have sold in auction in the past 13 years - three of the prints accounting for a third of this total, and nine have not appeared at all yet! Quite a few of those sold were in used and faded or stained condition, too.
The above rearrangement leaves a total of 174 prints left in the post-war series (including four later ones by Rushbury, which confirmed my original dates for these listed in my book). The bulk of these were issued around 1947 and B.R.(E) continued producing new views until the later 1950s. Several prints have dates on the artwork (i.e. Westcliff - 1953; Hutton Le Hole, Lastingham, Welwyn Garden City, River Ouse Naburn, Archbishops Palace - 1954). The incomplete file copy I was studying reflected this pattern and, not surprisingly, the last prints to appear (stuffed loosely at the top later) were Maldon and Blythburgh by Denham, probably issued some time around or after 1957. Other later prints issued around 1953 included London Horse Guards and Tower Bridge by Baker, and Leigh on Sea, Harwich and Pinmill by King.
Another detail on the post war series worth mentioning here, and noticed a few years ago, well before the file copy appeared, is the discovery of two different Firth of Clydes by Frank H Mason. I originally catalogued one, featuring two yachts and issued about 1947, and then another view appeared on the market, obviously issued at a later date, probably in BR days. This has the same title, yet features a different scene in the similar Mason style, with yachts and ferry steamer and lighthouse in the background. Many examples of this particular print have appeared over recent years, courtesy of a happy York dealer and both examples have been verified in use from 1950s interior rolling stock photos.
The above details may appear a little technical to the casual collector of carriage prints and, no doubt, will have left some completely baffled! Logic doesnt always lead to fact and researching railwayana with little official documentation is not an easy task without the benefit of hindsight, often leading to annoying cul-de-sacs. However, I was very encouraged at just how complete my list had been before finding the file copy, and a complete LNER listing is something to celebrate - at long last we know exactly what there is to collect! Needless to say, I managed to purchase those prints missing from my collection for a pretty substantial sum, and it is possible that others will come up in auction at a later date.
Revised listings of all the LNER prints are [available on the website www.carriageprints.com]
In the November RCJ I shall turn my attention to other recent discoveries, including the little known and extremely rare Southern Railway Original series by Donald Maxwell.
NOVEMBER ISSUE 123
MORE ORIGINAL SOUTHERN RAILWAY SERIES CARRIAGE PRINTS UNEARTHED
Following the recent discovery of the remainder of the LNER prints, as featured in last months RCJ, it would be timely to take a look at the Southern Railway Original series prints by the artist, Donald Maxwell. These mounted prints were issued by the Southern just before the LNER Original Etching series appeared in 1936. Whilst Cecil Dandridge at the LNER was commissioning several artists for his mounted prints, Cuthbert Grasemann, the public relations and advertising officer at the Southern Railway, became aware of a series of prints of South East England by Donald Maxwell, entitled County Prints, which were issued and sold to the public shortly after Donald moved to Farleigh in Kent. He had studied at the Slade School of Art and was Official Artist to the Admiralty during World War I, and was well known for his book illustrations. He had also produced posters for several railway companies, including the Southern.
Maxwells simple and visually pleasing images mainly included landscapes within the Southerns domain and were considered by the public relations department to be very suitable for use in carriages. The SR bought a quantity of loose prints from the printers Alabaster, Passmore of Tovil, near Maidstone, to use in their panels, which they individually cut, hand mounted and displayed (often with revised titles) in early 1936. They only chose some of the relevant County Print series (some of the 54 views also featured York, Essex, Lincoln and Northampton) and made up the rest from other Maxwell images produced from other series. There appears to be more than one print run of some of the views (some have his signature outside the image area, others outside etc.) Most of the SR panels I have seen do not have reference numbers (i.e. MS26) on them (see page 30 of Landscapes under the Luggage Rack for an example), although some do. It would therefore be unwise to attribute too much relevance to these numbers at present.
In 1936 they appeared framed in carriages and were also displayed under glass in the Isle of Wight ferries. As far as I know, the prints were produced both in singles and pairs and the sizes seemed to vary in width, depending on frames available. Many of the pairs were mounted in 25½ x 9 format to fit the Southern wider frames and singles were often 14¼ x 9, but sometimes the card mounts were left wider (between 17-18) to utilise former L&SWR frames. In view of the manual work involved in mounting them, I suspect that there was a limited production run of the series.
One thing is certain - prints from the Southern Railway Original series are extremely scarce and sought-after Whilst very different from the LNER fine-art style, they are aesthetically pleasing in their own right and were well suited to the Southern carriage decor as can be seen displayed in the beautifully preserved L&SWR, 3rd class coach at the N.R.M. York.
Sadly, Donald Maxwell died in 1936, aged 59, just as the Southern began displaying his pictures.
the 2nd edition of
Since the 2nd edition ofLandscapes I have researched and viewed other Southern carriage print collections and [the website gives a fully revised list of all the Maxwell prints I have catalogued so far]. My own feeling is that the list is now very comprehensive but possibly not complete.
Next month I will have a final focus on carriage print listings with a quick look at several B.R. series.
JANUARY ISSUE 124
CARRIAGE PRINT LISTINGS CONTINUED
B.R. (L.M.R.) C & D SERIES
Following my articles on the
LNER and SR carriage print series in recent RCJs, I now turn my scrutiny to two
British Rail series from the London Midland Region. The 2nd edition of Landscapes under
the Luggage Rack showed a revised (and final) listing of LMR (C) and (D)
series prints, which differed from the 1st edition. Some explanation for the thinking
behind this has been requested by some collectors and may prove interesting (or completely
boring) to other aficionados.
Bearing in mind the fact I have never had any detailed list of prints produced by the railways, all my compilations have been purely from observances and this blank starting point has sometimes led me up some misleading paths. Anyway, enough of justifying my errors, lets move on! I originally had Lledr Valley (assumed John Greene as the artist as it wasn't signed) and Penrhyn Castle (Reginald Lander) in the (D) series which gave a very logical (1) three boat prints by Buckle, (2) three valley prints by Greene, and (3) three North Wales prints by Lander. Of course, logical thinking is always a dangerous principal to assume from the railways and I was never totally satisfied with the listing. For example, I was always dubious about the Lledr Valley print, having seen the original artwork, which looked very Landerish to me. When I bought a set of 10 prints in their original official L.M.R. folder in a local auction last year, it came as no surprise to see the two aforementioned prints in with the eight prints I had listed from the (C) series, thus validating my suspicions. As these two prints were only issued in the large 25x10 format, compared to the (D) series prints which were printed in both sizes, things fell into place and 'logic' flew out the window! The Lledr Valley print is therefore definitely by Reg Lander and I amended the listings accordingly.
B.R. (SOUTHERN REGION) C SERIES
The dangers of logic are also apparent in the Southern Region (C) series - also amended in the 2nd edition of Landscapes. You would expect three simple paintings of coastal locations in the same style to have been produced by the same artist (Langhammer) but - er - not so. On examination of the prints, I noticed that Dorset Coast, in its untrimmed (25x10) format, did not carry the Langhammer signature, as the Hampshire and Atlantic Coast prints did. Unusual, but not massively so, since many poster artists never signed all their work anyway. Just after this observation my attention was drawn to a railway poster at Kidlington of exactly the same composition, figures and style by a certain Mr Brenet, which confirmed that another amendment was necessary and which are listed on my website. I can be contacted via the website or by telephone on 01604-830031 if you have any further information that might be helpful regarding the above.Copyright Greg Norden 2003