Railway Art Update – BLOG 30th May 2012

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BLOG 30th May 2012
Sincere apologies for the ridiculously long delay since my last contribution. My countless hordes of faithful followers have been asking what has happened to me. Both of them asked if I was well. Actually, I was very touched by the lady who phoned me and asked if I had suffered a relapse of M.E. as there had been no entry for some time. She was genuinely concerned as her daughter had M.E. and she was aware of the effects.There are still many kind and thoughtful people out there and I felt very convicted by my lack of diligence in updating the blog. Although the M.E. can still be difficult, I am 75% on the go nowadays, bounce back much quicker and vam ery grateful to God for the continued improvement over many years. Well, suffice to say that I am now aiming to do at least a weekly BLOG – it is certainly not the lack of happenings in the world of railway and commercial art that stop me!

A bit of advance information on original poster art…  I was recently very fortunate in acquiring five of the original paintings by Royal Academicians for L.M.S. (London, Midland & Scottish Railway) railway posters from the 1920s. These were the initial paintings submitted to the LMS by the artists before the full size oils on canvas were produced. Artists include Norman Wilkinson, Julius Olsson, John Alfred Arnesby Brown, Leonard Campbell Taylor etc. Some of these were from the historic early commissionings in 1924, which revolutionised the design of poster art on the railways and brought fine art into the public domain for the decades to come. All these small paintings are very true to the final oil artworks, including the classic Gleneagles Kings Course golf artwork by Wilkinson which recently sold for well over £45,000.  Most are in gouache or watercolour. By great coincidence (or Divine incidence as I prefer to call it), these appeared within a couple of weeks of each other in completely separate places! Other artwork likely to appear on my site in the future are original poster artworks by V. L. Danvers and Kenneth Shoesmith for the Southern Railway of Bexhill and Ramsgate.

During the long time since my last entry, I have spent a bit of time with a great supporter of carriage print art – the TV presenter, Nick Crane. Nick is related to the only female artist to produce work for carriage prints, Freda Marston, and the family are keen to collect work from this excellent landscape artist. I expect many of you will know his programmes on TV with Coast, Country File, Town and the programmes on British travel writers. He is as enthusiastic as he appears to be on the ‘box’. It is our hope to be able to feature Freda Marston and carriage prints on one of Nick’s programmes at a later date.

Been too busy to get out much to photograph carriage print locations recently, but managed the three Isle of Wight scenes in February. It certainly doesn’t get any easier- St Catherine’s Lighthouse took two attempts and took hours of navigating through brambles, bleeding legs and tracks leading to dead ends over the downs to get the exact spot! I was pretty close to giving up, when the sun broke out and I made a final attempt to reach the view. Ah – it is a great feeling knowing that I don’t need to go again to attempt it!

Thanks for all the kind comments regarding the expanded website www.travellingartgallery.com which has been very busy this year. Do have a look at the images of the new photograph panels – over 1,500 lost images of Britain and a unique image library.

There has been a glut of post-war carriage prints in auction recently which has brought some of the prices down to the lowest level for some time. Some are from collections, including the late John Hardman, a good and genuine friend. Now is probably a good time to collect the prints, before the supply of original items invariably begins to dry up and prices rise again.

A complete expansion and re-vamp of my book Landscapes under the Luggage Rack is on the way, with a publication target of summer 2013. 

Wishing all readers my warmest regards and looking forward to presenting regular contributions from now on!

Greg Norden  

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