Railway Art Update – BLOG 30th May 2012

A497_golfing_wilkinson_close

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  

Railway Art Update – BLOG 30th May 2012

A497_golfing_wilkinson_close

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. There are still many kind and thoughtful people out there and I felt very convicted by my lack of diligence. Although the M.E. can still be difficult, I am 75% on the go nowadays and very grateful to God for the 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 doesn’t get any easier- St Catherine’s Lighthouse took two attempts and took hours of navigating through brambles and 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!

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  

Carriage Print Location Update

Carriage Print Update – BLOG 9th March 2011
Thanks for all the kind enquiries about my physical condition. Leg still improving slowly and attempts at playing table tennis again going well! My business address has now changed and details are on the www.travellingartgallery.com website.

I intend writing a series of articles with my friend Richard Furness, on the commercial artists responsible for producing much of the fine poster and carriage print artwork in the 20th century. As you will no doubt be aware, Richard is currently producing a superb series of books on railway posters, Poster to Poster, and has recently published his third volume on the Midlands and North Wales – see http://www.railway-posters.com/ I hope to incorporate these articles on commercial art in this blog.

I’m gradually getting to the bottom of some of the exact locations of the carriage prints. Most are obvious from the titles, but some are more obscure. Atlantic Coast by Langhammer and North Cornwall by Adrian Allinson both feature rocky coastal bays. I was pretty certain Atlantic Coast was Bedruthan Steps with its granite stacks on the beach between Padstow and Newquay and verified this using Google images on the internet – a very useful resource in identifying landscapes through pictures of locations on websites. This late carriage print from the early/mid 1960s was a last gasp effort by the Southern Region in claiming the coast as their territory which, sadly and savagely, came to naught. Locating North Cornwall proved much more difficult. Despite looking at numerous images of the coast, I was still struggling to identify it. Out of the blue, a very helpful correspondent strongly suggested Porthcothan (or Porthcovan) Beach as he thought he recognised the cliffs in the print as the place where his mother’s ashes were scattered and a location where he stayed as a boy. The beach is in the middle right of the picture and extends a long way inland to the right. The rock stack on the golden burn beach is called ‘Arch Rock’ although not much exists of it now as the arch collapsed recently – not surprisingly the major problem in me identifying it from current photos compared to the print issued around 1947! The stack at the end of Porthcothan beach is called ‘Wills Rock’. The Headland in the background top left is Trevose Head. Porthcothan is just north of Bedruthan steps and only a few miles from Padstow, the westernmost terminus of the Southern Railway at the time.

East Devon by Allinson 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 .

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 omitted 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 with 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 and paintings for sale and more information on artists and the locations.

Kind regards to all readers,
Greg

7123456

BBC RADIO INTERVIEWS & MEDIA INTEREST IN NORMAN WILKINSON ARTWORK

BLOG 11 NOV 2010
The interview with BBC Radio Ulster (Radio 4) went well (apart from the discernible groan when I mentioned that Wilkinson’s painting of Plymouth Harbour, which hung in the 1st class smoking room of the Titanic, was only the tip of the iceberg in his prolific output of artwork, ahem. Other newspaper and radio interviews are on the cards. Commercial art is growing in interest. Hope to get to Pershore auction of railwayana this weekend. Have uploaded more artwork for sale on the website,too, see http://www.travellingartgallery.com/landscape/print/merchandise/artwork.html
PS Off crutches now after 18 weeks. There’s always a lot to be grateful for!

Kind regards to all,

Greg

BBC RADIO ULSTER Interview on NORMAN WILKINSON 3rd November 2010

I will be interviewed on BBC Radio Ulster, ARTS EXTRA Programme tonight around 6.30pm re the work of Sir Norman Wilkinson. It looks as if the 20th century commercial artists are starting to get the wider recognition they deserve. It is in connection with one of his posters for the LMS which is being sold in the annual Christies Poster Sale in London on Friday. See http://www.christies.com/LotFinder/searchresults.aspx?intSaleID=22899#action=…&intSaleID=22899&sid=a114722b-cc9c-4553-948d-f2b30dc4520a for details of sale.
PS Am now walking (rather, hobbling!) without crutches, thank God.
Kind regards to all readers, Greg

Norman Wilkinson Artwork Sold for Five Figure Sums on Travelling Art Gallery 1st November 2010

Commercial Art is growing in interest with the sale of 7 of Norman Wilkinson’s original artworks for classic LMS railway poster designs which ended last night raising an amazing five figure sum for the vendor. See http://www.travellingartgallery.com/landscape/print/merchandise/artwork/A071.html for full details of the paintings. Items sold were as follows
GLENEAGLES GOLF 
FISHING, IRELAND 
ANGLESEY
INVERNESS
CAIRNGORMS 
LOCH LOMOND 
RHUDDLAN CASTLE 
Many thanks to all who showed an interest and to the successful buyers.

 

BLOG 12 OCTOBER

NORMAN WILKINSON CLASSIC POSTER ART

Only just over 2 weeks to go before the opportunity to purchase one of Norman Wilkinson’s original artworks for classic poster designs ends. See http://www.travellingartgallery.com/landscape/print/merchandise/artwork/A071.html for full details of the sale. The paintings have generated some media interest in newspapers and a BBC Radio Berkshire slot where I was interviewed about the artist and railway posters. Wilkinson lived in this area at one time.

 

MORE ARTIST’S ARTWORK FOR SALE ON TAG WEBSITE

I am continuing to add to the Travelling Art Gallery website various paintings for sale by the carriage print and poster artists. Many of these artworks from the mid or early 20th century were not railway-related and were either for exhibitions, private sale, commissioned work for other companies or for teaching the art of watercolour, varying from demonstration sketches to full-blown paintings. One of Leonard Squirrell’s commissioned works for Waddingtons, featuring Whitby, Yorkshire is particularly striking – see  http://www.travellingartgallery.com/landscape/print/merchdetail/S878.html . There are many images to look at and a variety of styles, including pencil sketches and works on canvas. I shall be adding to these in the coming months.

 

I really appreciate the many messages of support since I seriously injured my right leg 12 weeks ago when it tried to compete with a stack of glass. The glass won very convincingly. Improvement is slow but sure and I hope to be driving short distances again soon. Prayer helps!

Kind regards,

Greg

23rd August 2010 BLOG

Golfing_wilkinson

Thanks to Readers

Many thanks to all the people who have sent me kind wishes after a competition between my right leg and a stack of glass, which the glass won fairly convincingly and removed my right lower shin! Looks like being a long time before I leap around a table tennis table again. With a little help from my friends and some crutches, I did manage to get a stall together at the Stoneleigh auction and the Bluebell Railway Fair. Both were well-attended and showed that there is continued interest in railway art as well as hardware and model railways, although most stall-holders I spoke to mentioned that many people browsed but not so many were purchasing during the current economic climate. Thanks also to Tony at GWRA for his feedback on the Bredon Village carriage print details.

Landscapes under the Luggage Rack
I continue to meet people at events who know nothing of the book Landscapes under the Luggage Rack. This applied to an artist who called in on my stand at the Bluebell. He was delighted to see many works of artists he admired on display, but didn’t realise a book existed on the subject. He told me he had lived opposite the poster artist Walter Spradbery. Unfortunately, I have no copies left of the 1st and 2nd editions, but am in the process of working on a new completely revised and enlarged 3rd edition. The first two volumes were produced in the ‘old way’, printed from film (in Singapore in my case). This time I will have to re-do the whole work in digital format but this will give me the opportunity to add many better and new images and information to the expanded tome. A man from South Wales contacted me last week asking me where to purchase a copy of the book. I suggested using the internet for 2nd hand books from sources like Amazon. He phoned me a few days later and said the cheapest 2nd edition he could find online was £65 and the dearest was £135! I wish I had held on to a few more!

Original Artwork
I managed to locate several original carriage print paintings at various provincial auctions in recent months – St Peter Port, Guernsey (Buckle), Gorey Harbour, Jersey (Sherwin), Hastings (Sherwin), Bishops Stortford (Squirrell) and River Allen near Bardon Mill (Squirrell). These were from several sources and just happened to come on the market during the same period by sheer coincidence. Prices for original artwork have risen – most of these sold for between £600-1200 reflecting the growing interest in commercial art in Britain. I am glad now that I was unsuccessful in my attempt to purchase Frank Mason’s W.R. artwork for Dartmouth at one of the Morphets sales. It went for over £4000 plus BP!

Recording Britain
I also finally managed to obtain the original four volumes of the book Recording Britain via Ebay. This was a fascinating project published in 1946 by the Oxford University Press in association with the Pilgrim Trust. Initiated by the Government and overseen by a committee including Sir William Russell Flint, the books contain many images of Britain by leading artists. Locations were deliberately chosen to record images of the country before changes occurred (or possible bombs obliterated the views). Carriage print and poster artists include (in no particular order) S R Badmin, Edward Walker, Wilfred Fairclough, A S Hartrick, Kenneth Rowntree, R T Cowern, Charles Knight, Adrian King, Rowland Hilder & Sidney Causer. A one-volume colour book of the same name, illustrating the best of these was published towards the end of the last century.

Private Treaty Sale of Poster Artwork
In the July edition of Railway Antiques Gazette, I mentioned the sale of a number of Norman Wilkinson original paintings for LMS classic posters. I have now been asked by the vendor to sell these by private treaty. Images and details of the following artwork by the above artist can be viewed on the website www.travellingartgallery.com:-

Gleneagles Golf (King’s Course), Iona, Anglesey, Fishing in Ireland, Inverness, Loch Lomond, Cairngorms (Scotland), Rhuddlan Castle.

All the paintings are on canvas and unframed. Those genuinely interested can view the artwork in NE London by special arrangement. Please email julie14brooks@yahoo.co.uk to arrange viewing. Successful bidders will have submitted the best offer/s (over the reserves), received by me by the end of 31st October 2010. Payment to the vendor (in full) must be cleared before the items can be collected. Please contact me for more details if required at PO Box 485, Bugbrooke, Northampton NN7 3ZY. Tel: 0845 8333301 or 07971 168299 or email greg.norden@btinternet.com

Psychology of Collectors
It was interesting hearing people discussing the psychology of ‘collecting’ on the radio recently and listening to an expert explain that it was pretty well a mental disease! Well, I won’t attempt to defend the collectors who are probably far happier in life than the said expert, but will simply give one simplistic summary of ‘psychology’ – neurotics are people who build castles in the air – psychotics are those who live in the castles – and the psychiatrist is the one who makes a pretty penny collecting the rent.

Original Poster Artwork for Sale

ARTIST’S AGENCIES
Several of the railway-commissioned painters belonged to an agency specifically set up for artists. This was called, unsurprisingly, Artist’s Partners Agency. I was very surprised after a little research into the company on the internet that they are still successfully in business in London, 60 years on. Poster and carriage print artists over the years have included Tom Eckersley, Rowland Hilder, Hans Unger, Royston Cooper, Ben Ostrick, Reg Mount, Edward Mortelmans, Bill Sawyer, Harry Winslade and Albert Whitear. The London Midland Region commissioned this agency for their ‘Historical’ series of 48 prints, undertaken by the last four artists mentioned above. On the rear of the original artwork was the agency’s stamp bearing the address of Hyde Park, London, dated 1954. Mortelman’s work for this series was particularly high in quality (see image).

The agency was formed in 1951 in Lower John Street, Soho, but soon moved to Dover Street, Mayfair where most of the railway commissions were accomplished. It is now situated in Westminster Bridge Road, London – website www.artistpartners.com . It still produces commercial artwork for books, magazines, posters and advertising. As its website comments: It is now “honed down but creatively fit.” The only other prolific agency I am aware of whose work was commissioned by the railways during the 50s & 60s (particularly the Southern & Western Regions), was Studio Seven whose logo often appeared on the artwork. Do any readers know of any more?

NORMAN WILKINSON & CLASSIC POSTER ARTWORK FOR SALE
Art and poster lovers may be very interested to know of a large collection of original London Midland & Scottish Railway and British Rail poster artwork for sale, including classic Norman Wilkinson 1930s views. This unique horde of original paintings on canvas of classic scenes for the LMS by Norman Wilkinson of Gleneagles, Inverness, Loch Lomond, Anglesey, Fishing in Ireland, Goole Docks and more are to be sold at the end of summer. Images (some shown here) are currently available on the www.travellingartgallery.com website with more details to follow.

Ostrick_bathing_beautyAnglesey_wilkinsonElizabeth-fry-at-newgate-prGolfing_wilkinsonIn-1854-florence-nightingalLoch_lomond_wilkinson