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Monday, 14 March 2011

Major London Stations

Today's post, 14th March 2011, is dedicated entirely to two mainline terminus stations in London. Jigsaws depicting stations as a backdrop to a steam locomotive or train are common, but those showing the station as the main focal point, with trains relegated to the background, are exactly the opposite. The two pictures of jigsaw puzzles I have chosen today, show stations and passengers that more or less fill the picture frame.

The first pic features the Gibsons' 1000-piece puzzle titled Going North; Coming South. 'Going North' and 'Coming South' are a pair of paintings by George Earl, originally commissioned by Sir Andrew Barclay Walker, owner of a Liverpool brewery. Victorians had a rather curious affinity for railway stations. The pair of paintings, completed in 1895 and rescued from a Liverpool public house in 1990, show many cameos of Victorian railway station life towards the end of the 19th Century. 'Going North' depicts well-dressed passengers, including Earl himself and members of the Walker family, waiting at Kings Cross Station, Scotland bound. 'The Glorious Twelfth' immediately springs to mind. In 'Coming South' the opposite journey is depicted, passengers waiting at Perth Station for a Kings Cross train, returning to London with their 'prizes'. In both paintings thirty-four sporting dogs of eight different breeds are portrayed, a favourite subject of Earl. The Gibsons' jigsaw cleverly combines both paintings to great effect.

My second shot shows St Pancras Station in the form of a 1000-piece jigsaw made by Ravensburger for the National Railway Museum, York. The title is Going North? St Pancras and it is reproduced from a 1910 Midland Railway Poster by Fred Taylor. This majestic station was completed for the Midland Railway in 1868. It was close to the Great Northern Railway's Kings Cross Station and was built because of massive delays in approaching Euston Station, previously used for London-bound passengers. A new line from Bedford was built for the opening of St Pancras. Because Taylor's artwork was commissioned for a poster, the fine detail shown in Earl's paintings was not required; also, because the scene is of a panoramic nature, it has slightly less impact.