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Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Old Workhorses

I know that 'Old Workhorses' is a worn out cliche but there is nothing better to describe the two jigsaw puzzles I have chosen for today's post, 9th March 2011. Farming, especially ploughing or the harvesting of crops,are popular subjects for foregrounds in pictures of steam railway scenes. Many artists have used this pairing of steam train and farming to add pictorial impact to their work and jigsaw manufacturers have not been slow to reproduce it.

The first pic shows a 1000-piece jigsaw from Waddingtons titled, appropriately, Old Workhorses. The puzzle compares older means of both travel and farming and is reproduced from a Malcolm Root original painting. This jigsaw is not as easy to assemble as others described in previous posts. Many pieces replicate colour and texture, particularly those that make up the ploughed field, making it a time consuming exercise to complete. Sold by Woolworths before the company's demise in December 2008, the puzzle features a T.W.Worsdell Class 'F4', 2-4-2T tank, No. 67211, heading two small suburban coaches along a raised embankment. The scene is set in early British Railways days. In the foreground a farmer ploughs his field using four magnificent shire horses to pull the plough.

Another fine example in this category, reproduced from a Trevor Mitchell canvas, is the JR Puzzles 500-piece example titled Homeward Bound, part of the Days Gone By series. A Gresley 'C9' class 4-4-2 locomotive, No.2171 of the London and North Eastern Railway, (LNER) is shown heading a rake of Gresley teak coaches. On an adjacent road an old Burrell steam traction engine with two men on board and two trailers in tow, plods along, heading away from a day on the farm.

The summer scenes above, produced by both artists, radiate tranquillity, all that is best in the UK countryside.

NOTE: JR Puzzles are now owned and distributed by James Hamilton Grovely Puzzles Ltd.,  -  for details, the email address is and the website is