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Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Two from Good Companion

Good Companion jigsaws featuring steam trains, have been covered in previous posts. For today, 22nd June 2011, I am including pictures of another pair. However, with these two puzzles I must differentiate between THE Good Companion and GOOD COMPANION ranges of jigsaws. THE Good Companion puzzles of 400 pieces, with the definite article in upper case text, include the well known examples pictured in previous posts and in the second  photograph below. However, the definite article is not used in practise and the puzzles are commonly known as 'Good Companion' jigsaws. Causing some confusion, several series comprising six, 500-piece puzzles were made later and these were marketed as GOOD COMPANION (in upper case text) puzzles, without the definite article. These also are commonly known as 'Good Companion' jigsaws. The original range of THE Good Companion jigsaws comprised around one hundred and seventy seven titles. All of the jigsaw boxes carried the familiar logo of a hunter with his dog and the marketing name of THE Good Companion on the box front and sides. In my collection are four railway jigsaws, each from a GOOD COMPANION series of six puzzles, and I know of at least one other series of six puzzles. These smaller jigsaw boxes did not carry the hunter and dog logo, but instead one comprising a clear jigsaw puzzle piece, outlined in white, enclosing the number 500. The marketing name of GOOD COMPANION was printed on the four sides of the box, but not on the front.

Philip D. Hawkins is a renowned railway artist but few of his paintings have been reproduced in the jigsaw trade. A Hawkins' painting was used by GOOD COMPANION for a 500-piece puzzle, titled Locomotion. In the jigsaw picture, LMS 4-4-0 compound locomotive No.1167 is shown heading 'crimson lake' passenger stock, but unfortunately my copy is not the best.  Locomotion was number six in a particular series of 500-piece, GOOD COMPANION puzzles; there were at least four other similar series. This particular puzzle suffered from a  reflective surface thus causing a serious problem when assembling in bright light.

T.E. North's name is indelibly linked to many railway jigsaw puzzles and to several manufacturers. Many examples have already been featured on this blog. Picture number two shows North's  artwork  replicated by THE Good Companion in a 400-piece jigsaw, East Coast Route. The approach to Newcastle Station  forms the backdrop to the picture. A mainline trained headed by a Gresley 'A4' class 4-6-2 and three freight trains are depicted on a myriad of lines close to the station. The city once boasted the largest railway crossing in the world accommodating up to 400 trains per day. Poor printing caused the main  problem with this particular puzzle, leading to a slightly blurred image.