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Wednesday, 28 March 2012

The Flying Scotsman Express

Two small Victory jigsaws of 45 and 50 wooden pieces comprise today's post, 28th March 2012. They are from similar original artwork but manufactured several years apart.

The first picture is of the 45-piece puzzle in the TP0 series. The price on the box is 2s/8d (around 13 pence) which corresponds to 45-piece TP0 puzzles on sale between the years 1947 and 1950 (ref. Brian P. Price "Victory Jigsaw Puzzles" 1999). The puzzle is titled Flying Scotsman Express and shows the Nigel Gresley 'A1' class 4-6-2 locomotive, No.4476 Royal Lancer, heading a rake of Gresley teak coaches along the East Coast Main Line c1929. The locomotive was originally built to a class 'A1' design in 1923 but was rebuilt to a class 'A3' design in 1946.  The signature on the jigsaw picture is 'F. Moore'. Several artists using this name were employed by the Locomotive Publishing Company (LPC).

The second picture shows an earlier pic of the same artwork but of 50 pieces. According to the Brian P. Price guide, this is probably a 1932 issue as it does not have any letters/numbers attributed on the box label. The price was 1/- (5pence).  The title is a rather long Up Non-Stop "Flying Scotsman" Express. L.N.E.R. 4-6-2 Locomotive No. 4476 "Royal Lancer". The name 'F. Moore' is strongly linked to the artist Thomas Rudd of the LPC; - he over-painted monochrome photographs, in colour. This original photograph was by F. R. Hebron.

Also shown as a third picture, is the small brochure dated 1936,  given with some Victory puzzles describing the 'Flying Scotsman' train, locomotives, route and timetable.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Artist Malcolm Root

In previous posts I have described the work of famous railway artists such as Don Breckon, John Austin and Barry Freeman which has been used by jigsaw manufacturers. In this post, 18th March 2012, I will reproduce the format with respect to another famous railway artist, Malcolm Root. 

A son of Colchester, born in 1950, Malcolm Root has since lived in Halstead, Essex. He has put Halstead on the map to people outside the south east through his painting and subsequent 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle, Steam Train at Halstead, manufactured by King.
When he was still at secondary school Malcolm achieved second place in a National Art Competition sponsored by Brooke Bond and at sixteen years of age left school to pursue a career in the printing trade. He continued to paint however, watercolours at first, oils later. After much self-examination and reflection, he decided in 1981 to become a full time artist. Commissions followed at regular intervals, particularly from his friends, but also assisted by several small exhibitions.
Malcolm's greatest interest is in 20thcentury transport and its impact on ordinary people.The leisurely way that people travelled before the car became the dominant mode of travel  is of particular interest to him and is mirrored in many of his paintings. His skill as a top railway artist has benefited from fond memories of steam train travel in the late 1950’s and 1960’s when the steam age was undergoing many changes, and ultimately, ended. As a result of his mastery of his trade he was elected a Full Member of the Guild of Railway Artists (GRA) in 1983 and had pictures hung in GRA exhibitions. Subsequently he has had four books of his paintings published  including two of his railway paintings - The Railway Paintings of Malcolm Root (1996), and Malcolm Root’s Railway Paintings (2004). In 2010 he was awarded the distinction of Fellow of the Guild of Railway Artists.
Many Malcolm Root paintings have been reproduced as jigsaw puzzles by King, Wentworth and Waddington/Hasbro. Wentworth has replicated at least 19 of his paintings. He is a master at recreating the power and majesty of steam railways on canvas and generating a nostalgic ambience that appeals to people who can instantly recall such indelible images.  Following are pictures of two such jigsaw puzzles.


The sea wall at Dawlish has always been popular with artists and Malcolm’s painting, subsequently reproduced as a 500-piece jigsaw by King, titled Following the Train, shows a GWR ‘King’ class 4-6-0, No. 6000 King George V, hauling chocolate and cream liveried passenger stock in the popular location. The famous bell on the locomotive is clearly shown. A family party complete with a baby in a large, 1950’s style pram, follows the train for a short distance.

The second picture also shows a King jigsaw but of 1000 pieces, titled Steamtrains. It is a montage of eight of Malcolm's paintings expertly blended together to make a superb jigsaw puzzle. They include representatives from each of the four railway companies formed in 1922/23.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Gibsons and Barry Freeman

Today's post, 7th February 2012, comprises two pictures of jigsaw puzzles that  illustrate the strong partnership, noted in previous posts, between jigsaw manufacturer Gibsons and the railway artist Barry Freeman. Both jigsaws are of the 636-piece panoramic format.

Picture number one shows the puzzle titled Winter Wayfarers. Barry's painting shows a LMS, streamlined ‘Coronation’ class locomotive hauling the ‘Coronation Scot’ express beside the Oxford Canal at Stretton-under-Fosse in Warwickshire. The crack express is in blue and silver ‘uniform’ and headed by Stanier 4-6-2 No.6221 Queen Elizabeth. On the adjacent canal a rather rotund lady almost fills the deck of a narrow boat, travelling in the opposite direction, with a second boat just ahead. A man and his dog look on inquisitively  - a wonderful jigsaw puzzle from an equally superb painting. 

Picture number two, of jigsaw The Last Days, shows a Freeman painting of two, huge Stanier 4-6-2 locomotives, both in wartime black livery.  The location is Roade Station in Northamptonshire and the date, 1947. On the left is 'Princess Coronation' class No.6233 Duchess of Sutherland passing through with a southbound express. On the right, waiting for 'right away' with a southbound parcels train, is 'Princess Royal' class No. 6203 Princess Margaret Rose. Typical of Barry, an old bus, a Bristol JO 5G of the United Counties Bus Company, is included in the background.