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Sunday, 30 June 2013

A Wentworth Duo

It's over a month since I last posted due to a family bereavement. In today's post, 30th June 2013, I am using two pictures featuring laser-cut, wooden puzzles from the famous Wentworth company.

The Wentworth company, situated near Malmesbury in Wiltshire, was only formed in 1994 but it has achieved recognition as a global brand in its short existence. On the Wentworth website the company describes the wood composites from which the jigsaws are cut as "taken from sustainable sources". This is an important consideration for many jigsaw purchasers in this modern age of environmental or 'green' concerns. The coloured drawstring bag used by the company to enclose and secure jigsaw pieces inside a substantial box has become legendary. Although more expensive than cardboard puzzles, wooden examples don't appear to lose value at the same rate and are, therefore, more appropriate to pass on as heirlooms. Many Wentworth jigsaws, past and present, depict steam railway scenes (over eighty in my inventory) with famous artists such as Barry Freeman and Malcolm Root strongly represented. Barry is represented again in today's post and joined by an artist whose paintings are regularly voted as 'Best' in the GRA (Guild of Railway Artists) 'Picture of the Year' annual competition - John Austin. John has won the competition on fifteen consecutive occasions,  proof of his wonderful skill in railway art.

My first picture shows a 500-piece wooden puzzle titled  Light Duties. Barry Freeman is responsible for the superb artwork which focuses on a 'Jubilee' class  4-6-0 locomotive of Sir William Stanier, No.45577 Bengal,  heading a short passenger train towards Knucklas Station in Wales. The picturesque countryside is enhanced by the local Viaduct. The locomotive was withdrawn from service in 1964 dating Barry's picture to the early 1960's, probably.

In my second picture, John Austin's superb painting Exeter at Tavistock is replicated by Wentworth as a  250-piece, wooden puzzle, also the title of the jigsaw. One of Oliver Bulleid's revolutionary, 'air-smoothed'  4-6-2 locomotives, affectionately referred to as 'Spam Cans' by enthusiasts, is pictured in a wonderful winter setting as it hauls a passenger train over the viaduct at Tavistock. The locomotive is 'West Country' class, 'Light Pacific', No.21C101 Exeter - hence the title.

Wentworth jigsaw puzzles are available in several different sizes  -  30 to 1500 pieces.

Books by Barry and John, including superb artwork, informative text and biographical details,  are available from normal sources, including the Internet.