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If you wish to communicate with me about steam trains, railway art and related jigsaw puzzles, please email David, at : david.precology@virginmedia.com

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Two from Waddingtons

One of the most famous British manufacturers of jigsaw puzzles in any collection, is Waddingtons. This post, 25th January 2015, comprises two pictures of steam railway jigsaws puzzles from this iconic manufacturer.

The original company was founded in the 19th century by John Waddington and Wilson Barratt and re-named John Waddington Ltd in 1905. The initial printing business was successfully supplemented from 1922 with the introduction of playing cards. Jigsaw puzzles, using American cutting technology, were added to the company’s expanding portfolio in the early 1930’s. From company HQ in Leeds, Waddingtons produced circular puzzles from the 1930’s, and jigsaw books in the 1940’s. Cardboard puzzles of 1,000 pieces were produced in the mid 1950’s, possibly a world first. The Limited edition Christmas jigsaw puzzles range, revered by collectors, began in 1994. Steam railway puzzles featured regularly in the Waddingtons’ portfolio. In 1994 the rights to Waddington’s games etc., were purchased by American company Hasbro Inc. The original name lived on, however, with Woolworths as a major supplier of 500-piece and 1000-piece jigsaws packaged in the later, bright red boxes. Woolworths also continued the Chad Valley name in games and jigsaw puzzles. Sadly, Woolworths went into administration in December 2008 leaving the future of Waddingtons’ puzzles in the UK, in doubt. The Chad Valley name still survives, however.


The first picture features the 1000-piece jigsaw titled Snow Hill Station copied from the artwork of the maestro himself, Terence Cuneo. The puzzle depicts a ‘Hall’ class 4-6-0 locomotive No.4983 Albert Hall hauling a passenger train into the station. An 0-6-0  pannier tank locomotive is positioned on an adjacent line and the rear end of a guards van can just be seen on the right hand side of the picture. Passengers mingle on the platform beyond the advancing Albert Hall



The second picture features the famous Flying Scotsman locomotive No.4472 in London & North Eastern Railway (LNER) livery. The jigsaw is titled, simply, Flying Scotsman. I am sure that the picture (photograph) shows the locomotive in preservation days as (1) the coaches post date the LNER and (2) a number of enthusiast's heads are clearly visible protruding from coach windows. The vertical format puzzle comprises 350 pieces. 





These puzzles are packaged in more traditional Waddingtons' boxes that pre date the later  red examples.

For more information about No.4472 Flying Scotsman (locomotive) and the 'Flying Scotsman' (express train) go to the post of 28th June 2011.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Artist Terence Cuneo

Today's post, 13th January 2015, comprises four photographs of jigsaw puzzles, each depicting one of a set of Royal Mail postage stamps based on paintings by Terence Cuneo.

Terence Tenison Cuneo illustrated or painted many subjects but had a deep-seated affinity for steam locomotives. He was born in London in 1907 and both his parents, Cyrus and Nell, were artists. I could easily write many posts about this man - not just the best British railway artist of the 20th century  but one of the best known artists. His paintings are sought after world-wide and make premium sums at auction. He attended Chelsea and Slade Schools of Art but left in 1927 to follow in his father’s footsteps by working as an illustrator for magazines, books and periodicals. His canvas subjects included Royalty (for example, the Queen's Coronation); portraits; military scenes; railways; posters; motor-sport; industry; landscapes; wildlife and cartoons : in fact, he produced so many paintings that no one quite knows how many. 























The special postage stamp commission above was from the Royal Mail who wanted to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Great Western Railway. The commission was for famous UK express trains and Cuneo produced five paintings. He was a little worried about his large canvasses being reproduced effectively as tiny images but his concern subsequently proved to be unfounded. The Post Office, philatelists and steam railway enthusiasts alike praised them unreservedly. The 500-piece Waddingtons’ jigsaw puzzles reproduced four of the stamps, making a handsome and popular set. The set comprised the Flying Scotsman (17p stamp), the Golden Arrow (22p), the Cheltenham Flyer (29p) and the Royal Scot (31p). But why was there no fifth puzzle replicating the Cornish Riviera Express on the 43p stamp? The four puzzles are shown in the above photographs.