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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

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Artist Philip D. Hawkins


In past posts I have described the influence of artists on steam railway jigsaw puzzles - Don Breckon, Kevin Walsh, Terence Cuneo, Barry Freeman, George Heiron, John Austin, Malcolm Root, among others, and included a few biographical notes. Following on in the same vein, this post, 21st April 2015, describes two puzzles featuring artwork by Philip D. Hawkins, an artist at the very top of his profession.

Philip’s passion for painting stemmed from his childhood in Winson Green, Birmingham in the 1950's. Here, where LMS and GWR railways crossed within yards of his home, the sights and sounds of steam trains cultivated an immense fascination. His early trainspotting days were spent on coaches with members of the Birmingham Locospotters Club and with friends in cars, on trains and on trusty bicycles. Stations, sheds and locomotive works, nationwide, were all included in his travels. After sitting his 'O' levels he left school immediately and signed on at Birmingham College of Art and Design for courses spanning four years. He graduated as a Technical Illustrator and following several career changes, he joined the ranks of professional artists in 1978. Since then his list of commissions from private and corporate clients can only be described as impressive. He has had two books published of his paintings - in 1998 (Tracks on Canvas) and 2005 (Steam on Canvas), and 32 paintings included in the 1994 book, The Trains We Loved. He is a founder member, past Chairman, Honorary Fellow (1998) and Past President (1988-1998) of the Guild of Railway Artists.


The first picture shows a 1000-piece example from Parker Hilton (Falcon) titled On Time. The painting is the result of a commission from The Birmingham Post & Mail in 1985 to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the Great Western Railway (GWR). The location was quite obvious - one of the most famous of GWR stations - Birmingham Snow Hill. According to his first book, Tracks on Canvas, after much deliberation, Philip chose 1947 and platform 7 as the year and specific spot for his painting. 'King' class 4-6-0, No.6008 King James II is pictured with a Paddington-bound train at around mid-day, according to the equally famous clock. 



Featured in the second picture is the Gibsons' 1000-piece jigsaw titled Summer Saturday at Snow Hill. This painting features the station several years later than in the picture described above, when annual seaside holidays by local people were facilitated by the railways. 'The Cornishman' ran from Wolverhampton to Penzance and the particular headboard in Philip's painting was introduced c1957 according to Dave Peel,'s superb book Locomotive Headboards. The Complete Story. The locomotive portrayed is 'Castle' class 4-6-0 No.5070 Sir Daniel Gooch and a 'Prairie' tank 2-6-2,  heading a local service, is also included in the picture.

Friday, 3 April 2015

Steam Trains and Holidays



The combination of steam trains, day excursions and holidays by the sea was popular with artists throughout the steam age and jigsaw manufacturers have not been slow to tap into the same subject pairing. Today's post comprises two photographs of jigsaw puzzles featuring the holiday season in the steam era.


Holiday Express is the appropriate title of a 245-piece jigsaw from Philmar. A Peppercorn ‘A1’ class 4-6-2 locomotive, No.60158 Aberdonian is pictured heading a holiday excursion on the London & North Eastern Railway (LNER), past a signal box, with part of the train positioned beneath a huge signal gantry. Several ‘gangers' are working on the adjacent line. The only logical reference to the post heading however, is the jigsaw title; there are no clues as to the location or destination. Referring to the the early British Railways motif on the tender, the locomotive is operating in early British Railways’ days (1948-56).



Journey by the Sea is a 1000-piece jigsaw made by Falcon Jumbo from artwork by Robin Pinnock. The original 1999 painting was titled From City to Sea and was produced for a Millennium Calendar commissioned by a Leigh-on-Sea art gallery. Two ex LMS tank locomotives heading passenger ‘Specials’ are shown about to cross on a sea front in glorious weather. Several people are pictured on a beach path admiring the sea view and the trains. A particular pairing show a young couple dressed in early 1950’s clothing including ‘teddy boy’ attire for the male. One locomotive identified is a Stanier 2-6-4T locomotive, No.42524, but the nearer locomotive although similar, cannot be clearly identified from the rear view. The motifs on the tenders indicate early and later BR eras (1948-1956, above and post 1956, below).