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Monday, 27 July 2015

Record and Pictorial Jigsaws from Ravensburger

Today's post, 27th July 2015, comprises two jigsaws from German manufacturer, Ravensburger. The puzzles depict two of many different elements of the steam railway jigsaw genre; record and pictorial.













The first picture (left) features the 1000-piece puzzle titled Full Steam Ahead, from original artwork by John Austin. W.H. Smith also marketed this jigsaw but under the title Millers Dale (read on).

John's painting depicts the station and twin viaducts at Millers Dale in Derbyshire. The oldest viaduct was built for the Midland Railway in 1862/3 and the second in 1905. The latter doubled the number of lines to four. In his book Smoke, Steam, and Light John describes his passion for painting bridges and viaducts and I must add that he is expert at it. The line through Millers Dale was closed in 1967 following the recommendations enclosed in the Beeching Report but the older viaduct (left, I think) now forms part of the popular Monsal Trail, used by ramblers, horse riders and cyclists.

The passenger train in the painting appears to be headed by a rebuilt ex LMS  'Royal Scot' class 4-6-0 locomotive in early British Railways' days (the London Midland Scottish Railway - LMS - became part of British Railways in 1948). The second viaduct supports a freight train hauled by a small 0-6-0 tender locomotive. 

The second Ravensburger jigsaw, of 500 pieces and titled The Train Driver - part of the Happy Days at Work series - is shown next. My interpretation of the Trevor Mitchell painting is of a family returning from a short holiday (one case) and taking advantage of a friendly driver. Before leaving the station the father, holding one of his sons, converses with the driver whilst his wife and other children look on and listen intently. Another man and boy are included in the composition. The locomotive in close up is ex GWR King class 4-6-0 No.6005 King George II, and the era is early British Railways (the Great Western Railway - GWR - became part of British Railways in 1948). Another ex GWR passenger train is pictured in the background approaching the station: the family dog, a large water crane and a signal box complete the picturesque station scene. The interpretation is in the eyes of the beholder.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Early 19th Century Locomotives

Today's post, 28th June 2015, comprises two photographs of jigsaw puzzles each featuring a locomotive from the 19th century.

The Brighton Railway 'GLADSTONE' class 1882 is one of four, plywood jigsaws showing early steam engines from a series made for Exide Batteries. The legend along the base of each puzzle reads “one of the series of twelve illustrations drawn for Exide batteries by C. and W. Meadway”. The puzzles are of 190-200 pieces and semi interlocking. The artwork was taken from a 1960’s Exide Batteries' calendar illustrated by the husband and wife team. Another in the series, A BROAD- GAUGE 8-FOOTER: G.W.R. 1851-1892, can be seen in the post of 9th April 2014. William Stroudley designed the 0-4-2 'B1' class of express locomotives for the London Brighton and South Coast Railway (LB&SCR) between 1882 and 1891. The class of 36 became known as the 'Gladstones' after the first member of the class. No.176 Pevensey (built 1890 withdrawn 1929) is the locomotive in the picture in the superb LB&SCR livery.



The second photograph shows George and Robert Stephenson's famous Rocket locomotive at the opening ceremony of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway in 1830. The 400-piece Regency puzzle is titled The Iron Road; the illustrative style artwork is excellent but the artist is not named. My puzzle is housed in a poorly printed box but the puzzle looks superb.

Saturday, 13 June 2015

A Whitman Set

For this post, 13th May 2015, I have chosen a series of four, excellent 1000-piece Whitman puzzles from my collection. The series is titled The World of Steam.



The first picture shows the jigsaw titled Flying Scotsman. Each jigsaw in the series depicts a famous named train produced from the quality illustrations of artist Edgar Hodges. The fastest steam locomotive in the world, 'A4' class 4-6-2 (Pacific) No.4468 Mallard, designed by the immortal (Sir) Nigel Gresley, is pictured at the head of a rake of Gresley teak coaches. The Kings Cross to Edinburgh express is working hard to exit Edinburgh Waverley Station for the return journey. A few trackside workmen are in attendance, a typical Hodges' addition. The locomotive is in London & North Eastern Railways (LNER) livery; 1923-1948. As the locomotive was built in 1938 the picture era is narrowed to 1938-48.


Picture number two features a giant 'King' class 4-6-0 designed by Charles Collett in early British Railways days (1948-56) as signified by the 'cycling lion' BR logo on the tender. The locomotive is pictured storming out of a station (Paddington?) on its way to Penzance, The locomotive is No.6015 King Richard III (built in 1928). The jigsaw is titled Cornish Riviera.




Also from the same series is a jigsaw titled Golden Arrow. This express boat train from Victoria to Dover was often hauled in Southern Railway days (1923-48) by a 'Lord Nelson' class 4-6-0 locomotive of Richard Maunsell. A large or light 4-6-2 (Pacific) locomotive of Oliver Bulleid hauled the train from 1941 (large)and 1945 (light). The locomotive in the jigsaw picture heading the luxurious Pullman coaches is Southern Railway liveried Bulleid 'West Country' class 'Light Pacific' No.21C139 Boscastle, built in 1946 (picture is therefore dated narrowly, 1946-48); the latter date was the date when the Southern Railway became part of British Railways. The exciting headboard, golden arrows on the sides and British and French flags rising from the buffer beam  contributed to a unique experience for viewers of this superb express boat train.



The fourth picture shows the final jigsaw from the Whitman The World of Steam series titled Royal Scot. The express ran between Euston and Glasgow Central on the West Coast main line in direct competition with the 'Flying Scotsman' express, the East Coast main line equivalent. 'Princess Coronation' class 4-6-2 of (Sir) William Stanier, No.46248 City of Leeds, is pictured in Hodges' artwork at speed probably in the Cumbrian Fells. The livery is that of the London Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS) and the illustration is based on the era 1956-68, within the British Railways era. The locomotive entered service in 1946 and was withdrawn in 1964 therefore the picture era is 1956-1964.


Three of these puzzles are on sale currently on ebay - link below

 
 

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Two Preserved Locomotives

In this post of 20th May 2015, two photographs are used of jigsaws depicting preserved steam locomotives. Both 500-piece  jigsaws are from the Trains series of four puzzles made by KG Games of Northampton; the other two were described in the post of 21st September 2014.













In the first (left), a 'Jubilee' class 4-6-0, No.5593 Kolhapur, designed by (Sir) William Stanier is shown in the LMS (London Midland & Scottish Railway) 'Crimson Lake' livery. Stanier was appointed Chief Mechanical Engineer of the LMS in January 1932, and between 1934 and 1936 he designed the 'Jubilee' class of 191 passenger locomotives. The LMS Railway began services in January 1923 and ended them in 1948, the year of Nationalisation and British Railways.The jigsaw is simply titled Kolhapur. Jubilee class members preserved are as follows - 5593 Kolhapur, 5596 Bahamas, 5690 Leander and 5699 Galatea. The original, LMS 4-figure numbers were prefixed with the number (4) after Nationalisation in 1948.

The second picture right, shows another of the KG Games Trains series' puzzles titled Oliver Cromwell. The jigsaw, again of 500 pieces, depicts one of the Britannia class of 4-6-2 locomotives designed in the British Railways Standard era, 1948-1968. The 55 members of the 'Britannia' class hit BR metals (track) between 1951 and 1954, under the supervision of Robert Riddles. The last of the class was retired in 1968. Two are preserved -No.70000 Britannia and No.70013 Oliver Cromwell. The location in the jigsaw photograph is an engine shed, possibly its home shed in BR Days -  Carnforth. The Carnforth shed code, 10A between 1963 and 1968, can be seen clearly on the smoke box door.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Three Named Expresses

Today's post, 5th May 2015, comprises photographs of three jigsaw puzzles, each showing a named passenger service.

'The Waverley’ was a St Pancras - Edinburgh express which began as the ‘Thames-Forth Express’ in the late 1920’s. The re-named express, complete with headboard, ran from 1957 until 1968. David Charlesworth’s excellent painting - The Waverley passing Horn’s Bridge Hotel, Chesterfield - was used as a 500-piece jigsaw and re-titled The Waverley at Horn’s Bridge Chesterfield. The puzzle was made exclusively for Country House Treasures, Chesterfield and is shown in the first photograph. Ex London Midland & Scottish Railway (1923-1948) ‘Jubilee’ class 4-6-0 locomotive, No.45561 Saskatchewan, is shown in the painting heading the famous express past the Horn’s Bridge signal box (and hotel?) in the British Railways era (1948 - 1968). 


The second photograph features an ex GWR express 'The Bristolian'. Titled "The Bristolian" - Britains fastest train, the puzzle from Ponda/Ian Allan, comprises 72 wooden pieces. In Vic Welch's artwork the locomotive hard at work is an unidentified member of  Charles Collett's, giant 4-6-0 'King' class, and the setting is British Railways' Western Region. The BR emblem on the tender indicates a date between 1948 and 1956, approximately. 'The Bristolian' was inaugurated in GWR days c1935, without a headboard, and ran between Paddington and Bristol Temple Meads. The headboard in the picture is the first type c1953; a slightly later type incorporated the badges of London and Bristol.


The 'Mid-Day Scot' is the final named express featured in today's post. The service began in 1927 and ran between Euston and Glasgow Central, leaving at around lunchtime from each station. The artwork in this 500-piece jigsaw from the JR Puzzles Nostalgia series, titled Mid-Day Scot, is by Edgar Hodges. Featured is the huge 'Princess Coronation' class 4-6-2 locomotive of (Sir) William Stanier, No. 46243 City of Lancaster. The locomotive is pictured at speed without a headboard: the latter was only introduced c1951, during the British Railways', London Midland Region era. The setting for the painting is clearly the  LMS, (London Midland & Scottish Railway) era, 1923-1948.

Once again I am indebted to Dave Peel's superb book Locomotive Headboards. The Complete Story. I thoroughly recommend the book to anyone interested in British Railways.

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).

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Two of Stanier's Finest

Today's post, 22nd March 2015, comprises two pictures of jigsaw puzzles featuring the locomotive designs of William Stanier (later "Sir"). 

William Stanier was the Works Manager of Swindon Works of the Great Western Railway (GWR) when he resigned to take up the position of Chief Mechanical Engineer of the London Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS) from January 1932. Between 1934 and 1936 he designed the 'Jubilee' 4-6-0 passenger locomotives and from 1934 also, the highly successful 'Black Five' class 4-6-0, mixed traffic locomotives, which eventually numbered 842. From 1937 he designed the huge 'Princess Coronation' class 4-6-2 express passenger locomotives, some of which were streamlined. Thirty eight were built.













Picture one (left) shows the Hope, 500-piece puzzle from the Railway series, titled Bahamas. No. 5598 was one of the' Jubilee' class of 191 locomotives and is shown in the LMS livery of 'crimson lake'. The locomotive is preserved, one of four 'Jubs' to escape the cutter's torch.the photographer is not named.

The second picture is part of the Steamtrains series of 500-piece puzzles from Falcon. Titled Coronation Scot LMS the 'Princess Coronation' class locomotive is depicted in special 'crimson lake' livery with gilt lining, and is shown hauling matching coaches. The class was often referred to as the 'Duchesses' and three are preserved. The artist was George Heiron.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Two from W.H.Smith

Two pictures of jigsaws marketed by W.H.Smith comprise today's post, 4th March 2015. The artwork in both cases, reflects the Great Western Railway (GWR).  


Picture one shows the 500-piece jigsaw titled At The Station, duplicating the artwork of Gordon Lees. Gordon's painting is impressionist in style with a locomotive that cannot be identified heading chocolate and cream GWR coaches. The station, of four platforms, hosts several passengers seated and standing, a small signal box and a signal gantry. A footbridge joins the two main platforms and a set of GWR carriages are standing at a third platform. The station comprises brick buildings on platforms one and four and is set in a rural location on a sunny day.




The second picture features The Mail Train, the title of a 350-piece example. Rob Johnson’s painting shows a short GWR train in a picturesque branch line station, collecting and/or delivering mail. A red Royal Mail van is prominent in the picture. The locomotive is a 0-4-2 tank type, No 1419. The class was used regularly on GWR branch line trains for push and pull auto trains.


Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Don Breckon and the GWR

Don Breckon (1935-2013) has had four books published featuring his paintings, a well-worn path for top railway artists – The Railway Paintings of Don Breckon (1982), Country Connections (1986), Don Breckon’s Country Railway Paintings (2003) and Don Breckon’s Great Western Railway (2003). Throughout the books, Don’s passion for the Great Western Railway (GWR) is clearly expressed, although other railways are also represented. Waddingtons issued a series of four, 500-piece jigsaws c1989 titled The Great Western Railway. I have used two of them in previous posts and the remaining two are described below in today's post, 17th February 2015.












On the left is Waiting at Dymock. A GWR pannier tank 0-6-0 locomotive waits at Dymock station, located on the Gloucester - Ledbury branch line, with two chocolate and cream suburban coaches in tow. This picture perfectly shows Don's appreciation of the picturesque, suburban lines which proliferated throughout the West Country.

The second jigsaw is simply titled Picnic. In this picture Don shows us another branch line favourite - the auto train. A diminutive GWR 0-4-2 tank locomotive is pictured heading two auto coaches temporarily interrupting a family picnic. One of two children, a boy, is waving to the passing train and the family car, a beautiful Austin 7, shares the picture space. The community is a subject well represented in many of Don's canvasses; my instinct tells me that Don invites you to join in the painting process and become part of his composition.