Great Central Ladybird

The New Year has hardly begun, but the first auction is already upon us.  Held by Great Central Railwayana, it takes place on 19th January – and there are quite a pleasing crop of posters included.  Although, as ever with railwayana auctions, there are no estimates and very little in the way of dates either.  I will persevere regardless, although not without saying once again that if they did include estimates I’d probably punt a few more bids their way.  But that’s their loss and, in the most part, my gain.  I think.

Anyway, if you’re sitting comfortably we’ll begin.  I will skate over the vast numbers of topographical posters.

Pitlochry British Railways Poster McIntosh Patric

They are there, they look like this kind of thing, I have nothing much to say about them really.  Well, except that the catalogue pictures are weirdly washed out.  I’ve fiddled with the exposure and saturation a bit, simply to stop this post looking like it’s been produced in Sepiatone, but I have no idea what the actual posters look like.  They can’t all be that insipid, can they?

Although if you do want a classy bit of topography, you could do worse than this Fred Taylor, I must say.

Rred Taylor Ripon Cathedral railway poster

The Ladybird school of mildy kitsch retro illustration is also very well-represented.  I offer you just a couple of samples here, there are plenty more where these came from.

Rothesay Isle of Bute Figis poster British Railways 1950s


Harwich-Dovercourt Bay BRitish Railways poster Fryer


Or for the full kitsch blow out, there’s always this.

Butlins, British Railways poster 1950s


But if you like the 1950s, there are better things to spend your money on.  Like this Lander, for example.

Largs Ayrshire Lander poster British Railways 1950s

I don’t think I’ve ever seen it before, and I rather like it.  Also included in the sale is this, which must be among his earlier works.

Ross on Wye Lander poster GWR

Although I have to say, this poster raises more questions than it answers.  It’s not that it doesn’t look like his other stuff – I’m quite happy to believe that he was working in this kind of style in the 1930s.  But up until the Second World War, and possibly beyond, Lander was head of the Ralph and Mott drawing office and, as far as I know, not signing things with his own name.  So what’s going on here?  Was this one of the few posters produced in the name of the old railway companies just after the war?  I have seen one or two of those before.  Or is he moonlighting?  Or what?  I may never know.

I also like Alan Durman‘s somewhat sidelong take on 1950s topography too.

Alan Durman Tunbridge wells british railways poster 1950s


But for once, my two favourite posters date from before the war.  If we weren’t saving up our money for new windows, I’d definitely be bidding on this Frank Newbould.

Frank Newbould camping coaches poster LNER

If I thought we could afford it, we’d might well  be bidding on this Tom Purvis too.  But fortunately we’ve got one already.

Tom Purvis East Coast baby yellow railway poster

Once upon a time ago on eBay, we were lucky enough to get a chewed up copy to restore.  But that was many years ago, when posters were cheaper.  I doubt we’d even be able to afford that these days.

  • Thanks for these – unfortunately I can’t wean myself off my fondness for kitsch! My absolute fav here however is the Alan Durman. I’ll be googling him before the day is out!

  • Do click on the link in the post. He did a rather fantastic series of posters which – well, I won’t spoil the surprise!

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