When trains were... Travelling Art Galleries

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The fascinating and definitive new film documentary has now arrived!

Nick Crane presenting Travelling Art GalleriesPresented by the enthusiastic, Nick Crane, from the successful long-running BBC TV Coast series and Greg Norden, art collector, railway historian (and long-lost relative of Charlie Chaplin). They take us on a fascinating visual journey around Britain, when trains became travelling art galleries and leading watercolour artists of the day produced wonderful landscapes for displaying in railway carriages.

During the mid-20th century, fine art became readily accessible to the majority of the general public – perhaps for the first time ever!

The railway companies used artwork from over 60 leading watercolour and poster artists of the era, including Rowland Hilder, Frank Mason, Norman Wilkinson, Leonard Squirrell, James McIntosh Patrick, Terence Cuneo, Claude Buckle, Jack Merriott, Frank Wootton, Henry Rushbury, Frank Sherwin, Stanley Badmin and Kenneth Steel to produce over 500 landscapes of Britain.

Nick takes a good look at the artists themselves, their often, unsung, commercial careers and recalls memories of his great aunt, Freda Marston - the landscape and poster artist and the only female contributor to the paintings for railway carriage prints. Greg covers the different watercolour styles used and some of the challenges the artists faced during their work for the railways.

Travelling Art Gallery DVDUsing many superb images from Greg’s unique collection and with several interjections of humour, the film covers and beautifully illustrates the history of the subject from 1884 until the present time. At first, using rare black & white, colour-tinted and sepia photographs of Britain, the video goes on to incorporate nostalgic images of advertisements and notices. Nick covers the development of maps through the years and the film also takes time to see the effect World War II had on the advertising in railway carriages and on the commercial artists.

Travelling Art Gallieries DVD

Greg then uses many of the paintings and prints from his collection and takes us on a nostalgic scenic tour of Britain in the mid-20th century, before modern town planning and the motor car had changed the landscape forever. From fascinating views of towns and cities to pleasant villages in rural areas; from the rugged mountains of Scotland and Wales to the numerous ports and resorts around the coast of Britain revealing an era fast fading from memory. Amongst the highlights of the documentary are examples of many of these artworks, transforming into equivalent modern landscape scenes, often including the use of a drone camera.

The documentary finishes with a nostalgic look at the last days of British Rail and the end of this creative era.

Beautifully filmed by James Norden of Upbeat Image, and written, directed and produced by his ‘old man’, this hour long documentary is a visual feast of watercolour art, railway history and British nostalgia.

Travelling Art Galleries includes an extra bonus video on Collecting Prints.

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Travelling Art Gallery