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Vintage Railway Art Prints from The Golden Age of Travel: The National Railway Museum Collection

Posted by Ferren, 25 July 2011


Skegness Is So Bracing Art Print by John Hassall

John Hassall’s much loved Skegness Is So Bracing image, which really channels the essence of English seaside postcard humour

Whilst busily compiling the best art print and poster collections that we have at Easyart, I’ve recently stumbled some fantastic vintage travel posters from The National Railway Museum.

These posters date from the 1920s to the 1950s, and symbolize when railway travel in England (which from the Victorian era had primarily been used for trade and commerce) became a leisure experience. The railways enabled people to travel in large numbers to seaside resorts as well as cities across the country, as a result of the welfare and labour reforms of the 1930s where workers were freed from compulsory work at weekends and started to recieve paid holidays.

In terms of design, it’s also interesting to note the contrasting styles of graphic artists such as John Hassall (of Skegness is so bracing fame) who produced such posters. For instance the following advert for the Norfolk Broads can easily be identified as dating from the 1930s with the carefree expression of the girl providing the focal point for the image, with the soft muted colours more typical of an English summer:

The Broads National Railway Museum Art Print

The Broads National Railway Museum Art Print

While this National Railway Museum art print, produced for the LNER line really embraces the prevailing Art Deco aesthetic of the time, with it sharp lines and simplified forms, where the bright colours of the towel and the deep blue of the background are more evocative of the south of France:

East Coast by LNER - Boating National Railway Museum Art Print

East Coast by LNER – Boating National Railway Museum Art Print

See a range of  favourite images here, which should put you in a summery frame of mind! I also love the fact that some of the posters draw attention to more obscure aspects of recent English history, such as the Cardinal Wolsey Pageant of 1930, held in Ipswich to mark the 400th anniversary of the Cardinal’s death.

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