Nostalgic treasures. This fabulous selection of advertising posters charts the history of rail since the 1920s, and features timeless and revered artworks from some of the finest poster artists of the day.
Nowadays art and trains aren’t the most obvious of companions, but as this collection reveals, there was a time when they were. Charting the history of rail since the 1920s, the fabulous posters in our selection were commissioned by the great railway companies of the era. They truly understood the power of design, and had the foresight to employ the most talented artists, as well as the good sense to allow them great freedom in their designs. We love these timeless artworks; the exacting design, the flat abstract colour, the vision of an era before cheap flights took us abroad for our holidays; an innocent world that’s long since disappeared.
Norman Wilkinson CBE was one of that group of artists whose talents were employed by the marketeers to depict the romance of the railways. Better known for his maritime oil paintings, he’s also famous for proposing the use of disruptive camouflage of battle ships during WWII, paintings of which can be found in our National Maritime Museum collection. But it’s his graphic poster designs which are at the heart of our collection and whose style has come to represent the golden age of travel; nostalgia at its best. We’d like to thank the National Railway Museum for keeping these beautiful designs safely in their archive, for subsequent generations to enjoy.
Name Norman Wilkinson CBE
Collection Classic Railway Posters
Category Graphic Art
Date 1878 – 1971
Portrait photograph courtesy of the National Media Museum.