Sunday, February 10, 2013

Merriott's Railway Posters

Watercolorist Trevor Chamberlain shared the following recollections about one of his heroes, Jack Merriott, whose work he saw when traveling to London by train: 

"Back then, in the glory days of steam engines, the railway companies commissioned some of the leading watercolour painters of the day, including Jack Merriott, Rowland Hilder and Charles Knight, to depict scenes from all around Britain to be displayed as prints in the passenger compartments. These prints always had a long, narrow format and were usually panoramic landscapes. I would clamber into the carriage wondering which ones I was going to see, and I got to know them all." 

Above is Merriott's poster of Aberystwyth, the historic market town in Wales.

Here is the approximate view as seen by the camera, a good deal duller and more spread out horizontally. 

Here is Merriott's preliminary watercolor study painted on location, with lines for scaling it up to the final painting.

Wikipedia on Aberystwyth
Images from Robert Kirk's blog
Travelling Art Gallery (selection of all of Merriott's Carriage Prints)
Merriott's book on watercolor can still be found inexpensively: Discovering watercolour;: A comprehensive home study course.
Chamberlain's watercolor book is harder to come by, but it's also excellent:Trevor Chamberlain: Light and Atmosphere in Watercolour


Chris Iliff said...

love these travel posters. I live in Aberystwyth and teach illustration at the university there. We have these posters up in the train station as well as the local museum. So funny to see such a small town be spoken of all the way over in the US.

armandcabrera said...

On a side note, I just wanted to say like James Gurney, Trevor Chamberlain is just as an accomplished oil painter as he is a watercolor painter.

James Gurney said...

Yes, thanks, Armand. I would also add David Curtis to this short list...he paints both in watercolor and oil, and when he was young he painted alongside Merriott. Curtis and Chamberlain are inspiring examples of the benefit of alternating between oil and watercolor.

Chris, I passed through your town in 1985 on a bus trip from Caernarfon to Cardiff, but unfortunately only got to see it out the window. Lovely spot, hope to visit again sometime with a sketchbook!

Jean At Home said...

This is a video of Lynda Barry giving a convocation address at Lawrence University on the role of images in our lives. Barry talks about the importance of image in creating our sense of things. In her unique style she entertains and teaches simultaneously. This is well worth spending an hour to watch and listen. And laugh.

mp said...

Beautiful travel posters.
Big fan of Trevor Chamberlain's paintings, here!

mp said...

Jean At Home: Enjoyed the Lynda Barry video.