- Hardcover: 250 pages
- Publisher: JDF & Associates Ltd (1 Nov. 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0956209246
- ISBN-13: 978-0956209245
- Product Dimensions: 30.7 x 2.5 x 23.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 10 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 779,771 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Railway Journeys in Art: The Midlands and Wales (Railway Journeys in Art 3) Hardcover – 1 Nov 2010
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Given the character of the geographical area covered, this third volume in a projected series of eight was perhaps inevitably bound to suffer by comparison with Volumes 1 and 2, covering Scotland and the north-east of England respectively, both of which enjoyed the benefit of being able to feature arguably more attractive scenic locations and, similarly, the memorable artwork commissioned by the London and North Eastern Railway. And so it proves; there is no question that this is a less appealing book than either of the previous two, on the grounds of 'visual impact' alone.
Unfortunately, the real shortcoming, once again, is the quality of the accompanying text. Things get off to a dreadful start on page 5, with the reproduction of a "pre-WWI poster from the North Staffordshire Railway of Leek's narrow gauge railway" (sic). The accompanying text reveals that the author appears to have assumed that the modern day 1.5 mile narrow gauge line that runs alongside Rudyard Lake, established in 1985, some 70 or 80 years after the date of this poster, has a rather longer history than the actuality, whilst remaining oblivious to the fact that the "Rudyard Lake Station" referred to on the poster itself was very much a part of the standard gauge national railway system, on the Macclesfield (North Rode) to Leek route. There may be some confusion with a rather more substantial narrow gauge line, the Leek and Manifold Light Railway (1904-35), some distance to the east, which bore no relation to the poster concerned. In any event, this is just the sort of howler that ought to be picked up and eliminated by a diligent editor; something which, sadly, this series of books appears to lack, much to its detriment. Clearly no-one involved has visited Buxton recently; the description of its "Royal" (sic) Crescent building on page 28 does not, sadly, correspond with present-day reality, though it's to be hoped the author's vision does come to fruition!
Overall, reading the text leaves this reviewer with the sense of the combined experience of, by turns, having been in the author's living room viewing his private collection, listening to personal anecdotes, and then witnessing a series of local history lectures about castles and historic towns and villages. That may be inevitable as there is, perhaps, only so much one can say about the subject of railway posters per se. But the repeated references to the first person and reminders of the author's understandable pleasure in owning original copies of numerous posters, together with related station `totems', prove to be a little tiresome after a while.
The real pleasure is, of course, to be found in the posters themselves and the quality of the reproduction. Taken as a simple portfolio of wonderful artwork this is a worthy, if somewhat less arresting, companion to the earlier volumes in the series. It's unfortunate that the text wasn't prepared with more of the evident care taken in printing the images.
One further, minor, gripe; the second volume offered an undertaking that there would be `at least 250 pages' in each book in the series. This one comes in at 208 (224 if one adds in the foreword and contents pages). All things considered, one is left with the feeling that this volume, bearing the same cover price, offers rather less 'value for money' than its predecessors.
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