For decades, the world has been treated to railway paintings by renowned artists such as Terence Cuneo, Don Breckon and David Shepherd. I’ve even had the pleasure of briefly meeting David on a couple of occasions. Recently, I became aware of another artist whose works have been captured in his latest book An Odyssey in Steam Rocket to Evening Star.
To be totally honest, the sub title’s suggestion of a long time frame did not appeal to me personally. There have been so many publications covering the development of railways that another one failed to initially interest me. I have read numerous books about the development of the railways but find that I’m more interested in twentieth-century progress. I can relate to it more as I have experienced the magic of locomotives and rolling stock of that era. However, I was very attracted to the book cover. This depicts Mallard and Flying Scotsman in company with less famous East Coast Main Line Pacific’s Merry Hampton and Alkazar. They say you can never judge a book by its cover but most of us do! I opened the book.
I feel it worth saying that this is only the second book of railway paintings that I have in my collection. The first is Don Breckon’s GWR which has been a favourite of mine for many years.
Having read the jacket notes about David Bell, it became obvious why I was not familiar with his work. Over many years David’s paintings had featured maritime subjects. Indeed his first four books, which have received critical acclaim, include A Nautical Odyssey An illustrated maritime history from Cook to Shackleton.
David Bell now brings his incredible talent to the world of steam locomotives. What struck me immediately was the perfect representation of the front end of a Gresley A4. Throughout David’s book, he has painted the A4s from different perspectives. I never tired of coming across A4s Bugatti styling depicted in David’s paintings. Of course, the book features other locomotives besides A4s. Both LNER and LMS Pacifics are depicted with great style and atmosphere as well as a smattering of Southern Railway and Great Western Railway mainline engines.
David has also painted the larger BR Standard locomotives. This was a real treat for me as particularly the painting 9F 92214. Not only does it have Somerset and Dorset connections but I knew some of the team involved in its restoration from Barry condition including the late and wonderful Peter Lange. He was an ex British Rail fireman from Edgehill locomotive depot in Liverpool.
I found the accompanying text and captions to the paintings very informative and interesting. There is just enough technical historical detail, and indeed David’s personal recommendations, to entice the reader to turn the pages and absorb the detail of the wonderful paintings. This is a quality publication and I can highly recommend adding it to your collection whether you are a railway enthusiast or lover of art. It would also make a great gift.
You can also check out the reviews on Amazon and buy the book there – just click here.
Which locomotive would you liked to see painted by David?
Kay Sherman says
My grandads favourite is the Union Pacific Big Boy so that one x
hannah igoe says
My dad would love this!
William Dadswell says
When I was 16 (now 72) my friend took a picture of me on the front buffer beam of GWR 0-4-2 tank 1438 at Oswestry shed. A picture of one of these locos at a small branch line station would be great.
iain maciver says
the flying scotsman, amazing book
I’d go for Mallard, a painting of it at full steam would be awesome.
Judith Lightfoot says
My husbands favourite would be GWR 4073 Class Caerphilly Castle which he still has a model of from when he was a boy!!
Adrian Ford says
The Flying Scotsman
PETER REYNOLDS says
CITY OF WELLS FAB.
Definitely the Mallard ?
Nancy Townsend says
I would love to see The Flying Scotsman at full steam. It would be awesome if I could win this book for my father-in-law – an avid steam train fan.
Alastair Majury says
Symoblic / Fantasy picture of the Orient Express Glenfinnan viaduct en route to Fort William in Scotland.
Looks like a great book, thanks for sharing the review. Regards, Alastair Majury
Tim Taylor says
71000 Duke of Gloucester, a unique loco for a unique talent to portray
Danielle M says
The Jacobite 🙂
Allan Fullarton says
The Flying Scotsman, looks and amazing book.
Edward Tomlinson says
My favourite engine of all time is 4489 Dominion of Canada in her Original garter blue livery. As a boy I saw her many times steaming up the east coast mainline which ran very close to my home, A more magnificent sight I have yet to see.
A lovely memory thanks for sharing
Jacqui Graham says
My sons favourite, the sadly long gone Silver Fox Class A4 is a class of streamlined 4-6-2 train going on Stoke Bank.
Rich Tyler says
The Flying Scotsman :)))
John Tingay says
Cock O’ The North would be great – on the Royal Border Bridge would be even better
Karen R says
A class 55 Deltic
David Reeves says
Silver Fox Class A4 – a classic and looks modern even now!
I realise it isn’t steam and falls into a different era, but my young sons are fascinated with the Class 390 Virgin pendolino, so that would have to be my choice for painting.
Jonathan Antill says
My nephew loves the mallard
Debbie W says
My son takes after my husband with a real interest in all thing “steam”. His favourite locomotive is the Sir Nigel Gresley, so for us it would have to be that.
Sarah Rees says
The Flying Scotsman
I can’t decide either The Mallard or The Flying Scotsman, please.
ALISON MELVILLE says
My grandad used to work on the railways and took me to see The Flying Scotsman in the 1960’s. I saw it again recently when it was on one of it’s first journeys after it’s refurbishment.
I would love to see the Spirit of Traverse City locomotive depicted in this book! I know you can see at the Buckley Old Engine Show in the summer, but the author’s photos are so detailed.
Howard Roberts says
In your blurb under the first picture above:
“This depicts Mallard and Flying Scotsman in company with less famous East Coast Main Line Pacific’s Merry Hampton and Alkazar.”
Alcazar, please. 🙂
stuart hargreaves says
MY FAVOURITE ENGINE WAS THE MALLARD
Silvia Prizzi says
my son will love that!!!
Mickie Bull says
I’d want the BR Class 117 DMU, was pretty much the last loco to use the Bridport Railway before Beeching closed it
Jodie A Green says
The Flying Scotsman 🙂
Rebecca Howells (@Peanuthog) says
Number 3 Bodiam
bob clark says
61636 Harlaxton Manor – ever present on my many loco spotting days at Cambridge
Angela Morgan (@am167krp) says
Flying Scotsman pounding through Bingley Station – fab
HAYLEY TURNER says
francis lee says
the flying scotsman
Anthony Carrington says
I also enjoy don breckon and own his black5 on the mallaig line … but the loco i would adore on my living room wall would be a 9f as i think this loco is so underestimated in the steam era .. its not the rockstars of steam but the true working class of steam
Dan Caldon says
Would love to see The Flying Scotsman
Emma Bower says
I gave my dad a footplate ride on the watercress line for his 70th so the 45379 LMS Black 5 from there would be great. I would love to win the book for him.
I love the Flying Scotsman, it’s such a beautiful train. My husband likes The Mallard and we always compare them. Lovely prize.
Champaklal Lad says
Mallard – great train
Rie Tetley says
The Flying Scotsman – we have a lovely poster of it up in our living room.
Edward R Hughes says
The Sir Nigel Grestley
Martina Deeley says
The flying Scotsman
Steph Ralph says
LORNA WILS says
The flying Scotsman
DENISE WILDEN says
My son in law would love this prize his favourite is The Flying Scotsman
tony martin says
LNER B12 – 8572 – which is still active on the East Anglian line
Brian W says
Having been brought up living very close to a country railway station, a regular sight for me was …. ‘Evening Star’
maria gill says
My partner and I would love to see a Double-Ended Fairlie Locomotive in one of David’s paintings please. Thank you!
Andrew H Fearon (@andyfear16) says
The Duchess of Sutherland
Natalie Crossan says
Number 3 Bodiam
73050 – City of Peterborough
matt allison says
The Tornado especially after watching it in full steam between Dawlish and Teignmouth
Alison Shinn says
LMS Stanier Black Five 44932