Quickfire start as Railart 2017 opens its doors


By Geoff Courtney

The country’s leading railway artists were celebrating at their annual exhibition at Kidderminster Railway Museum on August 26 when nine paintings sold within hours of its opening.

Fellowship: It’s smiles all round at the opening of the Guild of Railway Artists’ Railart 2017 exhibition at Kidderminster Railway Museum on August 26. From left: Philip Hawkins and Malcolm Root, who are both fellows of the guild, Geoff Courtney, senior contributing writer for Heritage Railway who officially opened the exhibition, and John Austin, another guild fellow and also its president. ROB PULHAM

The exhibition, Railart 2017, put on by the Guild of Railway Artists, featured 61 works by 28 artists – from oil on canvas and watercolour to charcoal on paper, pencil and acrylic – and all but five were available for sale at prices to suit all pockets, from below £100 to £5750.

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Although essentially an exhibition to give visitors an insight into the talents of some of the world’s top railway artists, the fact that most of the paintings on display may be bought adds a special attraction to the five-week event.

Selling nine of the works within the first two hours was a testimony to the public’s affection for railway scenes as depicted by the artists which ranged from the traditional to the idiosyncratic, with much between. All the paintings are titled, and these provide a feel for what is on show.

Thus there is Memories of Lichfield Trent Valley and Arriving at Snow Hill, vying for the visitors’ attention with Bird Watcher and Everlasting Love, or Wild Swan at Wood Green and Dundee Departure with Skelewheels and Deep Peace.

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One of the highlights of the opening ceremony was a presentation by guild president John Austin to Barry Cox, who accepted a certificate of honorary guild membership on behalf of Trevor Savage, until recently editor of Wheel and Palette, the guild newsletter, who has had to retire though ill health.

Brush strokes: Part of the Guild of Railway Artists’ annual Railart exhibition which opened at Kidderminster Railway Museum on August 26 and runs until October 1. ROB PULHAM

The exhibition, which is being held at the Severn Valley Railway-based museum for the 13th time, runs until October 1, and admission is free. To many of today’s railway enthusiasts and preservationists, it is a ‘must-see’ event.

The guild was founded in 1979 and its membership of both full and part-time artists includes a strong overseas contingent from four continents.

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