52cm x 44cm
The London, Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS) was a British railway company. It was formed on 1 January 1923 under the Railways Act of 1921,which required the grouping of over 120 separate railways into four. The companies merged into the LMS included the London and North Western Railway, Midland Railway, the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway (which had previously merged with the London and North Western Railway on 1 January 1922), several Scottish railway companies (including the Caledonian Railway), and numerous other, smaller ventures.
Besides being the world’s largest transport organisation, the company was also the largest commercial enterprise in the British Empire and the United Kingdom’s second largest employer, after the Post Office.
In 1938, the LMS operated 6,870 miles (11,056 km) of railway (excluding its lines in Northern Ireland), but its profitability was generally disappointing, with a rate of return of only 2.7%. Under the Transport Act 1947, along with the other members of the “Big Four” British railway companies (Great Western Railway, London and North Eastern Railway and Southern Railway), the LMS was nationalised on 1 January 1948, becoming part of the state-owned British Railways.
The LMS was the largest of the Big Four railway companies serving routes in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
The LMS’s commercial success in the 1920s resulted in part from the contributions of English painter, Norman Wilkinson. In 1923, Wilkinson advised Superintendent of Advertising and Publicity of the LMS, T.C Jeffrey, to improve rail sales and other LMS services by incorporating fine art into the design of their advertisement posters. In this time, fine art already had a distinguished association in Europe and North America with good taste, longevity and quality. Jeffrey wanted LMS’ commercial image to align with these qualities and therefore accepted Wilkinson’s advice. For the first series of posters, Wilkinson personally invited 16 of his fellow alumni from the Royal Academy of London to take part. In letter correspondence, Wilkinson outlined the details of the LMS proposal to the artists.The artist fee for each participant was £100. The railway poster would measure 50 X 40 inches. In this area, the artist’s design would be reproduced as a photolithographic print on double royal satin paper, filling 45 X 35 inches. The mass-produced posters were pasted inside railway stations in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. LMS decided the subject advertised, but choices of style and approach were left to the artist’s discretion. LMS’ open design brief resulted in a collection of posters that reflected the large capacity of destinations and experiences available with the transport organisation.For the Irish Free State, Wilkinson designed a poster in 1927 encouraging the public to avail of the LMS ferry and connecting boat trains to Ireland. For this promotion, Wilkinson’s design was accompanied with four posters of Ireland by Belfast modernist painter, Paul Henry. The commercial success of Wilkinson and Jeffrey’s collaboration manifested between 1924 and 1928, with public sale of 12,000 railway posters.Paul Henry’s 1925 poster depicting the Gaeltacht region of Connemara in County Galway proved most commercially popular, with 1,500 sales.
Paul Henry (11 April 1876 – 24 August 1958) was an Irish artist noted for depicting the West of Ireland landscape in a spare Post-Impressioniststyle.
Henry began studying at Methodist College Belfast in 1882 where he first began drawing regularly. At the age of fifteen he moved to the Royal Belfast Academical Institution.He studied art at the Belfast School of Art before going to Paris in 1898 to study at the Académie Julian and at Whistler’s Académie Carmen.
He married the painter Grace Henry in 1903 and returned to Ireland in 1910. From then until 1919 he lived on Achill Island, where he learned to capture the peculiar interplay of light and landscape specific to the West of Ireland. In 1919 he moved to Dublin and in 1920 was one of the founders of the Society of Dublin Painters, originally a group of ten artists. Henry designed several railway posters, some of which, notably Connemara Landscape, achieved considerable sales.He separated from his wife in 1929. His second wife was the artist Mabel Young.
In the 1920s and 1930s Henry was Ireland’s best known artist, one who had a considerable influence on the popular image of the west of Ireland. Although he seems to have ceased experimenting with his technique after he left Achill and his range is limited, he created a large body of fine images whose familiarity is a testament to its influence.
Henry’s use of colour was affected by his red-green color blindness.He lost his sight during 1945 and did not regain his vision before his death.
A commemorative exhibition of Henry’s work was held at Trinity College, Dublin, in 1973 and the National Gallery of Ireland held a major exhibition of his work in 2004.
A painting by Henry was featured on an episode of the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow, broadcast on 12 November 2006. The painting was given a value of approximately £40,000–60,000 by the roadshow. However, due to the buoyancy of the Irish art market at that time, it sold for €260,000 on 5 December 2006 in James Adams’ and Bonhams’ joint Important Irish Art sale.