Background to the project
Before this project started in 2002, there were no definitive books about railway posters from the early days of railways right up to the present day. There are poster books that cover the so-called ‘Golden Age’ from 1923-1947 and recently, some excellent books about London Transport and Underground advertising have become available. However, the subject of railway posters in the whole of the 20th century has been sadly neglected. Our aim in undertaking the project, therefore, was to redress this deficiency.
In recent times, collecting railway posters has become far more popular, both within the art world and in railway memorabilia collecting circles. This is partly due to a rise in all things nostalgic and partly because many of the early posters are now extremely valuable. However the more modern posters are also affordable and memorable to all of us who now regularly take the train.
Each book features a regional journey, literally moving from ‘Poster to Poster’ and detailed regional databases are found towards the rear of every volume. This has been compiled from a variety of sources, from all over the world, to appreciate what posters have been issued by the railways. Publishing lists of available posters is long overdue. This allows the number of Lancashire, Edinburgh or Norfolk posters, for example, to be appreciated.
This series of books is being published in conjunction with The National Railway Museum in York and the Science and Society Picture Library in London. Further support has been provided by Onslows, the International Auction house specializing in posters of all subjects, by Christies of London and by the Bridgman Art Library. The series will showcase some of the greatest collections of railway posters to be found anywhere in the world. Of the several thousand posters published since the Victorian era, less than 10% had featured in poster books, before our first volumes became available. By the end of the project, between 2,500 and 3,000 images will have been included through the series.