The cache in the auction on March 18-19 comprised seven original London, Midland & Scottish Railway Company lithographic posters that had survived in remarkably good condition, some wrapped in their original posting paper complete with LMS labels.
“Posters are designed to be such ephemeral things, lasting only for a brief advertising campaign, and so finding this forgotten stash of originals was brilliant,” said Henry Cooke of Mallams. “They were nearly thrown away by the vendors but thankfully they thought better of it at the last minute and brought them into us”.
Six of the seven 3ft 4in x 4ft 2in (1.01 x 1.27m) images of British landmarks were by Norman Wilkinson (1878-1971) – the graphic artist who helped develop ‘dazzle’ camouflage after the First World War.
Estimated at £200-400 each, they sold for between £480 (for Sweetheart Abbey printed by McCorquodale & Co) to £850 for posters titled Ashby-De-La-Zouch and Iona. Leading the group at £1300 was the sole design by Christopher Clarke (1875-1942), pictured above, titled Trooping the Colour, Whitehall.
“With their limited palate and superb scale railway posters are definitely flavour of the month,” said Cooke. “They have moved from being the sole preserve of the railway enthusiast into the realm of art lovers as a whole.”