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Piper-esque digressions

The management are keen for the Whittlecreek and Eaton St Torpid Heritage Railway, as and when things shape up, to bear as little resemblance as possible to the sort of scenery devised by Rev Peter Denny for his justly-famous Grandborough Junction layouts, and the countless imitators since the 1940s (and the management was most certainly one of those imitators in the 1960s, with his father's complete run of Railway Modeller magazine to hand to check on the finer details of every version of Denny's layouts).

Instead of Rev Denny's 'photo realism' aesthetic, how about railway backgrounds inspired by John Piper?

One of a number of sketches by John Piper of the quarries at Portland Bill.

Piper seems to have been too busy drawing churches and castles to take an artistic interest in railway buildings. This house at Upton Court in Herefordshire is about as near to mundane architecture as he ventured.

A detail of a sketch of the Royal Military Canal to the north of Romney Marsh in Kent. Perhaps the closest Piper got to painting a scene which would make an interesting model railway backdrop.

Withy beds at Earl Stonham in Suffolk – nothing remotely Rev Denny …

… as is the case too for these Anglesey walls as painted by Piper.


Many moons after first uploading this I came across the work of Edward Bawden, whose style and technique may be even more suitable.

In turn, Bawden led me to John Aldridge, John Brunsdon and Emily Sutton. More explorations of these artists required.

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Images and text copyright Bob Trubshaw 2018–2021