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Rezension bezieht sich auf: Railway Posters (Gebundene Ausgabe)
One of the specialities of the Victorian era poster was cramming in as much type as possible, the playbill is a classic example but European rail companies took it to extremes judging by the posters in the first few pages of this book. Not only large type for a heading, a main picture and maybe two more but also a route map and amazingly a comprehensive timetables. All this on a four foot deep poster and frequently the route map was as large as the main scenic picture.
By the early years of the twentieth century this very busy poster format had changed to a much more graphic approach with a big picture, headline type and no timetable. The route map though was a constant idea used for decades. Page eighty-six has a 1933 poster for the Italian railways using a very stylised graphic map of the route between Milan and Naples.
Up to the start of the Second World War travelling by train was the way to go, especially long distances. Page fifty-five has a 1928 poster for the twelve day journey from Paris to Peking, via Moscow and Manchuria or the Simplon--Orient Express 1921 French poster on page 148, board the train in Grande Bretagne (I assume in London) and travel across Europe to Turkey, cross the Bosporus by ferry and then onto Syria. The kind of journey that would inspire books and movies and you can still do it today on the Express, though only as far as Constantinople (Istanbul) with a change in Venice.
The posters through the book follow an historical theme from 1887 to 1986. The majority are European with the next largest from the US with several famous ones painted by Leslie Ragan for the New York Central, Australia, Canada, Japan and Egypt are represented. The last chapter looks at Pullman cars and the French company Wagon Lit and the poster selection includes six from the brilliant Cassandre.
Railway Posters (and the companion titles: Ocean Liners; Cars) are lovely reminders of poster art, all in colour, beautifully printed and with mostly one large poster a page. In fact large enough to be suitable for framing if you wanted to create your own transport gallery.