It has always been an ambition of mine to produce a book of the entire collection of my dad’s steam paintings. Following his death in November 2019, it helped me with the grieving process to be around his paintings and in his studio as much as possible so I decided to take on the mammoth task of photographing all of his work in high resolution. Once this was complete (a 3 month process!), it was an easy decision to press ahead with a book. I have worked in the design and advertising industry for over 35 years so it was a project I knew I could produce on my own for the most part, photographing the paintings, designing the book, producing the artwork for print and publicising the project.
I decided early on that I didn’t want it to be just a picture book – it was important to me to give some background and history to the paintings and to the stars of the show – the locomotives themselves. I realised quickly that my boyhood knowledge of steam had almost completely deserted me and I would need help writing the detailed locomotive histories for the book. I had befriended Richard Bryan online when he purchased some prints of my dad’s paintings of the ex-Barry loco 80150 (Richard is part of the team at the Friends of 80150 who are restoring the locomotive). From messaging Richard back and forth it was obvious that he was a veritable encyclopedia of steam, with endless knowledge of the locomotives featured in my dad’s paintings. I asked Richard if he would be prepared to help me write the book and he accepted the challenge immediately. His work on the book has been invaluable, researching each locomotive and their journey from being built, in service, retired and restored (although sadly many were lost to the scrapman’s blowtorch) and he has made the book so much better than I would have been able to produce on my own.
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"I first saw an example of Brian’s work when I was looking for paintings of my locomotive 61306 ‘Mayflower’. His representation of the locomotive at Shildon in 1975 was a stunning introduction to his amazing paintings. The photographic quality of the images of Barry take me right back to the times I went there and walked up and down the rows of locos waiting to be rescued. I am delighted that his work is now available for everyone to enjoy."
“I came across Brian's paintings during a search of images from Dai Woodham’s scrapyard at Barry. I was immediately amazed at the sheer quantity and quality of his work, which were by far the most accurate and detailed paintings of the scrapyard I had ever seen. He was an extremely talented artist and captured the vivid colours of engines that had been in the sea air at Barry for so many years.”
“Brian’s work is truly outstanding! I have followed his work for many years and he was a keen supporter of the Tanfield Railway. His artworks capture the essence of steam, both working and unrestored. They provide an insight into our heritage.”
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