Here, in over 100 superb paintings, Wren Thatcher has literally Caught on Canvas the last days
of the Age of Steam. His inherited knowledge and passion for the subject (both his grandfathers
were engine drivers), is revealed in every picture, from the classic image of ‘The Princess Royal’
climbing Shap Bank in snow to the workaday 7F hauling coal trucks on the Somerset & Dorset
Every locomotive appears to be alive as though the artist’s brushes were primed not with
paint, but with steam and smoke.
And here too, in a welcome departure from traditional railway paintings, the artist has recreated
panoramic scenes at some of the most famous of our railways stations, capturing the
realism of smoke-blackened brick and stone; paintings in which we hear the echoes of slamming
of carriage doors, the cries of porters – images in which the everyday clamour of a busy terminus
is captured ‘warts and all’.
Filled with stories of the artist’s own railway memories and with detailed descriptions of locomotives
and scenes he paints, The Railway Paintings of Wrenford J.Thatcher breathes fresh life into
the genre of railway paintings. It is a book that will delight and entertain all fellow enthusiasts.
Wrenford John Thatcher was born in Hertford England in 1944. Both his grandfathers were engine drivers, working
on the former GER then LNER and finally for BR. As a consequence a very happy childhood was spent on the
footplate especially with grandfather Ernest Henry Thatcher who was based in Bishops Stortford.
From the war
years onwards Wrenford lived in Hatfield and spent most of his spare time at the lineside sketching trains, until
he was able to buy a box brownie camera which was used to amass a considerable number of photographs.
Educated at St Albans Grammar School he won a number of awards for art, and his art teacher was furious when
he elected to study mathematics and physics at University. Graduating with a BSc from London in 1963, and later
with an MSc and PhD from Aston in Birmingham resulted in employment as an Isaac Wolfson fellow at Liverpool
University followed by a lectureship at St Andrews University in Scotland.
Wrenford left university for industry
in 1975 and was subsequently employed in the USA and UK inventing instruments and materials related to the
micro electronics industries.
Imprint:Halstar. ISBN 978 1 906690 60 1, hardback, 238x258mm, 144 pages. Published October 2015.