Two rare vintage railway posters advertising Blackpool are set to fetch almost £6,000 at an auction in America.
A 40x50ins poster produced by Italian–born artist Fortunino Matania in 1926 for the London Midland and Scottish Railway is expected to sell for between $5,000 and £7,500 dollars at Swann Galleries in New York next Tuesday.
At the same auction, a 40x50ins poster produced by Sunderland-born artist, Septimus Edwin Scott, for British Railways in 1949, is set to fetch between $2,500 and $3,500 dollars.
Fortunino Matania’s Blackpool posters do not come up for sale that often.
But when another copy of this Blackpool poster did appear at Christie’s in London in 2003, it sold for £4,700.
Matania was born in Naples, Italy, on April 16,1881,and was still in his early 20s when he was invited to London to cover the Coronation of King Edward VII in 1902 for the British weekly illustrated newspaper,The Graphic.
In 1904, he joined the staff of The Graphic’s rival newspaper, The Sphere, for who he produced illustrations of the sinking of The Titanic in 1912.
He later worked for a magazine named Britannia and Eve where he specialised in pictures of ancient high life.
He liked to include voluptuous nudes in each picture.
He explained later: “The public demanded it. If there was no nude,then the editor or I would get a shower of letters from readers asking politely why not.”
Septimus Scott’s Blackpool poster was one of the earliest posters commissioned (in 1949) by the newly-formed British Railways, which was founded only the year before, on January 1 1948.
It is not known whether Mr Scott was a football fan, but the young woman prominently featured in his Blackpool poster is, coincidentally, wearing a bathing costume in Blackpool FC’s famous tangerine and white colours.
In the early and middle parts of the 20th century, when comparatively few people owned cars and when overseas breaks were beyond the financial reach of most holidaymakers, railway companies commissioned artists to produceeye-catching advertising posters in a bid to boost rail travel throughout Britain.
These posters used to adorn and brighten railway station platforms and waiting rooms and in recent years they have become increasingly sought-after.