Sir Norman Wilkinson was a successful marine painter and illustrator. He was also responsible for developing the concept of “dazzle camouflage” for British warships during the First World War. But it was as a poster artist that he reached his highest artistic level. In 1905, Wilkinson was commissioned by the London and North Western Railways to produce a poster advertising their rail/steam link to Ireland.
Recognising the opportunity to create a new approach to railway poster design, he depicted the product as just one element of a broader landscape. It was the first time this had been done and its revolutionary concept was an important influence in the development of the pictorial poster.
This painting depicts a stretch of the river Bann, in Northern Ireland. In the background is the town of Coleraine, which is the main town of the world famous Causeway Coast. The bridge was built in 1844; the people and traffic can be seen crossing the bridge.
In the centre is a flock of seagulls gathering over a part of the river, Wilkinson captures there movement beautifully. The fisherman looks on across the water as he rows the traditional way of standing with one oar.
To the left of the foreground Wilkinson has bravely added the trawler boat, which adds a real sense of life to the work. The work as a whole seems to be about movement, from the water to the clouds, capturing a glimpse of this place to visit.
Museums & Galleries
Royal Academy, Royal Society of British Artists, Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours, Royal Institute of Oil Painters, Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, Abbey Gallery, Royal Society of Artists, Birmingham, Beaux Arts Gallery, Imperial War Museum, National Maritime Museum, National Railway Museum and the Ulster Museum.