My latest acquisition – this years’ Christmas present to myself – is this superb painting by Northern Irish Transport artist David Briggs. Painted a few years ago by the artist for his own collection it had only just come on the market and was a rare opportunity to acquire his work as these days he only undertakes commissions. It was in fact the painting that originally drew my attention to his work when I started this site but I never thought that one day I would be lucky enough to own it!
Titled “Cork Departure” it depicts Great Southern Railway of Ireland’s locomotive No.800 Maedb (Maeve) lifting the heavy 4.00pm mails for Dublin from Glanmire Road station (now Kent) in Cork in late August 1939 when the locomotive was only a few weeks into service. Prior to its introduction the mail trains – some of the heaviest trains in the country at the time, often of 450 tons – required two, and sometimes three, locomotives to get up the gradient out of Cork which is in places 1:60.
One of my favourite railway locations and definitely my favourite Irish locomotive this painting has everything; and the attention to detail is amazing, right down to little things like the bus just visible over the wall on the station forecourt.
Today the “Maedb” is preserved as a static exhibit at the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum near Belfast, but that doesn’t stop the dreamers among us hoping to see her restored to steam at some future date and returning to her old stomping ground on the Dublin/Cork line.
David Briggs remains available for commissions but his order book is usually full and you may have to get in line. He can be contacted via his Facebook page here: The Transport Artwork of David Briggs