This exceptional oil on canvas was composed by the great British artist David Shepherd. Masterfully composed, it brings together two of the renowned painter’s passions – painting and steam locomotives. Shepherd owned a number of locomotives, all of them British built, which came to serve as the basis for his most coveted oils. Highly detailed, the works bring to life the majesty and might of British industry through the form of these titans of the railways.
In In the Sheds, Swindon, Shepherd depicts not one, but two impressive locomotives – the “Earl of Berkeley,” a Great Western Railway 3200 Class (or ‘Earl’ Class) locomotive, and the Great Western Railway No. 6622 5600 Class locomotive. In Shepherd’s typical style, the painting pays homage to the powerful machines, which are exactingly rendered in all their grandeur. The imposing locomotives are shown in the Swindon Railway Works, the principal west England maintenance center for the Great Western Railway company from 1843 until 1986. A trail of tools and extra parts imply they are undergoing repair, though Shepherd’s work still successfully conveys the strength and intimidating size of the historic engines.
Born in 1931 in London, David Shepherd was not only one of his generation’s most well-known artists, but also an outspoken preservationist. At the age of just 8 years old, he won a painting competition for the magazine Nursery World, marking the beginning of his painting career. Yet, after his school years he traveled to Kenya in the hopes of becoming a game warden. Though he was rejected, the trip would ignite his passions for wildlife and wildlife preservation.
He continued to paint throughout his lifetime, and many of his canvases took as their subjects the wildlife that he had grown to love. In addition to his animal subjects, he also dedicated paintings to the locomotive. He was a famed collector of steam locomotives, devoting much of his time later in his life to the preservation of these powerful engines. He was heavily involved in the founding of a heritage steam railway, the East Somerset Railway, and owned a number of historic locomotives. Both his painting of animals and steam engines were remarkably popular amongst the collecting public, and they remain highly prized today.
Canvas: 24” high x 36” wide
Frame: 32” high x 44” wide
Purchased directly from the artist by Great Western Railway