Vintage wooden jigsaw of the opening day of the S&DR


A vintage wooden jigsaw puzzle which appears to feature a delightful painting by Josef Danilowatz (1877-1845). The image looks like Locomotion No.1 hauling two passenger carriages while a well-dressed couple look on.  It is a thirty piece jigsaw made with chunky wooden pieces. The box has been stored under a heavy object and so has been flattened and it has marks where sellotape has kept it closed; as is normal for period pieces, the staples on the box have rusted. This fun image may have been displayed on a wall (an excellent idea) as the corner pieces have small pin holes in them. One corner piece has also laminated (see photos).


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The painting might be a fanciful take on the opening day of the S&DR in 1825 – the locomotive is reasonably accurate as Locomotion No.1 except for the wheels. There is no evidence of it ever hauling two such passenger coaches though; on the opening day it hauled many waggons but only one passenger coach. Like other examples of Danilowatz’s work it is great fun, colourful and combines his skills of steam locomotive and industrialisation depiction and cartoons. He may have been motivated to paint it by the centenary celebrations in 1925.

The artist Josef Danilowatz (1877-1945) was painting early locomotives in the 1920s and was responsible for a range of classic Märklin catalogue covers and interior artwork during the 1930s. Born and educated in Vienna, Danilowatz was a successful cartoonist/illustrator (in Die Muskete) and an excellent portraitist, but his ‘speciality’ was his ability to use his enthusiasm for technology to produce a series of dramatically inspiring images of steam locomotives and railway scenes, which were a perfect match for the illustration needs of the Märklin toy company.

This jigsaw box has a label on the back stating Cecil Series Puzzle, Made in England


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