Our treat today is to luxuriate with not only one zone where brilliant graphic design is a given–namely, Canadian Pacific marketing–but a second powerhouse, namely, the masterful, Norman Wilkinson (1878-1971), one of the treasures responsible for the great stature of British Rail posters (and also a brilliant watercolorist and optics genius–devising camouflage for British ships during World War I).
Wilkinson was most memorable in mustering landscape and seascape atmospheres that went to the heart of the rapturous powers of panoramic space. His commission (in the 1920s) to illustrate an extensive booklet spotlighting the Canadian Pacific fleet of ocean liners manages, within the constraints of small size and offset printing, to evoke reveries of those moments of the elements taking over which we’ve all been touched by, however briefly.
Here we have the Empress of France making its way to the Atlantic by way of the St. Lawrence River. The publication wants prospective passengers to understand that a significant percentage of the voyage from Montreal to Europe benefits from the placid waters of that river. This nocturnal moment of vintage celebration has been provided with the serenity to absorb the depths and quiet sparkle of the vast night. The craft’s signature gold smokestacks basking in moonlight emit a signal of “all is well.” Continue reading