Over on Liberal England there is a posting today charting the decline in Western Civilisation as it is reflected in railway advertising. Jonathan chooses as his example of the best in advertising the 1925(?) picture by Fortunino Matania of Southport. This is just one of a number of collaborations between London Midland and Scottish Railways and Southport Council to promote the town. When The Atkinson art gallery re-opens it's doors visitors will be able to see the original artworks again. Initially Matania was commissioned by Southport to produce six paintings of 'Sunny Southport'
The same poster that Jonathan uses was also used by the old Cheshire Lines Railway best remembered in Southport today for the excellent Cheshire Lines pub on King Street.
The Atkinson also has the original of the famous painting advertising Winter Holidays in Southport which I note the catalogue says is from 1925. I'm a little uncertain about that as the Garrick Theatre was not built until the 1930's on the site of the Opera House which had burnt down. The theatre in the picture is clearly the art nouveau building designed by local architect George Tonge
There are those who if they wished to chart the decline in western Civilisation would choose the Garrick Theatre site which has gone from Frank Matcham's Opera House to Bingo Hall since 1891.
There is another link between Fortunino Matania and Liberal England; namely Charles Masterman an old dear friend of Lord Bonkers. Masterman headed up the British War Propaganda Bureau in WW1. It was he who commissioned War Artists like Paul Nash to go to the front. Fortunino Matania was also commissioned and in the royal holiday period it is worth recording he was a greatly admired by King George.
Masterman belonged to a generation of radical Liberals. He was closely involved in parliament in the introduction of the People's Budget and the National Insurance Act. His book The Condition of England focused primarily on the life of the 'labouring classes'. As such he was part of the move away from a simplistic belief in markets and the 'small state' towards the Social Liberal case championed by L T Hobhouse that there was a necessary and proper relationship between the state and other economic actors. There is no doubt the Southport Corporation investing in Fortunino Matania was a shrewd move and helped local businesses to grow....