Darent Valley Vision

Six beautiful posters for the Darent Valley Line! Last year, the Darent Valley Community Rail Partnership invited artists to submit work for a project to represent each of the six station areas through art. A short-list of artists was created and voted on, and a deserving winner emerged: Kit Boyd.

An established British romantic artist, Kit Boyd’s work reflects his love of nature and place. A lifelong fan of Shoreham artist Samuel Palmer, together with Eric Ravilious, Edward Bawden and another local Graham Sutherland (who were each commissioned to make railway art), it was wonderful that Kit had the chance to record his own responses to our beautiful part of Kent. He visited each station several times, talking to locals, visiting landmarks, exploring local museums. He sketched constantly, making careful decisions, weighing up what each place meant, choosing elements to include. The final artworks then came together, with several vibrant linocuts, one ink drawing and a watercolour, now complete.

Vintage railway poster
Vintage railway poster
Vintage railway poster
Vintage railway poster
Vintage railway poster
Vintage railway poster

In each image there are small details reflecting the history or special features of each area – search for a subtle solar system in the Otford pond, a towering cumulus cloud in the Shoreham image (very Samuel Palmer), Virginia Woolf’s character Orlando sitting under a tree in Knole Park, or the markets and horticultural history captured in Swanley’s poster.

The finished posters (designed by Tim Higginson at Queste Design) were inspired by the beautiful 1920s/30s rail travel posters, which captured people’s hearts and remain well loved today. Commissioned in the main by the visionary London Transport executive Frank Pick, these formed part of a ‘public art gallery’, with artworks created by some of the most talented artists of the day. Pick believed in the power of good design to brighten up our lives and used these images to encourage travellers to try new routes, or use train travel for shopping or theatre trips. Sometimes the destinations were a long way out of London (sounds familiar?) and enticing images of the countryside drew people further afield.

Our posters will be used as part of a big campaign on Southeastern and Thameslink train platforms – and on social media and beyond – all designed to encourage sustainable visits to and within the Darent Valley.

Keep an eye out for an exhibition of Kit Boyd’s work, together with famous posters on loan from the National Rail Museum and London Transport, later in the year.

Posters for sale!

More information about the project and a chance to order exclusive prints to follow soon.  We will be selling prints (A4, A3 and A2) at Bat & Ball Station Cafe (open 6.30am to 2pm Mon to Fri) in the next few days for £6, £10 and £15 respectively and are working on an online shop as fast as possible.   Thank you for all the enthusiastic poster-related emails to date so far – note that we will keep your data only for the purposes of contacting you about the arrival of the posters.

Contact us with your ideas