|Christine Sanderson at rear of 78 Derngate.|
I'm delighted to welcome Christine Sanderson onto my blog today talking about her non-fiction book Bassett-Lowke Art. The Making of an Identity.
Many readers will be familiar with model train sets and model boats from childhood days and may recall that the leading figure in manufacturing these wonderful old models was Mr W.J. Bassett-Lowke.
As the son of an engineer, Wenman Joseph Bassett-Lowke was born in Northampton in 1877. He grew up with a love of model engineering and steam trains. His model trains and scaled ships became famous the world over.
The first house Bassett-Lowke owned was 78 Derngate in Northampton, today a Grade II* Listed Building and a popular tourist attraction in the town once noted for its shoe industry. However, the building isn’t famous just because of the man who owned it. It’s also renowned for being the only house in England remodelled by the famous Scottish architect, Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Incidentally, this year marks the 150th anniversary of his birth. Sadly, he makes headline news today because of the devastating fire at the Glasgow School of Art where so much of his work was displayed.
A visit to 78 Derngate reveals so much about both of these forward-thinking men. And I was fortunate enough to enjoy a conducted tour around 78 Derngate recently with Christine. She has been involved with this house since 2000 and is an expert and enthusiast on Mr Bassett-Lowke.
Christine explained that it all started with her going on Northampton Radio, hoping to find people who worked for Bassett-Lowke. She explained, “Another renowned figure who worked with him at the time was skilled model maker E.W.Twining; and I was so pleased when his great-grandson’s wife contacted me. We met up and she showed me a Bassett-Lowke catalogue cover that Twining had designed. This started me wondering about all the other catalogues.”
Christine went on a year-long quest to source these rare catalogues and acquire the necessary copyright permissions to use them in her book. Christine said, “I was really lucky as everyone was so helpful and these people have been acknowledged at the end of the book. Only one museum insisted on payment for the right
s to use their images – so we were very
“The curator of 78 Derngate, Liz Jansson assisted with the editing and Friends of 78 Derngate paid for the publishing. All the proceeds from the book go straight to 78 to help with the upkeep of this wonderful property. The book is available exclusively from 78 Derngate’s shop and online. It’s a book that will appeal to lots of train people and graphic design people.”
Christine is already working on her second book which will be about the advertisements that Bassett-Lowke placed in hundreds of publications. Its title will be Bassett-Lowke Advertisements. The making of an Identity.
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Pics of Christine and trains courtesy of Rob Tysall.