The Maritime Art of Kenneth D. Shoesmith by Glyn L. Evans


Many will recognise the art of Kenneth Shoesmith but very few are familiar with his name or how he became such a prolific artist whose posters tempted many to take cruises to exotic locations. These posters now serve to instill pure nostalgia for long lost unspoiled locations and the magnificent passenger liners that carried passengers there before the days of air travel. Despite his high quality maritime art output, Kenneth Shoesmith has never received the recognition that his work deserves, in fact he isn’t listed in the major reference work for 20th Century maritime artists! This oversight has now been rectified by Glyn Evans whose detailed research has not only produced a book filled with a wonderful selection of Kenneth’s work but which also provides a long overdue biography. All mariners who have seen Kenneth’s work will have admired his attention to detail and recognised that the accuracy of the ship details place him amongst the finest of maritime artists. Glyn’s research reveals that the reason for this accuracy was that Kenneth Shoesmith was a professional mariner who served as Chief Officer with the Royal Mail Line throughout WW1 prior to becoming a full time artist in the early 1920’s. From his childhood and apprenticeship as a Conway boy through to his untimely death in 1939, the book details his unique art. The majority of Kenneth’s work was commissioned by his old shipping company, the Royal Mail Line but other shipping lines and travel companies also commissioned many works and this proves that good quality poster art was considered as important for commercial success in the inter war years as TV advertising is today. But who will ever remember any of today’s advertising output? Kenneth’s greatest commission was for several very large panels for the Cunard liner Queen Mary and Glyn devotes several pages to these important works which still survive intact.  JCB

THE MARITIME ART OF KENNETH D. SHOESMITH.   94 pages   ISBN 978-1-85794-358-0  Price £30

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