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John T Kenney

A Bold New Approach (1957 - 1962)

John Theodore Eardley Kenney (to give him his full name!) took up the job of illustrating the Railway Series after the departure of C Reginald Dalby.  Like his predecessor, he had studied at Leicester College of Art, but unlike him, he had an enthusiam for his work and the appreciation of his author into the bargain!  


Kenney was often to be found illustrating locomotives from life, in order to give greater validity in his pictures, in turn they were longer, bigger and more svelte in appearance.  They were also bolder and much more realistic than Dalby's pictures too, with his human characters contributing to that as well in their actions, with people running, pushing barrows, even smoking if you notice the first illustration within The Twin Engines.


The relationship between the two was much more friendly too.  In their whole eight year working period, Awdry had met Dalby twice in person, found him to be quite aimiable in spite of not liking his work.  He payed several visits to see John Kenney and his wife throughout their time working together.  However, Kenney's association with the series was to be cut short also as he began suffering trouble with his eyesight.  Despite producing some amazing artwork in spite of it for his final book in 1962 - Gallant Old Engine - Kenney did the honourable thing and gave up the ghost.  He died age 61 in 1972, at which time an exhibition of his paintings were shown in Chicago.

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