The golden age of travel

In today’s world of advanced technology and electronic gadgets, there’s a certain charm in reflecting upon the origins of toys that captivated hearts and minds in a bygone era. With their simple yet elegant designs, tinplate toys have a unique place in the history of playthings. One such treasured piece is Marklin’s Viktoria, a tinplate 39-inch toy ship that takes us back to the golden age of ocean liner design.
The history of tinplate toys traces back to the mid-1800s, with Germany being a prominent hub for their production. Marklin created many exquisite toys, but the ships were simply remarkable. Viktoria is one of the finest examples of early 20th-century toy ships, a testament to their craftsmanship and innovation. I have had the pleasure of painting this particular toy several times, each brush stroke bringing out the intricate details and nostalgic allure of this bygone era.
Viktoria represents a time when transatlantic passenger travel was a grand adventure, marked by the debut of opulent liners like the White Star Liner Oceanic in 1870. The ship, spanning an impressive 400 feet, traversed the vast ocean, connecting Liverpool to New York, Boston, and Quebec. It was an era where the journey itself was a voyage of luxury and anticipation.
In my painting, Viktoria finds herself in an unexpected yet enchanting setting—a serene winter’s day. The ship rests gracefully within a small ice pool. The courageous owner has braved the weather and created just enough space in the ice to show off their prized possession, defying the cold and embracing the spirit of adventure. The vibrant blue-green water contrasts the monochromatic landscape, symbolising resilience and a longing for freedom even in the harshest conditions.
This portrayal encapsulates the essence of Viktoria’s journey—a journey that transcended seasons and circumstances, embodying the enduring human spirit of exploration and adventure. The Marklin Viktoria tin toy ship is not merely a relic of the past but a timeless representation of the pursuit of adventure and the elegance of a bygone era—a toy to be cherished by children and adults alike. ​

Exotic Journeys, Winter, Oil on Linen 125 cm x 95 cm

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