Sayer’s Pictorial Map of Somerset



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The National Railway Museum appears to hold artwork for a pictorial map of Somerset commssioned by the GWR in 1936, so this may be a revised and updated version.

In common with other pictorial maps of this era, which were intended to encourage passengers to make extra journeys for leisure travel, the map is liberally peppered with antiquarian notes and anecdotes, once again inspired by some of the chattier early maps (Emanuel Bowen’s spring to mind, in a county context).

Artists appear to have been given a reasonable degree of leeway in terms of what they were allowed to highlight. Myths and legends, historical (where Alfred burned the cakes) and supernatural (dragons and headless horsemen) and somewhere in between (Cadbury Castle as the site of Camelot) jostle with the verifiable, such as the discovery of the Alfred Jewel and the site of the last battle fought on English soil (Sedgemoor). There are also titbits one hopes are verifiable: Ashton Court, outside Bristol, is described as one of the last houses where a jester was kept.

Jack Sayer (1901-1984) was a commercial artist and graphic designer active from the early 1930s onward. He produced pictorial map posters (mostly of counties and towns) for the GWR and LMS, and after the war for British Railways. He also created a series of small pictorial plans for a ‘Survey of London and other historic towns’ which was issued in monthly parts by the Strand Magazine, and then reissued in book form.

Condition & Materials

Quad royal station map, approx 40 x 50 inches (this example 101 x 126.5 cm), printed in colours, light original folds, blank verso. Printed for British Railways (Western Region)


Sayer’s Pictorial Map of Somerset


SAYER, John Pearson


Jordison & Co. Ltd

Place of publication


Date of publication




Printed Area Measurements

101 x 126.5 cm