City of Germiston

Original, Painting | 105 × 70 cm | Framed


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Oil on canvas.

Dimensions : Canvas 86 x 51cm; Frame 105 x 70cm

David Shepherd gifted this painting to the museum in South Africa for a fundraising event called ‘A Brush with Steam’.  Each buyer was given a raffle ticket when they bought a print, with the prize being the original painting.  David was then given the steam engine ‘City of Germiston’  which he transported back the UK.  The owner had much in common with David, both having been to  Stowe School, as well as being steam enthusiasts with connections with GWR in the UK.

As quoted by David: “I first went to Germiston Sheds, South Africa, on the very day that steam was ending in Britain at the end of 1968.  To walk into a steam shed where there are over 200 locomotives with most of them in steam, was a magical experience for any steam enthusiast.  In Britain, we had got rid of our great steam-railway heritage in scenes of squalor and degradation. In South Africa, it was very much alive and it was so exciting.  All the engines we moving in every direction – shunting, hauling trains, and moving in and out of the shed.  The whole area seemed to fill up with choking smoke, which is part of the glory of steam to someone like me.  The whole place was a hive of activity.  The African shed staff were everywhere, pushing wheelbarrows filled with ashes, cleaning out pits, and washing out the boilers with floods of water gushing in clouds of steam.  On my last visit to Germiston, there were the familiar scrap lines, I had come to know so well – hundreds of locomotives in long lines, many of them with years of life ahead of them but with their firs cold, forlorn and neglected.  In South Africa, it seemed even more illogical – with so much coal and cheap labour.”

The painting portrays a 15F Class, doing the job that it was designed to do, hauling freight trains, past one of the ‘gold tips’ around Johannesburg. The story continues with David shipping the train to the UK and renaming her ‘Avril’ after his wife.


David Shepherd CBE

David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation
David Shepherd CBE was a founding father of the wildlife art movement whose work has become synonymous with Africa, wildlife and conservation. Known as ‘The Man who Loved Giants’ for his iconic elephant artwork, for decades his paintings have graced the walls of homes, libraries, exhibitions and public spaces and excite a passion in the viewer much like the emotion he felt during the creation of his work.

David was best loved for his archetypal African scenes portraying dusty waterholes teaming with life, capturing the heat and haze of an African landscape, all of which bring to life the sounds, smells and textures of a continent he called his second home. Beyond wildlife art, David had a prolific painting career which focused on many other topics and subjects. With an equal passion and love for military subjects, steam trains, landscapes and lesser seen portraits, his numerous originals and prints are held by collectors around the world.