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Canadian artist Wentworth D. Folkins is internationally recognized as one of the world’s most accomplished painters of steam trains and steamship subjects. His Love of steam trains and steamships and his unusual talent in depicting them. This comes from a close association with railways and steamships beginning from childhood. Wentworth’s father Donald, was a railroad man in the early years of Wentworth growing up. Growing up in the golden age of steam, the artist learned about his complex subject under the guidance of a sympathetic expert. That explains the technical accuracy of Folkins’ artwork, the meticulous attention to detail that has captivated art buffs and art collectors of railroads and steamboats. Wentworth did not simply paint trains, ships and other modes of transportation, he painted the relevance of every subject.

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His paintings captured what steam transportation meant to individuals and society more evocatively than words can express. The many train trips that a young Wentworth made with his engineer father during the 1930s and 1940s left an indelible impression with the impact of the railroad on a young and growing country.  Folkins knew very well that his artwork was about a vanished people and a vanishing lifestyle, not just about steam trains and steamships that were supplanted by the diesel engine era in the mid-1950s. Wentworth painted a number of different railways on his travels throughout Canada, United States, United Kingdom and countries in Europe.  


Wentworth D. Folkins was born in Cochrane, Ontario on August 12, 1928 and lived in a small northern Ontario community until the 1950s, attending both Primary and High School in the town.  Being a railroad man, his father had a family Canadian National Railway pass to travel yearly anywhere in North America. Quite obviously, the Folkins family were small-town people, so they chose to visit small towns. They understood small towns. There was a determined denial of the big city, urban drift and technological progress in his work. His focus on steam trains was an anchor that kept his imagination firmly rooted in small towns where the puffing locomotives once served, in a way of life that once was. In the artist’s loyalty to “things past” lay an unexpected treasure for all of us. His paintings are not really canvases at all, they are mirrors. They show us, when we look into them, the way we were…and perhaps, the way we should have remained.


The world of Wentworth D. Folkins has not been spun from an imaginary fabric of anywhere and anytime, it is firmly rooted in a place, time and reality where we have been…and to which we can never return. So, look first at the steam trains…it’s obligatory…and then look at the times, places and soul of the world that Folkins' steam locomotives and steamships evoke. Sooner or later, you’ll recognize some half-remembered part of yourself taking life on the canvas. This is evidence in the publication of Wentworth's book titled, “The Great Days of Canadian Steam.”

All Copyrights belong to Heritage Art Editions, Inc. and Artist Wentworth D. Folkins.

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