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 Montague Birrell Black  (1884 - 1964)

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Lived/Active: England      Known for: marine painting, illustrator, lithographs and poster art--railroads and ships

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Ad Code: 4
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
The battle cruiser H.M.S. Indefatigable steaming at speed
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Montague B. Black, also known by the name Montague Birrell Black, was a renowned British painter, illustrator and poster artist best known for work in producing watercolor artworks to serve as the basis of lithographs for the White Star Line, the British Underground Group, and the four major British Railway Lines. 

Born in Stockwell, London, England, on March 29, 1884, he identified his chosen profession as a “Lithographic Artist” as early as the age of seventeen.  He was educated at Stockwell College, London.

Black was extremely active as an lithographic artist between 1910 and 1936, creating, among numerous other posters, an illustration of the HMS Titanic and her sister Ship, HMS Olympic, shortly after the construction of the vessels.   

Around 1910 a number of his paintings were registered at Stationers Hall in London for commercial use; these are now held at the Public Record Office at Kew, London.  He created dozens of decorative map posters for the major British railways such as British Railways and LNER.  In 1926, he created one of his more renowned works that is currently on display at the London Transport Museum, London, 2026 A.D. – This is all in the Air, which was designed to illustrate a future London where airships were the primary mode of transportation. 

During World War II, Black served as a War Correspondent for the Toronto Star.  His lithographic and artistry work continued until the 1950’s, when he created additional map posters for British Railways.  One of his last works was a watercolor image, Shakespeare’s Birthplace, which was presented to Millionaire and Art Aficionado Huntington Hartford in 1954 “in appreciation for what he has given to the Arts.” 

Montague B. Black died in 1964 in Kensington, Greater London in 1964. 

Written and submitted by Mark E. Johnson

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