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The art of uk motoring artists

Ferguson John

Year working: Working 1920’s to 1960’s

John Ferguson was a technical illustrator and cutaway artist who worked for The Autocar. Like so many technical artists there is little documented about him. John Ferguson first drawing seen in the Autocar is in 1928 and he was still working in the 1960’s. Many people believe John Ferguson’s work was the best art of the contemporary cutaway artists. He used a combination of pen and ink with monotone wash to give a very soft uniform finished work without losing detail. Some early cutaways of the 1930’s have been seen with air-brushed backgrounds. Artistically his art always is very pleasing where some cutaway art is either too complicated or stark contrast black & white. John Ferguson was also excellent at doing technical illustrations and small sketches of which he was a master. John Ferguson worked at The Autocar with two of the other acknowledged technical illustrators Max Millar and Gordon Crosby. Max Millar it is believed introduced cutaway illustrations to the motor industry and we see the first cutaways appearing in the Autocar in 1926. (Max Millar had previously worked in the aircraft industry). Prior to that technical illustrations often showed a rolling chassis without wheels as so accurately portrayed by Gordon Crosby. So it would appear that John Ferguson was one of the pioneers of this art form in the motor industry. The other surprising aspect of John Ferguson’s art is that his style changed very little and whether the work is from the 1920’s or 1960’s all are instantly recognisable as his work. The early art is signed FERGUSON in a 45degree line with a stepped line exaggerating the ‘S’ but by the mid 1930’s his signature had changed to a script John Ferguson. The larger cutaways are always on board but some of the smaller detail studies are on cartridge paper. It is very unfortunate that we know so little about this artist who was obviously an acknowledged expert.

Further reference


AJS cutaway 1932

Armstrong Siddeley details 1932

Austin 12 6 1933

Riley Sprite sports1934

Wolseley Hornet

Austin Twin Cam Racer 1936

Humber Super Snipe 1938

Austin A40 1946

Hillman Minx 1947

Sunbeam Talbot 80

Austin A40 1958

Sunbeam Tiger Sports

Mini Countryman