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Gathering of the Eagles by Clyde Heron. Historical American Civil art print of General Lee shown with confederate General Joseph E Johnson, Stonewall Jackson before Fredericksburg.

Gathering of Eagles by Clyde Heron.  

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Text for the above print as shown on the certificate:

Mr. Lincoln's "Prince of Procrastination," General George McClellan, had finally been prodded into action. On March 17th, 1862, one day ahead of the deadline imposed by the President, the first of McClellan's divisions embarked at Alexandria. "The worst is over," the general assured his superiors by letter. "Rely upon it that I will carry this thing through handsomely."

His optimism was short-lived. McClellan's peninsula campaign did not go nearly as smoothly as he had anticipated. It was May 24th before his forces occupied the village of Mechanicsville, still some five miles from Richmond. Here his progress was stalled because the Chickahominy River was on the rise and he had to put his men to work building no fewer than eleven bridges across the river in a twelve mile stretch south to Bottom's bridge. Then to add to his problems, he received word that General McDowell's 40,000 men would not be at his disposal as had been the plan.

Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston learned that McDowell was returning to Fredericksburg on the night of May 23rd, a move he knew he had precipitated by an event at Front Royal on May 23rd. A surprise attack by Stonewall Jackson upon General Nathanial Banks had set his main army to flight, half destroyed his wagon train, and in a full scale battle at Winchester, put the Federals into panic.

Now that Johnston did not have to worry about McDowell, he would attack the Federals south of the Chickahominy and overwhelm their left wing before it could be reinforced from across the river. The battle of Seven Pines began at 1.00pm on May 31st, when D. H. Hills division launched a massive attack, overrunning Casey's Federal troops. The battle raged on until dusk and Johnston concluded that the battle would have to continue the next day.

At about 7.00pm he rode toward the front with his young orderly and a staff colonel, seeing to the disposition of his troops. As he neared the edge of the battlefield, Johnston saw the officer duck his head as an enemy shell whistled by, Johnston smiled and said, "Colonel there is no use of dodging, when you hear them they have passed." Just then a Federal musket ball struck Johnston in the right shoulder. A moment later a heavy fragment of shell slammed into the general's chest, knocking him to the ground unconscious.

President Jefferson Davis and General Robert E. Lee greeted Johnston as he was moved to the rear. The severely wounded general had regained consciousness but was growing weaker and was taken from the field.

Davis pressed General Gustavus Smith, the ranking officer, for his plans since he would logically inherit command. Smith's hesitant replies did not suit Davis, and his mention of pulling back even closer to Richmond was unacceptable.

No one was near Lee and Davis as they rode slowly through the swarm of vehicles carrying the wounded into Richmond - not close enough to hear Davis' words which placed Lee in command; however, his most devoted biographer was to render them: "General Lee, I shall assign you to the command of this army. Make your preparations as soon as you reach your quarters. I shall send you the order when you get to Richmond."

Major Generals James Longstreet, A.P. Hill and D.H. Hill were already engaged in the theatre of operations, but before calling these commanders to council, Lee would add one more name to the list. He sent insistent dispatches to Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson urging him to hurry to Richmond. Lee put the order gently, "If you agree," but the compelling haste was clear in every line. Jackson was to conceal his movements and come as swiftly as possible to the capital. It was an order to delight Jackson; he might have written it himself.

At almost the same moment Jackson read Lee's order, General Banks was telegraphing Washington that Old Jack was advancing on him in overwhelming force. Jackson's answer to Lee's summons was not to be an easy task, a fifty-two mile ride in fourteen hours.

It was Sunday, June 27th, and Jackson chose to delay the start of his journey until 1.00am so that he would not break the Sabbath. It would be mid-afternoon before he arrived at Lee's headquarters in the Dabb's farmhouse near Richmond. He found Lee at work and waited for him in the yard, D.H. Hill arrived and was most surprised to find his newly-famous brother-in-law present for the meeting, since he had only yesterday been far down the valley confronting Banks. Yet there he was.

Things were bad, the barbed-tongued Hill told Jackson. His forces were being crushed by McClellan's huge army. There was little food, scarce supplies, and even their cannon were untrustworthy.

Jackson made little reply to his outspoken friend as they went inside. They were soon joined by Longstreet and H.P. Hill. Longstreet, a Union captain when the war came, was squat, stubborn, and becoming deaf at the age of 41. Red-haired A.P. Hill was hot-tempered, but brilliant and had yet to be tested in the field.

Lee began to explain the plan of assault on the Yankees. It was a bold plan, born of desperation in an effort to stave off a siege of Richmond. Lee was but 55. He had held command for just three weeks and had fought no battle beyond giving direction in the final hours of the inconclusive action at Seven Pines. Although there was a gentle authority in his voice, his manner of offering his plan bordered on humility. He spoke as became the man who had lately written on taken command from the wounded Johnston, "I wish his mantle had fallen on an abler man, or that I were able to drive our enemies back to their homes. I have no ambition and no desire to but the attainment of this object, and therefore only wish for its accomplishment by him that can do it most speedily and thoroughly."

Within the next four days, 85,000 Confederates faced 105,000 Bluecoats and emerged triumphant. Union General George McClellan not only lost men and supplies, he lost the initiative. Lee had his first victory. 

 

 

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 Depicting a Hercules dropping Paras at low level.

Low Level Para Drop by Tim Fisher.
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 US Air Force F15 Eagle over flys British Challenger Tank during the Gulf War.
Gulf Buddies by Geoff Lea.
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 Boeing Chinook of No.7 Squadron (detachment) from RAF Aldergrove, flying on supply duty in the west of the province.

Chinook over the Sperrins by David Pentland. (AP)
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 Designed by the great Ernst Heinkel, the diminutive D.1 was an essential stop-gap that provided the Austro-Hungarian pilots with a front line fighter until they were able to re-equip with Albatros scouts in the Summer of 1917. This little aircraft performed well and was generally held in high regard by its pilots, although it did have some shortcomings, namely that forward vision was extremely limited and the Schwarzloses gun was completely concealed in the overwing pod that made it inaccessible in the air. Most unusual of all was its interplane strut arrangement, designed to reduce drag, which gave it the nicknames Starstrutter or Spider. These examples are shown passing above the German cruiser Derfflinger.†

Brandenburg D.1 by Ivan Berryman. (GS)
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 With Italys entry into WW II on June 10, 1940, the epic two-and-one-half-year siege of Malta began. Symbolizing the defiant resistance of the people and defenders of that tiny island, the legend of Faith, Hope, and Charity grew from a handful of Gloster Sea Gladiators which initially comprised Maltas sole aerial defense. Until the arrival of the more modern Hawker Hurricanes, these obsolescent biplanes fought the Regia Aeronautica alone in the skies above Malta. Only six or seven Gladiators were assembled from the shipment of eighteen crated aircraft which had been delivered by the HMS Glorious. Others were utilized for spare parts, and three had been dispatched, still crated, to Egypt. Though hugely outnumbered, the defenders fought on, raising the morale of the citizens of Malta, and denying the Italians mastery of the sky. Suffering from a constant shortage of spare parts, tools and equipment, the devoted ground support crews were never able to keep more than three Gladiators operational at any point in time. Only one of these Gladiators was totally lost in aerial combat, and the sole surviving aircraft was presented to the people of Malta, and today stands in their National War Museum as a proud symbol of courage and endurance. In Stan Stokes painting, a Sea Gladiator, piloted by Flight Lt. James Pickering, tangles with a Fiat C.R. 42 over Malta in 1940 while an Italian Savoia S.79 tri-engined bomber passes by in the background. The Gloster Gladiator represented the zenith of development of the classic biplane fighter aircraft, a design formula which characterized an entire era from WW I until the advent of the monoplane fighter just before WW II. Glosters naval model of the Gladiator was equipped with a Bristol Mercury VIIIA engine providing a maximum speed of 253 MPH, a rate of climb of 2300 feet per minute, an operational ceiling of 32,200 feet, and a range of 415 miles. The Gladiator was armed with four .303 inch Browning machine guns, and incorporated several advanced features including an enclosed cockpit and wing flaps. One top RAF ace, Sqd. Ldr. Pattle, attained eleven victories flying the Gladiator. A total of 527 Gladiators were produced, and the aircraft served in twelve different countries. The Italians were overly persistent in their emphasis on biplane fighters, stemming from their successes with these highly maneuverable machines during the Spanish Civil War. Employing distinctive Warren-truss type interplane bracing the C.R. 42 was powered by a Fiat A74 R.C. 38 engine providing a maximum speed of 274 MPH and a range of 485 miles. The C.R. 42 was more lightly armed than the Gladiators it opposed, possessing only two 12.7mm Breda machine guns. The C.R 42 served on all of Italys fronts including North and East Africa, France, Britain, the Balkans, and Russia. Exported to Hungary, Sweden and Belgium, the C.R. 42 ironically served alongside the Gladiator in other theaters of operation during WW II.
Faith Hope and Charity†by Stan Stokes. (C)
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 A Mosquito Mk.BIX above the clouds in late 1943.  Mosquito B.IX LR503 holds the record for the most combat missions flown by a single Allied bomber in the Second World War, serving 213 sorties.

A De Havilland Beauty by Ivan Berryman.
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 Willi Reschkes Fw190A8 of III./JG301 during October 1944.
Willi Reschkes Fw190A8 of III./JG301 during October 1944.†by Ivan Berryman. (P)
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 Known among the Taliban forces as the <i>Mosquito</i>, the Apache AH-1 has proved itself a formidable and essential part of the British presence in Afghanistan, operated by 656 and 664 Squadrons of 9 Regiment AAC.  Two AH-1s are depicted here landing after a close support mission in 2010.

A Brace of Hunters by Ivan Berryman. (P)
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NAVAL PRINTS

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On 17th June 1944, 780 miles west of Saipan in Mid Pacific, the Gato class submarine USS Cavalla dives after a lucky sighting of a Japanese Naval Task Force, which included the aircraft carriers Taiho, Shokaku and Zuikaku. The Cavalla then trailed the Japanese, attacking and sinking the Shokaku on the 19th.

A Chance Encounter by Robert Barbour (AP)
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HMS Prince of Wales is shown firing on the Bismarck and in the background a huge black cloud is all that is left of HMS Hood.

HMS Prince of Wales by Brian Wood (C)
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 To increase the strength of the US fleet in the Pacific during the critical early months of the war, USS Indiana went through the Panama Canal. On the 28th of November 1942 USS Indiana joined Rear Admiral Lee's aircraft carrier screening force. For the next 11 months, USS Indiana helped protect USS Enterprise and USS Saratoga, which had been supporting the US invasion on the Solomon Islands. On the 21st of October 1943 USS Indiana went to Pearl Harbor, but after only a couple of weeks left to support forces designated for the invasion of the Gilbert Islands. The battleship protected the carriers which supported the Marines during the bloody fight for Tarawa atoll. Then, in late January 1944, she bombarded Kwajalein for eight days prior to the Marshall Island landings on 1st February 1944. USS Indiana collided with the battleship USS Washington while refuelling destroyers, killing several men. Temporary repairs to her starboard side were made at Majuro and USS Indiana returned to Pearl Harbor on 13th February 1944 for additional repair work. The painting shows USS Indiana with one of the two carriers she protected.

USS Indiana, First Tour of Duty by Anthony Saunders. (YB)
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B64.  HMS Centaur Departing Devonport by Ivan Berryman.

HMS Centaur Departing Devonport by Ivan Berryman.
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 Having played a vital part in the battle for the Mediterranean for over two years, HMS Ark Royal finally succumbed to a U-Boats torpedo in November 1941. She is shown here with a pair of Swordfish Mk1s of 821 Sqn ranged on the deck, passing the cruiser HMS Sheffield off the Mole, Gibraltar, earlier that same year.

HMS Ark Royal and HMS Sheffield off the Mole, Gibraltar by Ivan Berryman (Y)
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 The largest and fastest of all the ships that took part in the Battle of Jutland, the elegant battle cruiser HMS Tiger was launched in 1913 and is easily recognisable by the unusual position of Q turret just aft of the third funnel, She is shown about  to pass beneath the Forth Bridge as she departs Rosyth for a sea trial

HMS Tiger by Ivan Berryman
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 The Type 22 Broadsword Class frigate HMS Cumberland (F85) enters Grand Harbour, Malta, during the evacuation of Libyan refugees in the Spring of 2011, during which time she rescued 454 people from the uprising as well as enforcing an arms embargo before returning to her home port of Plymouth in readiness for decommissioning in June 2011.

HMS Cumberland by Ivan Berryman. (P)
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VAR347B. H.M.A.S. Wyhalla 1943 by Brian Wood.
H.M.A.S. Wyhalla 1943 by Brian Wood (B)
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9th (Irish) Field Battery firing on the Run-in-shoot to Queen Beach. They were the first rounds fired at the Normandy Coast, D-Day 6th June, 1944. Queen Beach, one of the 4 sectors of Sword Beach, where most of the landings of D-Day were carried out. The Queen Beach sector which extended for 1.5km between Lion-sur-Mer and the western edge of Ouistretham. The attack was thus concentrated on a narrow one-brigade front. For once the DD tanks and other armour came in exactly on time and ahead of the infantry. The 8th brigade, with the 1st Battalion of the South Lancashire Regiment on the right and the 2nd East Yorkshire on the left.

Operation Overlord by David Rowlands (B)
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 Superb figure study of the 82nd Airborne in 1944.

82nd Airborne by Chris Collingwood.
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 Hauptsturm fuhrer Fritz Klingenberg, and the men of 2nd SS Divisions Motorcycle Reconnaissance battalion stop at the swollen banks of the River Danube. The following day he and six men, a broken down radio, and totally unsupported were to capture the Yugoslavian capital of Belgrade.

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DHM1079GL.  The 1st Battalion Duke of Wellingtons Regiment at the Battle of Sittang Bridge, Burma, February 1942 by David Rowlands.

The 1st Battalion Duke of Wellingtons Regiment at the Battle of Sittang Bridge, Burma, February 1942 by David Rowlands (GL)
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 British MK1 Grant tanks of the Staffordshire Yeomanry 8th Armoured Brigade, 10th Armoured Division, breakout from El Alamein.

Operation Supercharge, 4th November 1941 by David Pentland. (AP)
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 Oberfeldwebel Albert Kerscher, commander of 2nd company 511 Heavy Tank Battalion aided by a Panzer IV, two Hetzers, a Kingtiger and a Pak gun, successfully defended against concerted Soviet air and armoured attacks, his action buying valuable time for the evacuation of German wounded from Pilau and scoring his 100th victory in the process.

Kerschers Defence of Neuhauser Forest by David Pentland. (AP)
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 Polish 7TP (Twin Turret) light tank of Captain F. Michalowskis training company breaks out from the street barricade to counter attack German reconnaissance elements.

Warsaw, September 1939 by David Pentland.
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 Replacements from 1st Battalion Irish Guards and Sherman tanks of the 46th Royal Tank Regiment move through the debris of Anzio town towards their jump-off positions for the Battle of Campoleone Station.

Anzio, Italy, February 1944 by David Pentland. (Y)
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