Home Page
Order Enquiries (UK) : 01436 820269

You currently have no items in your basket

Buy with confidence and security!
Publishing historical art since 1985

Don't Miss Any Special Deals - Sign Up To Our Newsletter!

Product Search         

HMS Illustrious by Robert Taylor. - Cranston Fine Arts Aviation, Military and Naval Art
Massive savings on this month's big offers including our BUY ONE GET ONE HALF PRICE offer on many prints and many others at HALF PRICE or with FREE PRINTS!
Many of our offers end in 16 hours, 16 minutes!
View our Special Offers

HMS Illustrious by Robert Taylor.

HMS Illustrious by Robert Taylor.

Royal Navy carrier Illustrious in Grand Harbour, Malta.

One available only - this was a companion print to a larger print.
AMAZING VALUE! - The value of the signatures on this item is in excess of the price of the print itself!
Item Code : RT0004HMS Illustrious by Robert Taylor. - This Edition
PRINTSigned limited edition of 250 prints.

Drake, Billy
Crosley, Mike
Twiss, Peter
+ Artist : Robert Taylor

Signature(s) value alone : 140
All prices on our website are displayed in British Pounds Sterling

Other editions of this item : HMS Illustrious by Robert Taylor. RT0004
Only one artist proofs edition available.

Drake, Billy
Crosley, Mike
Twiss, Peter
+ Artist : Robert Taylor

Signature(s) value alone : 140
General descriptions of types of editions :

Signatures on this item

The signature of Commander Mike Crosley DSC* Royal Navy (deceased)

Commander Mike Crosley DSC* Royal Navy (deceased)
*Signature Value : £35

Robert Michael Crosley was born on February 24 1920 , Mike Crosley was a Metropolitan Police constable (a reserved occupation) when war broke out, but volunteered on the day of the Fleet Air Arm strike on Taranto, November 11 1940. Fleet Air Arm Ace Mike Crosley joined the carrier HMS Eagle in late 1941, one of four FAA pilots flying Sea Hurricanes in defence of the Malta convoys, On June 12 he was on alert on the deck of HMS Eagle. After two hours strapped in his cockpit, he was expecting to stand down when he heard the klaxon sound. Within a few moments he was airborne, being directed by radar to an enemy aircraft; and when his flight leader turned back with engine trouble, Crosley decided to pursue the enemy alone. He closed until the wingspan of the three-engined Italian bomber filled his gunsight, then pressed the trigger. At that moment he noted sparks coming from the underside of the bomber it was the enemy returning fire. Then smoke burst from the Italians engines and its wingtip came dangerously close as it dived towards the sea. Crosley followed, determined to finish it off; but as he emerged from the cloud he saw the bomber floating on the water with a yellow life raft beside it. The next day Crosley shot down a twin-engined German fighter-bomber. He wove in and out of the Germans slipstream, and when the target filled his gunsight he fired one long burst which hit the aircrafts wing, "sparking like firecrackers". In August 1942, during Operation Pedestal, he was lucky to escape with his life after the carrier was torpedoed and sunk by U73. She capsized within 7 minutes. He later joined HMS Biter flying Sea Hurricanes, in Operation Torch. and on November 8 he shot down two Vichy French fighters in a dogfight over the airfield of La Senia, near Oran. He was awarded his first DSC. Mike Crosley was then selected to pass on his experience to new fighter pilots at HMS Dipper, near Yeovilton, where he flew the Royal Navys version of the Spitfire, known as the Seafire. By D-Day Crosley had joined 886 Naval Air Squadron, flying Seafires from Lee-on-the-Solent. His role was to direct the fire of the heavy ships which were bombarding the German defences. On the second day of the Allied landings he shot down a German Bf109, which crashed 15 miles south-west of Caen, and two days later damaged an Fw190 which he chased in a dogfight through the skies over Normandy. After D-Day Mike Crossley was appointed to command 880 Naval Air Squadron; this was based in Orkney as part of 30 Naval Air Wing, which embarked in the fleet carrier Implacable and carried out a series of attacks on German shipping in the fjords of Norway. By the time the war ended 880 Squadron and Implacable were prosecuting the war in the Pacific, striking at the Japanese mainland. Crosley was mentioned in despatches, and in August 1945 received a Bar to his DSC. he finished the war in the Far East, with 5.5 victories. After the war Mike Crosley joined No 6 Empire Test Pilots Course, and left the Navy to test Shorts flying boats under development in Belfast. On the outbreak of the Korean War he rejoined the Navy, helping to train new pilots and flying 75 missions over Korea from the carrier Ocean. He wrote pilots notes for a range of aircraft, which he flew to their limits, and was awarded the Queens Commendation for Valuable Services in the Air. In 1954-55 he was commanding officer of 813 Squadron, flying the Wyvern from the new HMS Eagle. In 1958 Crosley was promoted commander and returned to test flying at Boscombe Down, making the first deck landings of the Buccaneer low-level bomber. Mike Crosley logged 2,818 flying hours in 147 different types of aircraft and made 415 deck landings. Throughout the war he kept extensive diaries, on which he based two books: They Gave Me a Seafire (1986) and In Harms Way (1995). Sadly Mike Crosley died at the age of 90 on the 20th June 2010.

The signature of Group Captain Billy Drake DSO DFC* (deceased)

Group Captain Billy Drake DSO DFC* (deceased)
*Signature Value : £50

Joined the R.A.F. in 1936. His first posting was to 1 squadron flying Furies then Hurricanes and first saw action over France in the Spring of 1940 and was awarded his first DFC by the end of the year. As a Squadron Leader he was sent to West Africa to command 128 Squadron. 1942 saw his commanding 112 squadron in North Africa, in July saw an immediate BAR to his DFC and in December an immediate DSO. Posted to Malta as Wing Commander he won a US DFC in 1943. Back in the UK he now was flying Typhoons in the lead up to D-Day. With Pete Brothers he was sent to the States to attend the US Staff School at Fort Leavenworth. After the war he continued in the R.A.F. serving in Japan, Malaya, Singapore, Switzerland and his final posting as Group Captain RAF Chivenor, Devon. Retired in July 1963. Going to Portugal where he ran a Bar and Restaurant and dealing in Real Estate. In his flying career he accounted for more than 24 enemy aircraft. Sadly, Billy Drake passed away on 28th August 2011.

The signature of Lieutenant Peter Twiss OBE DSC (deceased)

Lieutenant Peter Twiss OBE DSC (deceased)
*Signature Value : £55

Peter Twiss was born on the 23rd of July,1921 in Lindfield, West Sussex. Peter Twiss spent much of his early days on a farm near Salisbury. When war broke out later in 1939 he enlisted as a Naval Airman Second Class in the Fleet Air Arm, qualifying as a pilot after initial training at 14 Elementary and Reserve Flying Training School at Castle Bromwich on Tiger Moths and then went on to fly Hawker Harts and Fairey Battles. Operational training followed at RNAS Yeovilton flying Blackburn Rocs and Skuas and Fairey Swordfish followed by a period at the Army School of Co-operation at Andover on Bristol Blenheims on twin conversion before being posted to the Orkneys to 771 Squadron. By then he had amassed 292 hours on 12 types and attained the rank of Midshipman. Peter Twiss flew with 807 Squadron FAA from the carrier HMS Furious during the Malta convoys, and later took part in the invasion of North Africa. Best known as a post-war test pilot, particularly of the Fairey Delta FD2 with which he set a World Absolute Speed Record, Peter Twiss also saw distinguished service as a Fleet Air Arm pilot. Flying Fulmars, he was with HMS Ark Royal when she was sunk in November 1941 and then served with his squadron on both Argus and Furious for several of the vital Malta convoys with Force H. He formed the first Seafire Squadron for Operation Torch and was awarded a Bar to his DSC. Returning to the UK, he was sent to the Night Fighter Development Unit. During the war Peter began to get opportunities to fly new aircraft and he started his test flying in America late 1944 and had his first opportunity to fly a jet aircraft. By now he had attained the rank of Lieutenant-Commander. In 1945 he attended the Empire Test Pilots School at Cranfield and then went to the Naval Squadron at the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment based at Boscombe Down. In 1946 he joined Fairey Aviation as a test pilot. Lieutenant-Commander Peter Twiss test flew many of the Fairey aircraft including the Fairey Primer, Fairey Firefly, Fairey Gannet, the Fairey FD1, and the Fairey Rotadyne compound helicopter and in 1947 he entered the Lympne Air flying a Firefly IV winning the high speed race with 306 mph. His achievement in breaking the world air speed record in 1956 in the Fairey Delta 2 was recognised by receiving the Queens Commendation for Valuable Service and an OBE. By 1959 Peter was Chief Test for Fairey Aviation when the company was sold to Westland Aircraft and he decided to retire from test flying. He had then amassed 4,500 hours in 148 different types of aircraft. Sadly, Peter Twiss passed away on 31st August 2011.
Artist Details : Robert Taylor
Click here for a full list of all artwork by Robert Taylor

Robert Taylor

The name Robert Taylor has been synonymous with aviation art over a quarter of a century. His paintings of aircraft, more than those of any other artist, have helped popularise a genre which at the start of this remarkable artist's career had little recognition in the world of fine art. When he burst upon the scene in the mid-1970s his vibrant, expansive approach to the subject was a revelation. His paintings immediately caught the imagination of enthusiasts and collectors alike . He became an instant success. As a boy, Robert seemed always to have a pencil in his hand. Aware of his natural gift from an early age, he never considered a career beyond art, and with unwavering focus, set out to achieve his goal. Leaving school at fifteen, he has never worked outside the world of art. After two years at the Bath School of Art he landed a job as an apprentice picture framer with an art gallery in Bath, the city where Robert has lived and worked all his life. Already competent with water-colours the young apprentice took every opportunity to study the works of other artists and, after trying his hand at oils, quickly determined he could paint to the same standard as much of the art it was his job to frame. Soon the gallery was selling his paintings, and the owner, recognising Roberts talent, promoted him to the busy picture-restoring department. Here, he repaired and restored all manner of paintings and drawings, the expertise he developed becoming the foundation of his career as a professional artist. Picture restoration is an exacting skill, requiring the ability to emulate the techniques of other painters so as to render the damaged area of the work undetectable. After a decade of diligent application, Robert became one of the most capable picture restorers outside London. Today he attributes his versatility to the years he spent painstakingly working on the paintings of others artists. After fifteen years at the gallery, by chance he was introduced to Pat Barnard, whose military publishing business happened also to be located in the city of Bath. When offered the chance to become a full-time painter, Robert leapt at the opportunity. Within a few months of becoming a professional artist, he saw his first works in print. Roberts early career was devoted to maritime paintings, and he achieved early success with his prints of naval subjects, one of his admirers being Lord Louis Mountbatten. He exhibited successfully at the Royal Society of Marine Artists in London and soon his popularity attracted the attention of the media. Following a major feature on his work in a leading national daily newspaper he was invited to appear in a BBC Television programme. This led to a string of commissions for the Fleet Air Arm Museum who, understandably, wanted aircraft in their maritime paintings. It was the start of Roberts career as an aviation artist. Fascinated since childhood by the big, powerful machines that man has invented, switching from one type of hardware to another has never troubled him. Being an artist of the old school, Robert tackled the subject of painting aircraft with the same gusto as with his large, action-packed maritime pictures - big compositions supported by powerful and dramatic skies, painted on large canvases. It was a formula new to the aviation art genre, at the time not used to such sweeping canvases, but one that came naturally to an artist whose approach appeared to have origins in an earlier classical period. Roberts aviation paintings are instantly recognisable. He somehow manages to convey all the technical detail of aviation in a traditional and painterly style, reminiscent of the Old Masters. With uncanny ability, he is able to recreate scenes from the past with a carefully rehearsed realism that few other artists ever manage to achieve. This is partly due to his prodigious research but also his attention to detail: Not for him shiny new factory-fresh aircraft looking like museum specimens. His trade mark, flying machines that are battle-scarred, worse for wear, with dings down the fuselage, chips and dents along the leading edges of wings, oil stains trailing from engine cowlings, paintwork faded with dust and grime; his planes are real! Roberts aviation works have drawn crowds in the international arena since the early 1980s. He has exhibited throughout the US and Canada, Australia, Japan and in Europe. His one-man exhibition at the Smithsonians National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC was hailed as the most popular art exhibition ever held there. His paintings hang in many of the worlds great aviation museums, adorn boardrooms, offices and homes, and his limited edition prints are avidly collected all around the world. A family man with strong Christian values, Robert devotes most of what little spare time he has to his home life. Married to Mary for thirty five years, they have five children, all now grown up. Neither fame nor fortune has turned his head. He is the same easy-going, gentle character he was when setting out on his painting career all those years ago, but now with a confidence that comes with the knowledge that he has mastered his profession.

More about Robert Taylor

Contact Details
Shipping Info
Terms and Conditions
Classified Ads

Join us on Facebook!

Sign Up To Our Newsletter!

Stay up to date with all our latest offers, deals and events as well as new releases and exclusive subscriber content!

This website is owned by Cranston Fine Arts.  Torwood House, Torwoodhill Road, Rhu, Helensburgh, Scotland, G848LE

Contact: Tel: (+44) (0) 1436 820269.  Email:

Follow us on Twitter!

Return to Home Page