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Top Cover by Robert Taylor. - Cranston Fine Arts Aviation, Military and Naval Art
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Top Cover by Robert Taylor.

Top Cover by Robert Taylor.

Flying escort missions was no soft option for fighter pilots. Supporting bombers en-route to important strategic targets almost guaranteed interception by enemy fighters, and the great bomber air raids over enemy occupied Europe brought about some of the most ferociously fought dog-fights of the war. Though regarded as the best defencive fighter ever built, the Spitfire flew in most fighter roles in almost every theatre of WWII. It equipped many squadrons such as the RAF's number 610 Squadron, which flew this outstanding fighter in various marks, throughout the war. Having contested the Battle of Britain flying Mark Is, 610 became part of Douglas Bader's famous Tangmere Wing in 1941 with the Mark Vb. As part of top-scoring Johnnie Johnson's with Canadian Wing in 1943, the squadron was equipped with the Mark IX - the best of all Spitfire Marks according to the great wing leader - getting the better of the Luftwaffe's new Fw190 in the great air battles leading up to the Normandy Landings in 1944. In 1944 the squadron received 90 gallon drop tanks for their new Mark XIV Spitfires and began long range sweeps over Germany. Robert Taylor's emotive painting Top Cover recalls an event from this period. Led by Tony Gaze, on 6th October 1944, his flight of 610 Squadron Spitfires have picked up a severely damaged Halifax over Holland as it lumbers homeward after an attack on synthetic oil plants in Germany. Two crew members have been ordered by skipper Ted McGindle to depart the ailing bomber by parachute while he struggles on with other crew members too badly wounded to escape. Top cover provided by 610's Spitfires ensured this 462 Squadron Halifax made it home on that October day.
AMAZING VALUE! - The value of the signatures on this item is in excess of the price of the print itself!
Item Code : DHM6082Top Cover by Robert Taylor. - This Edition
PRINTSigned limited edition of 600 prints.

This print was originally supplied with the RAF edition of the book Air Combat Paintings Volume V.
Paper size 27 inches x 19.5 inches (69cm x 50cm) Gaze, Tony
McGindle, Edward
+ Artist : Robert Taylor

Signature(s) value alone : 60
All prices on our website are displayed in British Pounds Sterling

General descriptions of types of editions :

Signatures on this item
Flight Lieutenant Edward Ted McGindle
*Signature Value : £25

Englishman Ted McGindle was studying in Australia at the outbreak of the Pacific war and joined the RAAF in April 1942. After initial training he gained his wings and graduated as a Sgt Pilot. Ted sailed for England and attended 21 OTU Morton-in-the-Marsh in March 1944 where he selected his crew and converted to Wellingtons. Ted McGindle converted to Halifaxes and in August 1944 was posted to 640 Sqn - 4 Group where he completed 11 operations. Later that month he transferred to 462 Sqn RAAF, equipped with Halifaxes and based at Driffield. On his 19th operation on 6th October 1944 to the synthetic oil plants at Sterkrade, Ted McGindle was awarded an immediate DFC and three of his crew immediate DFMs for bringing their crippled Halifax and wounded crew home to Woodbridge. During this seven month period he received four promotions from the rank of Sgt Pilot to Flt Lieutenant and acting Flight Commander in March 1945, completing his operational tour at the age of 21.

Tony Gaze DFC**
*Signature Value : £35

Australian Tony Gaze joined Bader at Tangmere in March 1941 flying with 610 Sqn, scoring several victories during the high summer of that famous year. In 1942 he was posted to 610 Sqn and then commanded 64 Sqn. In Sept 1943 he joined 66 Sqn but was shot down. Evading capture he escaped back to England. In July 1944 he flew again with 610 Sqn then 41 Sqn. In the final days of the war he flew meteor jets with 616 Sqn. Tony gaze finished the war an Ace with 11 and 3 shared destroyed, 4 probable and one V. He was awarded the DFC with 2 bars.
The Aircraft :
SpitfireRoyal Air Force fighter aircraft, maximum speed for mark I Supermarine Spitfire, 362mph up to The Seafire 47 with a top speed of 452mph. maximum ceiling for Mk I 34,000feet up to 44,500 for the mark XIV. Maximum range for MK I 575 miles . up to 1475 miles for the Seafire 47. Armament for the various Marks of Spitfire. for MK I, and II . eight fixed .303 browning Machine guns, for MKs V-IX and XVI two 20mm Hispano cannons and four .303 browning machine guns. and on later Marks, six to eight Rockets under the wings or a maximum bomb load of 1,000 lbs. Designed by R J Mitchell, The proto type Spitfire first flew on the 5th March 1936. and entered service with the Royal Air Force in August 1938, with 19 squadron based and RAF Duxford. by the outbreak of World war two, there were twelve squadrons with a total of 187 spitfires, with another 83 in store. Between 1939 and 1945, a large variety of modifications and developments produced a variety of MK,s from I to XVI. The mark II came into service in late 1940, and in March 1941, the Mk,V came into service. To counter the Improvements in fighters of the Luftwaffe especially the FW190, the MK,XII was introduced with its Griffin engine. The Fleet Air Arm used the Mk,I and II and were named Seafires. By the end of production in 1948 a total of 20,351 spitfires had been made and 2408 Seafires. The most produced variant was the Spitfire Mark V, with a total of 6479 spitfires produced. The Royal Air Force kept Spitfires in front line use until April 1954.
HalifaxRoyal Air Force heavy Bomber with a crew of six to eight. Maximum speed of 280mph (with MK.VI top speed of 312mph) service ceiling of 22,800feet maximum range of 3,000 miles. The Halifax carried four .303 browning machine guns in the tail turret, two .303 browning machines in the nose turret in the MK III there were four .303 brownings in the dorsal turret. The Handley Page Halifax, first joined the Royal Air Force in March 1941 with 35 squadron. The Halifax saw service in Europe and the Middle east with a variety of variants for use with Coastal Command, in anti Submarine warfare, special duties, glider-tugs, and troop transportation roles. A total of 6177 Halifax's were built and stayed in service with the Royal Air Force until 1952
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.

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