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Fight for the Sky by Robert Taylor. - Cranston Fine Arts Aviation, Military and Naval Art
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Fight for the Sky by Robert Taylor.


Fight for the Sky by Robert Taylor.

All through the long hot summer of 1940 they crossed the Channel from stolen bases in northern France, coming in mighty swarms to deliver their deadly cargo. Bombers and dive-bombers, single-seat fighters and fast twin-engined attack aircraft, their menacing shapes glinting with swastikas and black crosses, blackening the summer sky. Over 3000 aircraft were at the disposal of the boastful Luftwaffe supremo, Hermann Goering. Within just a matter of weeks, he promised Hitler, the RAF would be annihilated, allowing the invasion of Britain to proceed unhindered, and Britain would become the final piece of the jigsaw giving Nazi domination throughout Europe. Against the might of German airpower stood less than 600 Spitfire and Hurricane fighters, and as many young pilots determined to the man to defend their homeland. And so commenced the battle that was to develop into the greatest aerial conflict in history. Always outnumbered, often flying six sorties a day, the RAF's young fighter boys flew themselves to the point of exhaustion. Pilot losses forced desperate squadron commanders to take youngsters into combat, some with just a few hours on fighters. They flew and fought like tigers and they paid a heavy price, but never did they lose their spirit. Robert Taylor's wonderfully realistic painting captures the very essence of that epic battle. A Heinkel 111 has been brought down, one of many never to make it home on this bright and sunny day. As the Luftwaffe bomber's crew emerge from their broken aircraft, relieved to have survived the crash-landing, a Mk I Spitfire from No.66 Squadron roars low overhead to verify another victory. In the distance, Hurricanes from No 56 Squadron hurry back to North Weald to refuel and rearm. High above the battle rages, the vapour trails telling their own story.
AMAZING VALUE! - The value of the signatures on this item is in excess of the price of the print itself!
Item Code : DHM6242Fight for the Sky by Robert Taylor. - This Edition
TYPEEDITION DETAILSSIZESIGNATURESOFFERSYOUR PRICEPURCHASING
PRINTAces edition of 500 prints.

SOLD OUT.
Image size 26.5 inches x 16 inches (67cm x 41cm) Overall size 33 inches x 24 inches (64cm x 61cm) Barthropp, Paddy
Bennions, Ben
Bisdee, John
Doe, Bob
Unwin, George
Wright, Allan
+ Artist : Robert Taylor


Signature(s) value alone : 335
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OUT
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AVAILABLE
All prices on our website are displayed in British Pounds Sterling



Other editions of this item : Fight for the Sky by Robert Taylor. DHM6242
TYPEEDITION DETAILSSIZESIGNATURESOFFERSYOUR PRICEPURCHASING
ARTIST
PROOF
Aces edition of 50 artist proofs.

SOLD OUT.
Image size 26.5 inches x 16 inches (67cm x 41cm) Overall size 33 inches x 24 inches (64cm x 61cm) Barthropp, Paddy
Bennions, Ben
Bisdee, John
Doe, Bob
Unwin, George
Wright, Allan
+ Artist : Robert Taylor


Signature(s) value alone : 335
SOLD
OUT
VIEW EDITION...
PRINTMillennium Proof edition of 250 prints.

SOLD OUT.
Image size 26.5 inches x 16 inches (67cm x 41cm) Overall size 33 inches x 24 inches (64cm x 61cm) Barthropp, Paddy
Bennions, Ben
Bisdee, John
Doe, Bob
Unwin, George
Wright, Allan
Bamberger, Cyril
Barker, Frederick (companion print)
Beardsley, Robert
Freeborn, John
Green, Herbert (companion print)
Hancock, Norman
Heron, Michael
Hilken, Clive
Iveson, Tony
Johnstone, Sandy
Kane, Terence
Mount, Mickey
Olver, Peter
Roberts, David
Millard, Jocelyn G P
Sheen, Desmond
Stephen, Harbourne
Vigors, Tim
Webb, Paul
Wellum, Geoffrey
Winskill, Archie
+ Artist : Robert Taylor


Signature(s) value alone : 1315
SOLD
OUT
VIEW EDITION...
General descriptions of types of editions :


Signatures on this item
NameInfo


The signature of Group Captain Allan Wright DFC AFC (deceased)

Group Captain Allan Wright DFC AFC (deceased)
*Signature Value : £40

Born Devon 12th February 1920. He entered RAF College Cranwell as Flight Cadet April 1938. After training Allan was posted to 92 Sqn at Tangmere on 27 October. Over Dunkirk on 23 May 1940 he destroyed an Me110 and possibly two more, on the 24th a possible He111 and on 2 June a confirmed Me109. During the Battle of Britain he destroyed a He111 on 14 August, a He111 at night over Bristol on 29 August, a He111 and Me109 on 11 Sept, a He111 on the 14th, a Me109 on the 15th, a Ju88 on the 19th, a Do17 on the 26th, a Ju88 on the 27th plus damaging a He111, a Do17, two Ju88s, two Me109s on the 30th. On 30 Sept he was shot down wounded near Brighton and hospitalised. An award of the DFC was made on 22 October 1940. On 6 December 1940 he destroyed a Me109. By July 1941 Wright had destroyed 6 more Me109s and received a bar to the DFC on 15 July. Service at HQ Fighter Command and as an instructor followed until being posted to 29 Squadron at West Malling in March 1943 where he destroyed a Ju88 on 3 April. Further command postings saw him through the war and post-war till 12 February 1967 when he retired as a Group Captain. Group Captain Allan Wright, who has died aged 95, was a veteran of the Battle of France in 1940 and one of the last three surviving Battle of Britain ace fighter pilots. As the opening phase of the Battle of Britain commenced in July 1940, Wright and his colleagues of No 92 Squadron were resting in South Wales following their fierce activity covering the withdrawal of the British Expeditionary Force from the beaches of northern France. Nevertheless, Wright shared in the destruction of a German bomber over Gloucestershire and on August 29 achieved a rare success for a Spitfire pilot when he engaged a Heinkel III bomber over Bristol at night and shot it down. On September 9th No.92 Sqn was sent to Biggin Hill, at the height of the battle, to intercept the large formations of enemy bombers attacking London. Within two days Wright achieved success when he destroyed another Heinkel bomber and probably one of the escorting Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighters. In the space of the next 20 days, as the battle reached its climax, he was credited with knocking out four more enemy aircraft, sharing in the destruction of a fifth, probably destroying a further two and damaging four. On September 30th he engaged some Bf 109 fighters near Brighton and shot one down. His Spitfire was damaged and he had to make a forced landing. He was slightly wounded in this engagement and this signalled the end of his involvement in the battle. A month later he was awarded the DFC for displaying great determination and skill. The son of Air Commodore A C Wright, a Royal Flying Corps pilot and regular RAF officer, Allan Richard Wright was born at Teignmouth, Devon, on February 12 1920 and educated at St Edmunds College. He was awarded a cadetship to the RAF College, Cranwell, where he gained a commendation before graduating as a pilot in October 1939. Wright joined No.92 Squadron as it was re-equipping with the Spitfire. Flying from Northolt, the squadron was soon in action over Dunkirk. Wright flew his first patrol on May 23rd, when he destroyed a Messerschmitt Bf 110, possibly brought down another and damaged a third. His successes were tempered by the loss of his closest friend from his time at Cranwell. Many years later he commented: We were just 22 years old and I was overwhelmed by shock and disbelief. The whole episode seemed a dream. The squadron's commanding officer, Squadron Leader Roger Bushell, was also shot down on this day. Later, as Big X, Bushell masterminded the Great Escape from Stalag Luft III, but he was murdered by the Gestapo after being recaptured. Wright flew six more patrols over the Dunkirk area, being engaged and firing his guns every time, and was credited with shooting down an enemy fighter and possibly destroying a bomber. After recovering from wounds sustained in the closing phase of the Battle of Britain, Wright returned to No.92 Sqn and, in December, shot down a Bf 109. He saw considerable action over northern France during the spring and summer of 1941. Fighter Command had gone on the offensive, seeking combat, and Wright gained further success. Flying the Spitfire Mk V on sweeps and bomber escort operations, he was frequently engaged by Bf 109s and he destroyed one, shared in the destruction of another and probably destroyed two more. On one occasion his Spitfire was badly damaged but he managed to cross the Channel back to England to make an emergency landing. He was rested in July after a year of constant combat and was awarded a Bar to his DFC. Wright then trained fighter pilots before becoming the chief instructor at the newly formed Pilot Gunnery Instructors School. He later undertook a tour of the United States to discuss gunnery and fighter tactics. On his return he trained as a night fighter pilot before becoming the flight commander on No.29 Squadron flying the Beaufighter. On April 3rd 1943 he shot down a Junkers 88 bomber and damaged a second, his final success of the war. As a 23-year-old wing commander, he took command of the Air Fighting Development Unit, his service recognised by the award of the AFC. In early 1945 he left for Egypt to command the fighter wing of a bombing and gunnery school. He remained in the RAF and held a number of fighter-related appointments including four years at the Air Ministry responsible for air defence planning. After converting to jet fighters he became wing commander, flying at Waterbeach near Cambridge with Hunter and Javelin squadrons under his command. After two years in the Far East and a further two at HQ, Fighter Command, he was appointed to command the Ballistic Missile Early Warning Station (BMEWS) the famous Giant Golf Balls situated on the Yorkshire Moors at Fylingdales, near Whitby. This was the final site of three the others operated by the USAF at Thule in Greenland and Clear in Alaska to provide early warning of a ballistic missile attack. Fylingdales became fully operational during Wrights period of command. He retired from the RAF in February 1967. He moved to North Devon where he spent the next 10 years developing a smallholding and renovating a cottage. He was an excellent and meticulous carpenter and woodworker. He married his wife Barbara in June 1942 and she and their two sons and two daughters survive him. Group Captain Allan Wright, born February 12 1920, died September 16 2015.
Group Captain John Bisdee OBE DFC (deceased)
*Signature Value : £45

John Derek Bisdee was born on November 20th 1915 at Weston-Super-Mare, and educated at Marlborough. He joined the RAF Voluntary Reserve, and began the war as a sergeant pilot. His combat career started while with 609 (West Riding) squadron RAAF, flying Spitfires when the squadron was moved from Edinburgh to Drem in December 1939. They participated in the air cover of the evacuation of the BEF form Dunkirk. John Bisdee destroyed six aircraft between July 1940 and July 1941, including an Me110 during an eventful day n August 1940 when they attacked a strong Luftwaffe force of 45 JU88s escorted by many Me109s and Me110s. In July 1941 he became instructor at No 61 Operational training unit. While here he had a small speaking roll in the classic wartime film The First of the Few. John Bisdee became commander of 601 (County of London) auxiliary Spitfire squadron and embarked (along with 603 (Edinburgh) Squadron) for Malta on board the US carrier Wasp. While off Algiers 47 Spitfires took of for Malta. and almost immedniatly upon arriving took part in combat. John Bisdee shot down JU88. He himself had to bail out. with a damaged parachute dangling by one leg, he had to disentangle himself as he fell, managing just in time and landing in the sea, paddling his way 6 miles in his dinghy to Malta. in June 1942 the squadron went to Egypt. In August John Bisdee became flight training officer at the Middle East Headquarters, Cairo, moving in 1943 as Wing Commander for day fighters in Tunisia. In July 1943, after the capture of the island of Lampedusa, halfway between Malta and Sicily, Bisdee was appointed its governor - the first governor in liberated Europe, as he liked to claim. Returning to North Africa, Bisdee trained Free French pilots at Bone. Later, after a brief spell in Corsica, he commanded No 322 Wing at Bone. In 322 Wing wre three Spitfire squadrons, a Beaufighter Squadron a Wellington Squadon used in anti shipping role and an Air Sea Rescue unit. Group Captain John Bisdee left the Royal Air Force in 1945 with his offcial score of 8 but it is likely there were a few others. Sadly John Bidee died at the age of 84 on the 21st October 2000. Group Captain John Bisdee was awarded the DFC in 1941 and appointed OBE in 1943.


Squadron Leader Ben Bennions DFC (deceased)
*Signature Value : £70

Ben Bennions joined the RAF in 1929 and after pilot training he was posted to 41 Squadron. He was already a seasoned Spitfire pilot by the outbreak of World War Two. During the Battle of Britain he destroyed 12 enemy aircraft and 5 probables before being shot down on October 1st 1940. Ben baled out, and badly wounded with one eye destroyed and serious head injuries underwent plastic surgery by Archie McIndoe. He is the sole surviving Battle of Britain Spitfire pilot who is both a member of the Caterpillar Club (using silk parachutes) and a founder member of the Guinea Pig Club (those who underwent plastic surgery) Ben Bennions died 30th January 2004.


The signature of Wing Commander Bob Doe, DSO, DFC* (deceased)

Wing Commander Bob Doe, DSO, DFC* (deceased)
*Signature Value : £60

In 1939 he joined the R.A.F. and upon completion of his training was posted to 234 squadron. During the Battle of Britain he achieved great success. He was one of the very few pilots to successfully fly both Hurricanes and Spitfires and was one of the top scorers of the Battle with 14 and two shared victories. He was awarded the DFC in October and a BAR in November. He joined 66 squadron as a Flight Commander then moving to 130 squadron in August 1943 saw him in 613 squadron flying Mustangs. October 1943 he was posted out to the Far-East, forming 10 squadron, Indian Air Force, which he led on the Burma front. Awarded the DSO in 1945. He stayed on in the R.A.F. after the war, retirement in 1966 was followed by opening a Garage business which proved successful. Sadly, we have learned of the passing of Bob Doe on 21st February 2010.


The signature of Wing Commander George Grumpy Unwin, DSO, DFM* (deceased)

Wing Commander George Grumpy Unwin, DSO, DFM* (deceased)
*Signature Value : £75

George Unwin joined the RAF in 1929, and in 1936 was posted to Duxford with 19 Squadron as a Sergeant Pilot. He was one of the first pilots in the RAF to fly the Spitfire. With the outbreak of war 19 Squadron moved to Hornchurch and George, now one of the Squadrons most experienced pilots, took part in the great air battles over France and Dunkirk, scoring 3 and a half victories. He flew with 19 Squadron continuously during the whole of the Battle of Britain. He was commissioned in 1941. After a period instructing, he resumed operations, flying Mosquitoes with 16 Squadron. George finished the war with 13 victories, 2 shared, 2 unconfirmed, and 2 probables. He died 28th June 2006.


The signature of Wing Commander Paddy Barthropp DFC AFC (deceased)

Wing Commander Paddy Barthropp DFC AFC (deceased)
*Signature Value : £45

At the outbreak of war Paddy flew obsolete Hinds, Hectors and Lysanders in combat, but converted to Spitfires and joined 602 Squadron at Tangmere. During the Battle of Britain he flew with some of the great aces - Douglas Bader, Sailor Malan, and Bob Stanford Tuck. In 1941 he was a Flight Commander with 610 Squadron. Continuing to fly Spitfires, now with 122 Squadron based at Hornchurch, he flew fighter sweeps and escort missions. On 17th May 1942 he was shot down over St Omer. He baled out but was captured, spending the next three years as a POW. One of the RAFs best known and best loved characters, though the bane of certain senior officers, Paddy Barthropps RAF service spanned the period from bi-planes to supersonic jets. Joining the RAF in 1938, his first squadron was 613 flying Hinds, Hectors and Lysanders. In 1940 he was released to fly Spitfires with 602 Squadron where he shared in the destruction of two aircraft. He was posted to 610 Squadron, and then to 91 Squadron, shooting down two Bf 109s during summer 1941 and receiving the DFC. In August 1941 he returned to 610 Squadron as a flight commander. He was shot down three times, the third time being taken prisoner ofwar. He had by then brought his total to 9. Scraps in the air were accompanied by scrapes on the ground, and appearances in Magistrates Courts for disorderly conduct. Addicted to fast cars and lively ladies - and the sworn enemy of stuffed shirts everywhere - he was the irrepressible life and soul of any party, and a persistant thorn in the side of overweening authority as the Germans were to discover. The war over, he was posted to the Empire Test Pilots School where he flew over a hundred different types of plane in ten months. Soon, he was out in the Sudan and in serious trouble again - under arrest after taking a hippo to an upper-crust party. As a boy, he had been taught to ride by champion jockey Steve Donaghue and now, posted to Hong Kong, he rode winners on the track at Happy Valley, and seriously thought of turning professional. Then it was back to the U.K. to take up an appointment as a Fighter Station Commander, and to lead the Coronation fly-past over Buckingham Palace. He left the RAF to set up his own luxury car-hire firm. He died on 16th April 2008.
The Aircraft :
NameInfo
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.
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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