The Telegraph has a fascinating article about the golden age of British aviation art back when flying was still new and the preserve of “crackpots, inventors and the goggled rich…” Hence, the general public needed to be convinced that flying was safe and that’s where aviation art came into play.
Apparently, British aviation art for commercial aviation began around the time Imperial Airways formed in 1924 with just 15 aircraft – two of which crashed during the first year of operation. Imperial then hired a publicity manager who enlisted artists or illustrators like Ben Nicholson, John Piper and László Moholy Nagy to help with a promotional campaign to sell “dreams” rather than airline tickets.
World War II suspended commercial aviation in Britain but when it resumed after the war, so did aviation art. It was not until the jet age of the 1970s before aviation posters were finally done in by other forms of media like TV commercials.
If you are interested in learning more about British aviation art, The Telegraph mentioned a new book entitled British Aviation Posters which is collection of more than 150 posters from British Airways’ archive.
In addition, a quick search of Google reviews the website of the Military Print Company which has a very good collection of British military aviation related posters for sale plus the website of the Guild of Aviation Artists which has an online gallery of all 455 paintings by 149 artists in their 2012 gallery. The Guild’s 42nd Open Annual ‘Aviation Paintings of the Year’ Summer Exhibition will also be opened at The Mall Galleries on Monday and it will run until Sunday July 22. 2012.