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Chennaults Flying Tigers by Robert Taylor.

Chennaults Flying Tigers by Robert Taylor.

P40 Tomahawks of the American Volunteer Group fought against the Japanese air force in the skies over Indo-China during World War 2 and became one of the most successful and famous fighter units of all time. Strangled by the Japanese blockade of its sea ports, and with supplies from Russia diverted to combat Hitler's invasion, China was left with one lifeline for vital supplies from the outside world: a treacherous unpaved track hacked through mountain terrain linking the port of Rangoon with the city of Kumming, in South West China - it was the infamous Burma Road. With the Impirial Japanese air force hell-bent on destroying Chinas last supply link, opposition had almost evaporated but for a tiny air force of American volunteers led by the indomitable figure of Claire Chennault. Formed in early 1941, months before Pearl Harbor, a rag-tag bunch of 100 recruited flyers supported by 200 ground personnel, known as the American Volunteer Group came together to stand alone against the might of Japanese air force in Indo-china. Blazing a trail in the skies over Burma and China they created a legend that will remain in the folklore of aviation history. They were Chennault's Flying Tigers. With little official support from home, the P-40 Tomahawk pilots of the A.V.G. became the scourge of the Japanese air force. In a six month period of combat, with no more than 50 or 60 serviceable aircraft, they destroyed some 300 Japanese aircraft, while probably destroying another 300. Their brief, glorious existance came to and end when on 4th July 1942 the A.V.G. was absorbed into the U.S Army Air Corps. Chennault's Flying Tigers passed into history. Moved by the legend of the Flying tigers, Robert Taylor has created a masterpiece. Capturing the spirit of the Flying Tigers he portrays a scene typical of the distant war fought by this tiny band of warriors. In the foreground of Robert's dramatic combat scene are two P-40s of the 2nd Pursuit Squadron, the Panda Bears, as they pull out of a driving attack just above the tree-tops of the Burmese jungle. One bomber hits the water, as two more P-40s bear down on another Nakajima bomber. In the distance the air is busy with low-level combat.
AMAZING VALUE! - The value of the signatures on this item is in excess of the price of the print itself!
Item Code : AX0001Chennaults Flying Tigers by Robert Taylor. - This Edition
PRINTSigned limited edition of 1250 prints.

Signed by 7 pilots.
Paper size 33 inches x 25 inches (84cm x 64cm) Neale, Bob
Smith, Robert T
Hill, Tex
Older, Charles
Rector, Ed
Rossi, Dick
Shilling, Erik
+ Artist : Robert Taylor

Signature(s) value alone : £425
All prices on our website are displayed in British Pounds Sterling

Signatures on this item
*The value given for each signature has been calculated by us based on the historical significance and rarity of the signature. Values of many pilot signatures have risen in recent years and will likely continue to rise as they become more and more rare.

The signature of Colonel Charles Older (deceased)

Colonel Charles Older (deceased)
*Signature Value : £70

Charles Herman Older, born on 29 September 1917 in Hanford, California, graduated from the University of California in 1939 with a degree in political science. No the 1st April 1940 Charles Herman Older joined the Marine Corps for flight training, he received his wings and commission at Pensacola. Resigning from the Marine Corps in 1941 to join the A.V.G., Chuck Older took part in the great 'Christmas' air battles over Rangoon shooting down 5 Japanese aircraft. With 10.25 victories to his credit he joined the 23rd F G when the A.V.G. was disbanded, flying P-51s. He led the first strike against Shanghai resulting in the destruction of 77 Japanese aircraft. He completed the war with 18.25 air victories. After leaving the Air Force Colonel Chuck Older obtained a law degree from the University of Southern California and subsequently became a superior court judge in Los Angeles, California. He gained prominence as the presiding judge in the Charles Manson mass murder trial in 1970-71. Charles Older died on the 17th June 2006.

Colonel Ed Rector (deceased)
*Signature Value : £55

Born 28th September 1916, Ed Rector originally flew dive bombers off carriers before being recruited into the A.V.G. flying with the 2nd Squadron. Ed Rector was one of the five pilots who volunteered for continuous service in China after 4th July, 1942 and joined the 23rd Fighter Group. He returned to China later for a 2nd tour of duty. He had a total of 10.5 air victories. He died on 26th April 2001.

Colonel Robert T Smith (deceased)
*Signature Value : £55

R T Smith was a flight instructor in the US Army Air Corps when he resigned his commission in July 1941 to join the AVG. Flying first as a wingman and then as a Flight Leader he took part in the great air battles over Rangoon on 23rd and 25th December 1941, and was credited with 8.66 air victories with the Flying Tigers. Recommissioned into the USAAF he flew a further combat tour in P-51s and commanded a squadron of B-52s. After the war he became Vice-President of the Flying Tigers Line in the Far East. Robert T Smith passed away on 21st August 1995.

The signature of Colonel Tex Hill (deceased)

Colonel Tex Hill (deceased)
*Signature Value : £75

Tex Hill was born in Korea on 13th July 1915. Tex Hill graduated as a Naval Aviator in 1939, and after serving as a Navy Pilot, Tex Hill volunteered for the A.V.G., becoming Squadron Leader in the 2nd Sqn (Panda Bears) until disbandment in 1942, by which time he had 12.25 air victories, making him the second highest ranking Ace in the American Volunteer Group. He remained in China, as the first squadron commander of the 75th F S /23rd F G before returning to the U.S. He went back to China to command the 23rd F G, increasing his total to 18.25 victories. In late 1943 he led a group of 30 aircraft on the first strike against Formosa. During this mission, 42 enemy aircraft were confirmed destroyed, with a possible 12 more, while all 30 aircraft under Tex Hill's command returned safely. Returning to the US, he commanded the 412th Fighter Group, the first jet aircraft group. Here, he flew P-80 Shooting Stars and YP-59 Airacomets. His decorations include a Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, Legion of Merit, 4 Distinguished Flying Crosses, 2 Air Medals, 2 Presidential Unit Citations, 6 decorations awarded by China, and a Distinguished Flying Cross from the UK. Sadly, Tex Hill died on 11th October 2007.

The signature of Flight Leader Dick Rossi (deceased)

Flight Leader Dick Rossi (deceased)
*Signature Value : £65

Dick Rossi was born in 1915 in Placerville, California. He entered the Navy for flight training in the fall of 1939 and soon became a Flight Instructor at Pensacola. Dick responded to the allure of adventure and resigned his Navy commission in 1941 to join the AVG. Serving with the First Pursuit Adam & Eves squadron, he engaged in his first combat mission over Burma in January 1942. Most of his missions were flown over Rangoon, although he was also assigned detached duty for the 2nd and 3rd squadrons as well, serving under all three AVG squadron commanders. His last AVG mission was flown over the East China front in July 1942, by which time he had achieved an official tally of 6.25 confirmed kills. After the AVG, Dick flew for CNAC and spent much of the remainder of the war flying critical supplies over The Hump. By wars end, he had flown this perilous route over 735 times. Since the war, Dick Rossi has been involved in many various aspects of aviation and has carried on the AVG legacy, speaking worldwide and serving many years as President of the Flying Tigers Association. He died April 17th 2008.

Flight Leader Erik Shilling (deceased)
*Signature Value : £55

Erik Shilling was amongst the first volunteer pilots with the A.V.G. Although credited with only one air victory, Erik flew many dangerous photo missions in his P-40 modified for vital camera work, which included the removal of 4 of his machine guns. In 1942 he joined the China National Airways flying 700 round trips over the Hump. He died 19th March 2002.

Squadron Leader Bob Neale
*Signature Value : £50

Bob Neale was the top scoring ace of the American Volunteer Group, with 15.5 air victories - a remarkable record in such a short period of combat. An ex navy pilot, Neale had volunteered for action in April 1941, and by the time he took command of the 1st Squadron (Adam and Eves) he had built a reputation as a fierce competitor in the air. After the fall of Rangoon, Bob Neale became Chennault's right hand man, directing most of the AVG's field operations. Following disbandment he joined American Export Airlines and flew between New York and Ireland.
The Aircraft :
TomahawkA total of sixteen Royal Air Force squadrons used the Tomahawk from British bases, and five more squadrons in the Middle East, as well as South African and Australian units. The Curtiss Tomahawk equipped the legendary Flying Tigers of the American Volunteer Group in China, in 1941, before the United States was officialy at war with Japan. In all, 16,802 Curtiss Tomahawks in a succession of improved models, were mainly built for the US Air Force.
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

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