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|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.|
Brigadier General Richard Steve Ritchie
*Signature Value : £25
|Born in June 1942 during World War Two, Steve Ritchie graduated and was commissioned from the USAF Academy in June 1964. He flew his first combat tour in Vietnam in 1968 on Fast FAC operations, before transferring to the 555th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 432nd Tactical Reconnaissance Wing for his second tour. It was with the 555th TFS - the famed 'Triple Nickel' Squadron, that he achieved Ace status. His first kill came on 10th May 1972 when he downed a MiG-21 forty miles south west of Hanoi, with his second a few weeks later just thirty miles south of the Chinese border. At the beginning of July he downed two MiG-21s west of Hanoi. It must have been his lucky area for on 28th August he scored his fifth and final victory in the same spot, thus becoming the only pilot Ace of the Vietnam War in the USAF, and the last US pilot to achieve Ace status.|
Captain John Madden
*Signature Value : £20
|Flying his first combat mission on 5th October 1965, leading fighter pilot John Madden flew three combat tours in Vietnam, notching up an impressive record of 3 kills and 1 damaged, flying F-4 Phantoms. On 28th August 1972 he was part of the same mission when Steve Ritchie made Ace status. That same year Madden led over 50 combat flights and he never lost a wingman. Flights under his leadership accounted for 5 enemy aircraft downed, and 1 damaged. He left Vietnam in 1975, and retired from the USAF in 1984.|
|The Aircraft :|
|Phantom||The McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II is a tandem two-seat, twin-engined, all-weather, long-range supersonic jet interceptor fighter/fighter-bomber produced for the U.S. Navy by Mcdonnell Douglas. It became a major part of the United States Navy, Marine Corps and American Air Force. The Phantom F-4 saw service with all American forces during the Vietnam war serving as a fighter and ground attack aircraft. The Phantom first saw service in 1960 but continued in service until the 1980ís (being replaced by the F-15 and F-16 ) The last Phantoms saw service during the Gulf war in 1991 being used for reconnaissance. Other nations also used the Phantom to great success. The Israeli Air Force used them during various Arab-Israeli wars and the Phantom also saw service in the Iranian Air Force during the Iran Iraq War. Phantom production ran from 1958 to 1981, with a total of 5,195 built. The Royal Air Force and the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy flew versions based on the F-4. The British Phantoms were powered by Rolls Royce Spey engines and also received British avionics, under the names pf Phantom FG.1 and Phantom FGR.2. The last British Phantoms served with 74 Squadron until they were dispanded in 1992.|
|Artist Details : Robert Taylor|
|Click here for a full list of all artwork by 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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