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Sir Thomas Monnington (1902-1976):
Study for Fortresses
Framed (ref: 6518)
Inscribed Fortresses over the coast
Pencil on tracing paper
4 3/8 x 6 in. (11 x 15 cm.)
Provenance: The Artist's Family
Exhibited: WW2 - War Pictures by British Artists, Morley College London, 28 October -23 November 2016, cat 57.
Literature: WW2 - War Pictures by British Artists, Edited by Sacha Llewellyn & Paul Liss, July 2016, cat 57, page 96.
Fortresses © the artist's estate, c/o Liss Llewellyn Fine Art; Photo credit: Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum
In 1943 Monnington, who had taken flying lessons before the war, wrote to the War Artists' Advisory Committee, WAAC, complaining of the lack of an aerial perspective among the works WAAC had so far commissioned. Monnington was passionate about aircraft - by the time he applied to become an official War Artist he had completed over 600 hours of flying time. In November 1943, WAAC issued Monnington with the first of a series of full-time commissions that saw him flying with a training squadron in Yorkshire and with Mitchell bombers to Germany.
Whilst posted at the Brooklands race track during the early part of the war in the Design Team of the Directorate of Camouflage Monnington met Barnes Wallis – inventor of the Wellington Bomber and the bouncing bomb. Wallis asked Monnington to apply his talent to improving the appearance of a heavy bomber which was being developed at the time, (two designs for which are in the collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum).
Related drawings by Monnington are in the collection of the V&A.
We are grateful to John Monnington for assistance.