Saturday 21 May 2022

Happy Birthday Frank Bellamy

Crosse & Blackwell advert 1971

It's the 21st May and in 1917 one of Britain's greatest artists was born in Kettering 105 years ago - not "600 years ago"! I'm happy to remember this date every year, but what to show you?

I've decided, for no other reason than these are images with a subject of "many years ago" to show you three pieces you will enjoy

The first (at the head of this article) comes from an advert drawn by Bellamy for the agency Lonsdale Crowther Ltd whose client was Crosse & Blackwell. Bellamy was paid £115.50 for the full colour battle scene titled "Life as it was 600 years ago". Notably there is no signature. This advert appeared in various comics (where they were printed in colour) including, but not exclusively Countdown No.12 (Week ending 8th May 1971) and Look & Learn No. 485 (1 May 1971). If anyone knows where the original artwork is, I'd love to know and if you spot the advert anywhere else, I'd add that to the listing. 

Eagle 28 August 1965 (Vol.16:35
The second piece appeared in Eagle in the summer of 1965 and shows one of the "Arms through the ages" series. You can see the others here. What's interesting is the missing panel which appeared bottom left on the printed cover. As it contains a somewhat violent image(!) it may have been cut out and omitted in a further reprint, but I've not found one yet! Bellamy was paid £44 for this.

Eagle 28 August 1965 (Vol.16:35

 And lastly, again through the kindness of collectors, I have another original art to show you. This comes from Swift Vol2:37

Swift Vol.2:37 (10 September 1955)

The seventh episode of "King Arthur and his knights" - copies of the whole story can still be found on Book Palace's website.

Thursday 12 May 2022

More Original Art for auction! Garth, Robin Hood and Heros, oh my!

Eagle 10 Nov 1962, Vol:13:45

The Compalcomics auction just gone live features loads of Frank Bellamy original artwork - all captured here for your delight! It's mirrored on Thesaleroom where you can bid and see live bids too. I've placed the direct links to Bellamy's wonderful artwork below.

That's enough of the technicalities. Let's get to the artwork....

HEROS THE SPARTAN: Eagle 10 November 1962 (Vol. 13:45)

The image at the top of this article shows the 4th episode of the first "Heros" story. the colours are very vibrant and it seems the piece has not been displayed and allowed to fade and the presence of the lettering in such perfect condition is explained in the blurb below. The estimate is £4,500-£5,000. 

It is described as:

Heros the Spartan original double-page artwork (1962) painted and signed by Frank Bellamy for The Eagle Vol. 13 No 45 centrespread, 10 November 1962. Caesar has sent Heros, with a hundred men, to conquer the mysterious Island of Darkness. But Heros's cohort is ambushed by animal-like warriors. Luckily the survivors reach a stockade, built by previous ill-fated legions. That night, from the mountainside, an awesome figure taunts Heros and his men to battle ... Pelikan inks on board, 28 x 20 ins. The Heros the Spartan title lettering and square text boxes are laser colour editions to complete the look of the artwork and may be removed if required.

There are loads of Garth strips in this auction, but the most exciting, for its historical significance is this one:

GARTH: Sundance - E164

Garth: Sundance - E164

This is the third episode of Garth that Bellamy drew. I've used it in previous blogs to illustrate how Allard added pieces to the early Garth strips after Bellamy took over. Technically it should be credited to Bellamy and John Allard as the latter added the trees in the third panel and the Letraset on the soldier's trousers. It's described as:

Garth original artwork by John Allard for the Daily Mirror 14 July 1971. Two light bends to the board, not breaking the ink. Indian ink on board. 21 x 7 ins

The estimate is £100-£150 but i suspect might be greater than that as Sundance does not come up that often.

GARTH: Freak out to fear - H182+H214

Garth: Freak out to Fear - H182 and H214

"Freak Out To Fear" ran in the Daily Mirror originally from 6 June 1974 - 27 September 1974 - H132-H227 and these two strips show strong figure compositions in a small space. The auction is estimated to reach £450-£500 which seems reasonable to me for two original Garths, these days. It's described thus:

Garth: 'Freak Out to Fear' (1974) two original artworks drawn and signed by Frank Bellamy for the D. Mirror, 6.8.'74 and 12.9.'74. Indian ink on board. 21 x 7 ins (2)

GARTH: The Angels of Hell's Gap - J35

Garth: The Angels of Hell's Gap - J35

Bellamy's Western Garth strips are always popular and this one is estimated to reach  £250-£300 which seems reasonable too. 

Garth: 'The Angels of Hell's Gap' (1975) original artwork drawn and signed by Frank Bellamy for the D. Mirror 13.2.'75. Indian ink on board. 21 x 7 ins

GARTH: The Bubble Man- J278

Garth: The Bubble Man - J278

This strip has a bevy of beautiful ladies which tends to bump up prices, but there's no nudity here, so who knows. The estimate is £250-£300 (and at the time of writing this is the first of the Garths in this sale to get a bid) so let's see what happens. I love the devices like the shading in the first panel and the way Bellamy portrays the building in panel 2

Garth: 'The Bubble Man' (1975) original artwork drawn and signed by Frank Bellamy for the D. Mirror 25.11.'75. Indian ink on board. 21 x 7 ins

GARTH: The Spanish Lady - K136+K160

Garth: The Spanish Lady - K136 + K160

"The Spanish Lady" is a story that is fondly remembered by Garth fans, as Garth (as John Carey) travels in Elizabethan times and with Sir Francis Drake tackles a Spanish galleon with - you guessed it - a Spanish lady aboard, with whom he has his dalliance! One of the strips offered is the last strip of the story which ran 17 March 1976 - 7 July 1976 - K65-K160. These are estimated to sell at £450-£500, but I wonder! Bellamy passed away on 5 July 1976 and began the next story's artwork - there being a lead time between completing the artwork and its publication.

Garth: 'The Spanish Lady' (1976) two original artworks drawn and signed by Frank Bellamy for the D. Mirror No K 136 (undated) and 7.7.'76. Indian ink on board. 21 x 7 ins (2)

Lastly we have an unusual piece in a series that does not come up often.

ROBIN HOOD: Swift Vol3:41 (13 Oct 1956)

Swift 13 Oct 1956 (Vol:3:41 p.2)

If you haven't seen Book Palace's reprints of "Robin Hood" (and "King Arthur" - and I should mention immodestly, my "Art of Frank Bellamy" with loads of artwork and my bio of Bellamy's work and life), then hop along there. 

But back to the above "Robin Hood". Malcolm describes this lovely piece:

Robin Hood original artwork (1956) by Frank Bellamy for Swift Vol. 3, No 41 pg 2 (1956). Black ink and wash on board. 18 x 14 ins

I'd say a bit more. Pause for a moment and gaze at that first panel - the servant is in the shade (a lovely ink wash)  and perspective is shown by the light in which the Normans stand compared to him. The second panel shows intricate brickwork and Bellamy could   have made it much simpler for himself, but gloriously didn't! And in the last panel I'm reminded of dioramas with the foreground cut out and an image placed behind it. Did he really have to add the bird scattering its way through the forest? Beautiful and dedicated work.

For your pleasure and because. like me, I'm sure you want to know what led to this page and what happens next, I give you.....

You might also be interested in this lot of assorted books and fanzines

I'll update the spreadsheet as usual after the auction. Happy Bidding!


WHERE?: Compal/Saleroom
END DATE: Sunday 29 May 2022

GARTH: Sundance 
WHERE?: Compal/Saleroom
END DATE: Sunday 29 May 2022
GARTH: Freak out to fear (2 epsiodes)
WHERE?: Compal/Saleroom
END DATE: Sunday 29 May 2022

GARTH: The Angels of Hell's Gap
WHERE?: Compal/Saleroom
END DATE: Sunday 29 May 2022

GARTH: The Bubble Man
WHERE?: Compal/Saleroom
END DATE: Sunday 29 May 2022

GARTH: The Spanish Lady (2 episodes)
WHERE?: Compal/Saleroom
END DATE: Sunday 29 May 2022

WHERE?: Compal/Saleroom
END DATE: Sunday 29 May 2022