Sunday 12 February 2023

ORIGINAL ART - Thunderbirds from TV21 #72

"Thunderbirds" from TV21 #72

I was speaking to my friend and fellow Frank Bellamy fan Paul Holder about the latest artwork to appear on eBay - a Thunderbirds episode from TV21 #72. We both mused what a shame it was that it's so faded. For those who don't know, Paul was the one who inspired me to get this blog and listing together when we first met in 2000. He has been scanning original artwork by Bellamy for many years and has assisted in many projects to display Bellamy's work at its best - (for example in my "Art of Frank Bellamy", still available, as they say, in good bookshops everywhere - or direct from The Book Palace.)

The shocking thing is Paul has a much better version of this piece, from the time before it faded. He photographed it on 10 x 8 inch large format film (which he subsequently had scanned), so was able to capture the artwork before it faded If any of you have Bellamy artwork you'd like scanned, he does a great job and we'd have artwork in its best condition to share with future generations when they mention the mythic Frank Bellamy and you'd have a true scan for your use. 

Here's the version Paul photographed before it faded, you'll see clamps holding the artwork as there wasn't much room to hold it as it had been cut down for some reason, perhaps framing.


Transparency of TV21 #72 before fading

I suspect the last line of the seller's description gives us a clue why he's decided to sell now:

Stunning 1966 TV Century 21 comic Double page
Rare chance to own a piece of ORIGINAL artwork from this very poplar [sic] comic .
Frank Bellamy art is highly collectible

The image is amazing Thunderbird 1 Thunderbird 2 and Thunderbird 4 included in the action
Sadly this double page has gone the way of most pages with fading to the overall image. The artist used cheap inks which do fade over time

Fantastic artwork by the late GREAT Frank Bellamy
faded pages are rare and fetch premium prices
Two individual unfaded pages sold at Heritage auctions in US for over £10000 each last month 

I have to mention that "The artist used cheap inks which do fade over time" isn't the case with Frank Bellamy at any time in his career. He was meticulous in using prescribed Pelikan inks for his work and even visited printers to ensure his work with those inks would remain true when printed. 

David Jackson, helpfully sent me this:

John Grant & Ron Tiner's The Encyclopedia of Fantasy & Science Fiction Techniques says:
TIP The great advantage of coloured inks is their transparency; you can get clear, delicate effects by overlaying successive glazes of colour.  But remember that artwork done in coloured inks is not lightfast.  There is no way a picture in this medium can be preserved. 

This piece is indeed faded and I'd warn everyone reading this - KEEP YOUR ART OUT OF SUNLIGHT. Art galleries cover display cases for a reason with cloths and museum glass (when added to a piece BEFORE fading occurs) works very well, but I still would treat any artwork carefully!

Here's the scan of the published comic to make a rough comparison.

"Thunderbirds" TV21 #72


WHERE?: ebay - d.g100
No of Bids: 5
END DATE: Saturday 18 February 2023


Chris said...

Hi Norman,
I used to own this original and Paul took a picture or scanned it - maybe - can't remember who I got it from? But it would be 10+ years ago putting it around that time.
Chris Power

Norman Boyd said...

Thanks for letting me know Chris. Good thing he did photograph it ;-)

Jeff Haythorpe said...

I seem to recall (but can’t be sure) this was up for auction in the 90’s somewhere in London. I can understand art being allowed to fade back in the day but displaying art with pelican inks is risking this sort of fading or worse. And to think this happened in the last ten years too.

Norman Boyd said...

Totally agree. It was available in 2019 (see and first offered at £6,500 and reduced several times!