Sunday 21 May 2023

Happy Birthday and new original art

Today is the anniversary of Frank Bellamy's birth. In May 1917, the world was at war, Italy was struggling with anarchists, while a new Pope was consecrated.  F├ítima in Portugal was making a name for itself, and Atlanta in Georgia experienced a terrible fire leaving 10,000 people homeless.

This is a great day to highlight some new findings!  

Chris Hall got in contact and mentioned he had some Frank Bellamy original art he's selling. I'm always interested in recording these things to show how prolific and wide-ranging Frank Bellamy's talent was, and someone recently asked me about the artist's hobbies when not at work. Here's an example of a busman's holiday - his interest in portraying Africana and especially the Masai people. It's so sad he only ever got to Morocco on the African continent despite an interest in going on safari in Kenya.


Masai with earring, necklace, spear and seme

Because of the differences between Masai drawings I have given them an arbitrary number and short description, so this one - totally new to me - becomes Masai Warrior #7. It looks to be more of an outline than others (but Bellamy also drew some abstract African pieces) and the warrior has two weapons: the spear and the leaf-shaped 'seme' - a 24 inch long sword (see here). 

Here are two similar drawings for comparison:

Masai (#5) with earring (and 'lightning' lines)

Masai (#3) circular earring, spear and partial shield
Here's the list of all of them so far:

  • MASAI WARRIOR #1 - Brown tonal small face-on portrait of Masai warrior with elaborate animal headdress
  • MASAI WARRIOR #2 - Brown tonal portrait of Masai warrior with large spear at left, thin band head-dress and animal hair covering neck
  • MASAI WARRIOR #3 - Portrait with large circular earring, spear and partial shield
  • MASAI WARRIOR #4 - Masai warrior with spear (triangular shaft)  and shield with necklace of animal hair
  • MASAI WARRIOR #5 - Side portrait with earring and necklace - bottom right signed
  • MASAI WARRIOR #6 - Indistinct portrait with spear and shield looking almost metallic
  • MASAI WARRIOR #7 - Outline portrait, with necklace spear, and seme.

The next artwork Chris shared was this one and bear in mind the titles are mine, until I can match any to Bellamy's exhibited artwork by name.


Masai design + warrior

 It's hard to tell precisely what material was used here and descriptions by others doesn't clarify the position - but then I've seen big name auction houses mention Bellamy's watercolour paints on Thunderbirds - where he only ever used inks! 

We are seeing a side view of a warrior with his spear, seme and shield and to his left is, what looks like, connected bones with some fur attached. The Masai are well known for their elaborate clothing and decorations which include coloured bone beads,fur and ivory.


"Scram buddy" cartoon

The cartoon showing two 'squaddies' following a well-dressed lady,  and one says to the other "Scram buddy! I saw her first!". The style is definitely from the period around 1939-1946 and the squaddies and Bellamy's signature that can just be seen verify this thought. Was it published? Was it a doodle? A portfolio piece to show when he got out of the Army? We don't know.  


Dan Dare Spacefleet insignia
This piece is interesting as it forms one of several boards on which Bellamy drew preparatory materials for his requested re-design of Dan Dare - which eventually didn't 'take'. I've already shared two of them (which Alan Burrows shared with me) showing operational and Spacefleet uniforms - so now we have the insignia re-design too

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