Friday 22 December 2023

Frank Bellamy "Ghost World" soon to be reprinted

Boys' World Vol2:16 (18 April 1964) - my photo of the comic
 In case you haven't heard Book Palace are reprinting another Frank Bellamy strip - one often forgotten as it appeared in a short-lived comic Boys' World - that's "Brett Million and the Ghost World" - to give it its full title. There aren't many details yet - price and cover to follow but it's scheduled for Summer 2024. But I can tell you Geoff West asked me to supply an article on the series for inclusion in the book. Each of Bellamy's pages are in a single page format and in full colour, unfortunately not many original artworks still exist and some of those are faded, so these will be high quality scans from the comics.

It's being published in one volume together with "Wrath of the Gods" a series that's well remembered by those who loved "Heros the Spartan" by Bellamy. It was drawn by Rob Embleton and John Burns and apparently will be in foldouts - thus eliminating the problem of double page spreads being cut in two over two separate pages. I'm looking forward to seeing what this looks like.

Different colour printing!

It also be interesting to see how the colours hold up as I'm aware that even one comic printed at the same time could appear different.

John Freeman has an article with links (one being to one of my earlier blog articles)

 If you want to know more about "Boy's World" see Steve Holland's excellent history, overview and index including a complete list of artists and writers plus details of all the corresponding annuals - which unusually went on far longer than the comic!

When the book is published I shall of course highlight it here. 

May I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. 


Friday 1 December 2023

Frank Bellamy and Farnborough Airshow 1970


Farnborough Poster

Did you know Frank Bellamy drew for the Farnborough Airshow in 1970? Thanks to Peter Hansen for sharing this scan of the poster which measures 21 inches high by 14 inches wide. Besides this poster, I have yet to discover exactly where this was used as the programme booklet - which was published from 1948 - in this year, 1970, has no representation inside or on the covers of Bellamy's work. Below you can read how we know the Farnborough poster by Bellamy appeared on the London Underground - which might explain why, having searched many an aviation magazine, I have not yet found a copy - other than that bought on eBay by Peter Hansen!

Three planforms - Black and White Polaroid (Thanks to Alan Davis)


On the 20 April 1970, an agency wrote an artwork order to Frank Bellamy for 

  • "A/W for handbill B&W illustration Aeroplanes as agreed 30 gns" 
  • "A/W for P/C adapted to Quad/Crown full colour illustration agreed fee 100 gns" 

It was signed Stuart Newman of Wilkinson, Scott-Turner Limited of Dover Street London W1 and the client SBAC. I wonder if this Stuart is the same who co-authored The Creative Director's Sourcebook with Nick Souter in 1988 and more recently The Poster Handbook : a guide to the world's greatest posters again with Nick Souter in 2007. If anyone knows Stuart, I'd love to track him down, - the British Library states this Stuart was born in 1947 so I guess he must be around 76 years of age!

Wilkinson Scott-Turner was a small newer agency which managed to represent some longstanding brands - such as Eau de Cologne and Ingersoll and their client, on this occasion,  SBAC is the Society of British Aerospace Companies who were very involved in the industry - but finally wound down in 2023 after submitting final accounts to Companies House. Unfortunately Frank had to chase the advertising agency and didn't pay in a cheque (for £136/10) until October 1970, six months after the commission and one month after the show took place! Considering he was getting commissions left, right and centre, Nancy and Frank must have spent hours keeping a track of due payments!


A succinct history of the Farnborough Airshow is archived here and interestingly it informs me that Concorde was on display that very year. The show is now run by Farnborough International who have an overview of the show here, and it's celebrating its 75 birthday this year. Once again I'm grateful to Alan Davis who saved so many Polaroids when clearing Frank Bellamy's studio after his death in 1976 and I've highlighted some of them previously here, including the subject I wish to focus on today.

Eagle 15 October 1960 (Vol.11:42), p22

In October 1960 Clifford Makins,(editor) reported he'd visited the show in Eagle in the comic dated 18 May 1963 (Vol 14:20)  L. Ashwell Wood drew a lovely cutaway for the Concorde

Eagle 18 May 1963 (Vol.14:20), p20 by L. Ashwell Wood


Russell Jenkins at age 12

Russell Jenkins at age 12 - Polaroids thanks to Alan Davis

 In May 1970 Bellamy completed the commission using life models I'm fortunate to have corresponded with Russell Jenkins, who tells me that:

The boy featured on the poster was me at around 11 years old. I can remember my uncle Frank taking several photographs of me looking upwards. Uncle Frank later sent me a photograph of a poster at a tube station and my sister has one of the photographs he took of me looking upwards. My Mother Lillian Jenkins (formally Caygill) was the elder sister of Nancy Bellamy.

The modelling was done at the side of the house in Morden, 26, Hatherleigh Close. Only myself and Frank there. I seem to remember Franks camera was an Instamatic but not the cheap plastic version, This one had an amount of adjustability and I think, a bellows front. [See below ~Norman].

Funnily enough, a mate of mine did a post grad Fine Art degree at Wimbledon a couple of years back and rented a room in a house in the next street to Hatherleigh close. He sent me some photos of number 26 which hasn’t changed much. I think a blue plaque would be warranted? [And David Bellamy went to Wimbledon around 1965! ~Norman]

The house was amazing. It was full of African taxidermy (dining room) and souvenirs from their trips to Spain. All very tasteful and before most people in the UK went abroad. Frank’s studio was in the back bedroom with his drawing board at the side of the window. This had an attached circular shaving mirror for facial expressions.(Hence the revolutionary circular frames. There is one of Fraser and it’s definitely Frank's face) The walls were covered in shelves with lots of military textbooks. There was also a shelf with plaster heads of all the Thunderbird characters. David had the box room which had copies of paperbacks with his cover designs on. Plus toys that looked like they’d never been played with!

This was a massive influence to me coming from a Council estate and I’m sure this helped in that I went to Art college as well. This was rarely done where I came from.

Anyway, Thanks for getting in touch and please let me know if I can help further.

Best wishes,


I'd thought Robin Bellamy, Frank's grandson might have been the model but Russ corrected me and pointed out Robin wasn't born then!  

Russell added in a later email:

[The photos] he took of me were taken outside the back door down the side of 26 Hatherleigh close. No lighting, just daylight.

The paperbacks [mentioned above] were David’s designs. He worked for various commercial art studios and I know he worked for Mary Quant for a time. He knew Jeff Beck from either school or Art school and had a friend who was keen on the circus. He later went on to buy one! This was Gerry Cottles Circus and you will note from the archive of Franks work that he did posters for this circus too.
Another memory was, we went on holiday to a caravan in Winchelsea near Rye. The caravan belonged to their next door neighbour in Hatherleigh Close. We went their for several summers around 1969, Myself, my Mum, Aunty Nancy and Frank. One time we went into a second hand bookshop in Rye and Frank bought two (might have been one?) books on anatomy. They were very large format and German I think. He was just about to start work on Garth.


The aircraft are shown in an outline of the thin nosed and basic ‘triangle’ shape of the Concorde. Concorde’s prototype was first flown in March the previous year and Concorde 002 (G-BSST) appeared at the SBAC show on the 1st September 1970 so it was wholly appropriate for Bellamy to use the basic triangular design to reflect the novelty aircraft and previous Airshow programmes had indeed included similar shaped aircraft. 

Blonde with no hairband -
Landscape art made eventually into portrait

Blonde with hairband

The existing Polaroids show two versions of Bellamy’s finished artwork – one as produced for the portrait poster (thus eliminating the two sides of sky that Bellamy painted on a landscape canvas) and the alternative – presumably not used where the blonde woman has a hairband and the gent on the right looks up.

Knowing Jeremy Briggs knew a thing or two about aircraft, I asked his opinion about these images:

Farnborough Airshow programme 1970
Your images are interesting. The planes are just generic aircraft shapes but the wing planform is based on Concorde (which made its first Farnborough appearance in 1970) whilst the four single jet engines are based on the B-58 Hustler (a favourite in the Century 21 model shops as many guest planes in Stingray and Thunderbirds amongst others use the Hustler engines).
I can see an image of the cover of the SBAC Farnborough 70 brochure with a photo into the sun of two Lightnings tanking off a Victor. It isn't unusual for air shows to use the same image for their posters and their brochures but then Farnborough is also a major trade fair so it is possible that the Bellamy image was used for posters and leaflets, or adverts in something like Flight International or RAF Flying  Review (possibly renamed Flying Review International by then). [Various ebay listings] show that the 1960s Farnborough brochures had pretty generic aircraft shapes on them so the photographic 1970 one is quite a change. 

But alas not by Bellamy!


Bellamy using a 100 or 101 Polaroid land camera

Facebook groups can be very useful as I found out when I asked the question about Frank's camera - described by Russell, above and seen in some of the Polaroids saved by Alan Davis. On the Historic Camera group, Victor Smith identified it as "Definitely a land camera. I would say 101 model" and Hollis Hall added "Polaroid Land Camera probably a 100 or 101"


So we know Bellamy was paid for 

  • "A/W for handbill B&W illustration Aeroplanes as agreed 30 gns" 
  • "A/W for P/C [publicity? ~Norman] adapted to Quad/Crown full colour illustration agreed fee 100 gns"

So we have yet to see the handbills - a piece of ephemera that you hope at least one Bellamy fan has stuffed away somewhere. PLEASE do let me know if you find one. 

On the website "Papersizes" I learned that:

  • Double Crown paper is also known as 1 Sheet for billboard posters, probably being called Double Crown for movie posters to avoid confusion with the One Sheet movie poster specific size.
  • Quad is also known as two sheet and may take its name from Quadruple Crown (i.e. double the size of the Double Crown paper).

Thanks to so many people - mentioned above - for their help with this article.