UNSEEN BELLAMY

FRANK BELLAMY - THE UNSEEN FRANK BELLAMY 

INTRODUCTION
Speakeasy #100 -
blown up and coloured panel
from E195 from "Sundance"
The "Unseen Frank Bellamy Basement Gallery Exhibition" catalogue was published, to coincide with the exhibition, in Acme Press' Speakeasy magazine #100 (July 1989). The long-running (10 years or so) comics fanzine-turned-professional publication folded in the early 90s.

Speakeasy was founded by Richard Ashford, whom Alan Davis (the comic book artist) took to visit Frank Bellamy's widow, Nancy Bellamy. The meeting set in motion the events that resulted in the Acme Press/Speakeasy art show

The event itself took place at The Basement Gallery 391 Coldharbour Lane Brixton, London SW9 8LQ between the 15 of July and 3 of September 1989.

I have listed the exhibition catalogue as it may be the only proof of a piece's existence, the size being important for identification purposes. Some illustrations supplied in the catalogue have been used below. I asked Alan Woollcombe, the author of the Nancy Bellamy interview, about the selection of images but he has stated that he did not select the illustration to accompany the article. Not everything was described consistently in the catalogue


# 1) DEVIOUS WAYS TO WIN
pencil, ink and colour
(79 x 55 cm) - see article

Devious ways to win - (c/o Tim Barnes)

#2) RED DEVIL DEAN SUGGESTIONS
(50 x 40 cm) - see article
Red Devil Dean (c/o Chris Harris)
# 3) THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE 
(47 x37 cm)  - see p.13 of catalogue
Although this image is of the James Cain novel, we do not know where/if this was published. The style appears to be from Bellamy's 1945-1950 period.

The Postman always rings twice (c/o Len Woodgate)

Postcard from the event (c/o Steve Holland)
Reverse side of postcard
# 4) ROMANCE COVER
Red background (40 x 31 cm)
The owner tells me "The size is almost correct (for the board itself). Picture itself is 293mm x 233mm including the bleed. Trim size is approx 286mm x 225mm"- see article

Book cover?

# 5) ROMANCE ILLO
Red dress & curtain (55 x 37 cm)
see p.13 of catalogue
The style appears to be from Bellamy's 1950s period, but was not found in Home Notes magazines  although matching the style very well. If anyone knows where this was published please let me know - see article

Romance illo (c/o Tim Barnes)
# 6) ALL MY OWN WORK 
black and white cartoon  (57 x 44 cm)
see p.10 of catalogue and Northamptonshire Evening Telegraph


All my own work
Northamptonshire Evening Telegraph 1948

#7) SOLDIER IN STATION
pastels (53 x 38 cm)
This is a pastel on rough thin paper of a serviceman on a station waiting for a train. Not published as far as we know. It might have been called "Last Train" as this title appears in the Kettering & District Art Society (KDAS) Exhibition Catalogue of 25 May 1946-15 June 1946. 


"Soldier in station" or "Last Train"

#8) EVEREST CONQUERED
colour (28 x 24 cm)
The only Bellamy 'Everest' known to be published is the Eagle comic cover, but that is too tall compared to these dimensions which are almost square

#9) FRENCH INFANTRY with explosions
colour (39 x 33 cm)
This was done for the Look and Learn series "The Story of World War One" but never published at the time
French Infantry (c/o Jeff Haythorpe)
#10) NUDE BACK VIEW
pastels (59 x 50 cm)
This may be one of many sketches from life classes - see articles


#11) LEOPARD IN THE NIGHT
(page and illo) - sepia (49 x 59 cm)

We believe this is one of the two pieces in the Everybody's Weekly (1 October 1955) but may be wrong
From the published page - is this the one?

#12) BULLFIGHTER
on CS10 (48 x 63 cm) - appears to be in portrait

#13) BULLFIGHTER
on Whatman (65 x 48 cm) - appears to be in landscape

#14) FLAMENCO DANCER
on cs10 (65 x 47 cm)
The dimensions show this might be a landscape illustration

#15) BULL'S HEAD

on cs10 (57 x 45 cm)


#16) AFRICAN DRUMMER
on cs10 light (58 x 50 cm)


#17) AFRICAN DRUMMER
on cs10 dark (50 x 41 cm)


#18) MATADOR, BULL AND SWORD
(56 x 42 cm)
There are three unpublished matador/toreadors known to exist. We believe that the late Bob Monkhouse bought this one


#19) BUFFALO HEAD
pastel (67 x 54 cm)
Jeff Haythorpe owns a piece which measures 450 x 300 (rather than the stated 67 x 54 cm) - could this be the same?
"Water buffalo head" - African Cape Buffalo

#20) ROMANTIC ILLO
blue background (75 x 53 cm)
I'm guessing from the dimensions that this is the item reproduced by Rian Hughes - see article

#21) LOS TOROS
on cs10 (54 x 78 cm)
Literally "The bulls" but could be the name of a matador

#22) PORTRAIT OF NANCY
(51 x 35 cm)
This portrait was used on pages 7 and 8 of the Speakeasy catalogue - see article

The young Nancy Bellamy (c/o Len Woodgate)
#23) BATTLE OF BRITAIN Week 38
(28 x 29cm) - page 5
This is from the  Radio Times.  "Wk 38" refers to which week of the year this Radio Times was published 

Battle of Britain from Radio Times

#24) PEARL HARBOUR Dec 7 8.00
(32 x 37 cm)
Published in Radio Times

Grand strategy: (#3) Pearl Harbour from Radio Times

#25) GERMAN WAR 1942-1943
(36 x 38 cm) - see p.11 of catalogue
Published in Radio Times
Grand strategy: (#4) Stalingrad from Radio Times

#26) JAPANESE NUCLEAR MUSHROOM
(40 x 36 cm)  - see p.11 of catalogue
Published in Radio Times

Grand strategy: (#7) Total war  from Radio Times

#27) WRIGHT BROTHERS
(50 x 28 cm)
Published in Radio Times - see article

Orville & Wilbur from Radio Times (c/o Tim Keable)
Orville & Wilbur from Radio Times (c/o Tim Keable)

#28) WAR ILLOS: POLAND, FRANCE, RUSSIA
(SET OF 3) (32 x 16 cm) - see p.12 of catalogue where only the one below (1 of the 3) are shown
 Published in Radio Times
General von Bock- Grand strategy: (#1) Blitzkrieg from Radio Times

#29) INFLATION CROCODILE
(43 x 36 cm) - see p.11 of catalogue
See article

Inflation crocodile

#30) DOCTOR AND PATIENT
(27 x 23 cm)
see p.10 of catalogue, originally published in Radio Times

From p.10 - published in Radio Times

#31) KING SOLOMON'S MINES - CHARACTER STUDIES
(24 x 21 cm)
Although 3 double-page spreads of the aborted Eagle strip exist, the character studies are not yet found


#32) LIFE STUDIES COLLECTION
  • 43 sheets - Various approx A3 mounted
  • 6 small sheets A4/A5 signed
  • 20 sheets mounted unsigned
  • 1 sketch A4 pastel and wash  - see p.10 of catalogue

Lots of pages from Bellamy's sketchbook are known to still exist. They have been sold to collectors all over the world. Bellamy attended a life class during his Blamire's Studio days (1933-1940, and 1946-1948) and organised classes in the 1960s - see articles

One 'life study' shown on p. 10 (now owned by Trevor Goring)
#33) FRASER OF AFRICA
(44 x 36 cm)
This appears to be landscape format

#34) RED MATADOR
(55 x 51 cm)
We have not encountered a "red" matador. There are three unpublished matador/toreadors known to exist.
norman
#35) ANTHONY [sic] FALLOWAY
(42 x 29 cm)
One panel is illustrated in the Speakeasy biography.  See article
Antony Falloway - try-out for the Daily Express?

#36) BLACK DANCERS
(48 x 35 cm)

#37) BLACK DANCER
(48 x 35 cm)


#38) SAFARI
(54 x 39 cm)
38    SAFARI
A 9 panel comic strip labelled Safari exists which appears to be an African themed strip. It might have been a precursor/trial for Fraser of Africa - however the dimensions make this appear landscape not portrait


#39) NUDE -BLACK & WHITE
(31 x 35 cm) - see p.12 of catalogue

Nude in black and white

#40) ZEBRA AND LIONS
(47 x 39 cm)

#41) GREEN BUDDAH
(38 x 27 cm)

#42) ROMAN CARTOON FOOTBALL TELEGRAPH
(48 x 42 cm)
It seems reasonable, to assume that this is from the Football Telegraph
Football Telegraph

#43) 26 X GARTH STRIPS
(55 x 20 cm) -
  • Speakeasy cover is a panel from E195 (Sundance)
  • Page 1 shows a panel from H213 (Freak out to Fear)
  • Page 4 shows a panel from E195 (Sundance)
  • Page 10 shows a cameo from J253 (The Bubble Man)
  • Page 12 shows a panel from K97 (The Spanish Lady) 
  • Page 13 shows Garth fromK127 (The Spanish Lady)
It's likely these were all on display as they are used in the catalogue

One panel from K97 "The Spanish Lady"
K127 "The Spanish Lady"

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