With more than 400 lavish colour and black and white and illustrations, the book Champions of Flight chronicles the 20-year careers of the era’s foremost aviation artists – from the Roaring 20s through the Great Depression and World War II. Published in hardback by Casemate at £40, this beautifully-produced coffee table book is not cheap, but for RAF News readers stuck for a Christmas present for their aviation mad loved ones it could prove priceless.
At the end of the day, this book will wrap you in a warm glow as you leaf through the stupendous range of art. It truly is inspirational stuff… I have to thank the authors because they have given me my ‘book of the year’ in January. (Mark Barnes)
This beautiful new large-format book is a colorful, engaging and visually amazing account of military and civilian aviation’s golden age from Charles Lindbergh’s solo transatlantic flight at age 25 in 1927 through the crucible of WWII. It’s part biography, part art history and part cultural touchstone of a pivotal period. (Stuart A. Hessney)
"Recommended Very Highly"
The book’s 400-plus finely reproduced illustrations -- gathered from the Knight and Heaslip families, private collections and archival sources -- show that Clayton Knight and William Heaslip earned noteworthy commissions, portraying civilian and military aviation subjects for the rest of their lives. Champions of Flight is recommended very highly. (Peter Kilduff)
"A Fitting Tribute"
Anyone with an interest in aviation's golden age will recognize and appreciate the role these brush-wielding flyboys played, through their personal involvement and by perpetuating that interest among their successors. This beautiful volume is a fitting tribute to their contributions. (Jon Guttman)
About the book
Champions of Flight celebrates the work of Clayton Joseph Knight (1891-1969) and William John Heaslip (1898-1970), the two preeminent aviation artists of their time, as they chronicled the golden age of aviation —from Charles Lindbergh’s epochal transatlantic flight through the most devastating war in world history (1927-1945). Knight and Heaslip were experienced military men and formally trained artists educated at America’s most prestigious art schools. Combining an authenticity of experience and an artistic mastery of illustration, they produced powerful artwork that influenced a generation of Americans, creating air-minded adults and youngsters, many of whom flocked to US military service after Pearl Harbor.
Champions of Flight reveals how deeply aviation was sewn into America’s culture during the ‘20s, ‘30s and ‘40s. It was then that Americans became fascinated by aviation celebrities, watched air spectacles, aviation movies and newsreels, and devoured books, aviation industry ads, magazine articles, and Sunday comics featuring pilot heroes. Artists Knight and Heaslip—both of whom were adept as draftsmen, painters and printmakers—fueled the imagination of these Americans through prolific illustrations and artwork that appeared in many diverse publications of the time. Over a period of almost twenty years, Clayton Knight and William Heaslip championed their love of flight through their art, and they did so with enthusiasm, integrity, and generosity. This book, featuring over 400 illustrations and photos, is a tribute to their legacy.
Sheryl Fiegel is an art historian with a BA degree in Art History and an MA degree in Fine Arts (Art History) from Tufts University. She has had a varied career, including gallerist, fine art appraiser (ASA), independent curator and corporate art advisor. Fiegel first came into contact with the work of Clayton Knight and William Heaslip through her organization of a five-day multi-service tribute under the auspices of the 50th Anniversary of WWII Commemoration Committee to honor combat artists. Her husband John is a retired Air Force officer, and her late father-in-law was the commanding officer of the 93rd Bomb Group of the Mighty Eighth Air Force out of Hardwick in Britain during WWII. Her collection of fine art prints from WWII was recently exhibited at the Cosmos Club in Washington DC.
Theodore Hamady (1937 – 2021)
Theodore Hamady held degrees in Modern European History and Business from the University of Michigan and an MBA in International Business from George Washington University. He was a historian and published author of the highly acclaimed historical book on The Nieuport 28, America’s First Fighter, and he published numerous articles and contributed to books on aviation history and aviation art. He received an award for the best article of the year in the journal AIR POWER HISTORY, published by the USAF Historical Foundation. Theodore Hamady was an avid collector of aviation art and associated memorabilia. He contributed artifacts and assisted in the production of the WWI A.E.F. Art Gallery exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum (NASM). Recognized as an “Outstanding Volunteer” by NASM, he completed 29 years of service there as a research historian.
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