Liss Llewellyn Fine Art - 20th Century British Art

Roy Nockolds (1911-1979)   BIOGRAPHY

Anti-aircraft batteries attack, 1944
Framed (ref: 125)
Signed and dated
Oil on canvas
28 x 36 in. (71.1 x 91.5 cm)


Provenance: Private collection

Exhibited : WW2 - War Pictures by British Artists, Morley College London, 28 October -23 November 2016, cat 159. 

Literature: WW2 - War Pictures by British Artists, Edited by Sacha Llewellyn & Paul Liss, July 2016, cat 159, page 199.

In June 1944 the first flying bombs fell on London; they were usually called 'buzz-bombs' or 'doodle-bugs'. This historically important, dramatic skyscape, recording the arrival of buzz-bombs in Britain, depicts most probably the landscape of Kent - buzz-bombs were launched from Northern France. Propelled by pulse engines (indicated by the intermittent black puffs of smoke), buzz-bombs flew at 400 mph. This unprecedented speed rendered artillery fire largely ineffective so, rather than being directed, artillery was sent up as a wall of fire. Buzz-bombs announced the dawn of a new form of warfare. To combat their speed the Meteor fighter jet was developed, leading to the technological revolution that would, eventually, take man to the moon.

During the war Nockolds not only served in the RAF but developed for them a revolutionary camouflage for Mosquitoes. Whilst most artists chose as their subjects the almost picturesque aftermath of bomb damage (The Ministry of Home Security published an entire volume of pictures of bomb damage, under the title Blitz, 1942), Nockolds engaged with the technology of war. Stalking the Night Raider and Three Spitfires attacking a formation of Junkers (Imperial War Museum) are among the most atmospheric paintings of aerial combat produced during the War.

We are grateful to John Monnington for his assistance.

Roy Nockolds (1911-1979)

Self-taught aviation and motor racing artist and etcher born in London. Nockolds was attracted to motor sport on his first visit to Brooklands in 1924. He contributed to Motor Sport, Autocar and Motor, and excelled in capturing the atmosphere and technical aspects of motor racing. He applied the same skill to aviation art - his authoritative picture of the Battle of Britain, commissioned for Royal Air Force Fighter Command, is a tour de force. During World War II Nockolds served in the Air Force, developed a revolutionary camouflage for the Mosquitoes and was an Official War Artist. Immediately after the war he produced a remarkable series of near-abstract paintings for Armstrong Siddeley celebrating the effects of the new generation of jet engines. He was a chairman of the Guild of Aviation Artists, 1975, and of The Brooklands Society, 1976. Nockolds oeuvre was diverse; he produced excellent drypoints, published by Autocar; a series of abstracts of science and technology for Mullard; sporting prints for Frost & Reed; and commissioned portraits of gun dogs. He showed at RA, RP, Guildhall Art Gallery and elsewhere, and there was a memorial exhibition at Qantas Gallery In 1980. He lived near Farnham, Surrey.

See all works by Roy Nockolds