Phantom Eyre, 1944
Framed (ref: 4800)
Signed and dated, label with title to reverse, Phantom Eyre - phantasy suggested by a Thunderbolt aerodrome, somewhere in England, and on a second label, Razor Blacks, 256
15 1/2 x 22 5/8 (39.3 x 57.5 cm)
Tags: Rudolph Sauter allegory transport war World War II Paintings by British Artists
Exhibited: WW2 - War Pictures by British Artists, Morley College London, 28 October -23 November 2016, cat 52.
Literature: WW2 - War Pictures by British Artists, Edited by Sacha Llewellyn & Paul Liss, July 2016, cat 52, page 91.
During World War II, Rudolf Sauter was an Army Welfare Officer under South Eastern Command. Although he was never an official war artist the events he witnessed informed his work.
Though somewhat generically represented, these aircraft in the process of taking off, appear to be Republic P-47Bs, which the RAF called the Thunderbolt Mk. I.
Though showing considerable promise - particularly from its immensely powerful Pratt & Whitney Double Wasp engine - the aircraft was not popular in this version because of the raised upper fuselage behind the cockpit. This impeded vision behind the pilot, a vital consideration when dog-fighting, and the Type was known by the RAF as the 'Razor Back'.
All pilots complained of this feature and both USAAF and RAF versions were much improved by the re-profiling of the fuselage and the introduction of a 'bubble' canopy that permitted easy rearward vision from an internally mounted mirror.
We are grateful to Andrew Cormack for assistance.