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Friday, 23 August 2019

Louis Bleriot Crossing The English Channel As Depicted In The Village Story Book

    July 25th 2019 saw the 110th anniversary of the flight of the French engineer and Aviator Louis Bleriot, who was the first man to fly across the English Channel between Calais and Dover in 36 minutes. This historic flight is depicted in “The Village Story Book.” Oh by the way, there’s a sailing vessel under No.6’s right thumb!
   I have always been struck by this picture, and thought there must be more to it than first meets the eye. During more than five years of research into ‘the Prisoner,’ I eventually found out that the aircraft is a Bleriot XI in which Louis Bleriot flew across the English Channel in 1909, thus capturing the London Daily Mail prize of £1,000 which had been put up by the newspaper the year before for any successful cross-Channel aeroplane flight. You can read more about this subject in my book ‘The Prisoner Dusted Down’ It was all well and good finding the information, but it was still the picture which captured my attention. It struck me that the picture had been stuck in “The Village Story Book” in a somewhat rushed manner, because it and the other pictures we see, the boxing scene, and the whaling scene do not fit the pages of the book properly.
     So I set about trying to track down the picture of the Bleriot XI, what I thought must surely be a print of an original painting. But I had no idea who the artist was, so I had no name to go by. I trawled through countless art and poster websites, consulted any number of art books and gazetteers. However it turned out to be a frustrating and fruitless pursuit. But I never gave up the search, and from time to time I would resume the quest. And that is what I was doing only recently; in fact it was only four days before the 110th anniversary of Bleriot’s historic flight across the
English Channel, that I found this picture. It was created and published in Brussels by J.L. Goffart, printer, in 1911. This was a personal success for me, and suddenly I felt my original goal was within my grasp. Thus the search was continued, and the full result can be seen over the page.  

    And finally my quest is over, for on July 23rd 2019 I finally managed to track this print down, its description follows; This print shows French engineer and aviator, Louis Blériot seated in the cockpit of his wood and fabric airplane as he crosses the English Channel on his flight from Sangette, France, near Calais, to Dover Castle on July 25, 1909 in the first Channel crossing by air. It is dated ‘09’ for 1909 and signed by the artist H. Delaspre {Guillaume-Claude-Henri Delaspre 18?? - 19??}. Although a prolific artist little more than his name is known. Amongst his works are a number of French propaganda posters during the Great War of 1914-18, his last work is dated 1948. Nor could I trace the original painting.
     The print above was created and published in
Brussels by J. L. Goffart, printer, in 1911, and is stretched canvas art, the size is 24 x 18 inch and described as being Wall Art Décor.

    For those of you reading this, and have a copy of my book ‘The Prisoner Dusted Down,’ please feel free to print this article, and place it between the appropriate pages of the book.

Be seeing you

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