For almost six decades Roy Nockolds’ ruled as the ‘artist’s artist’. Now, 14 years after his death, some of his great works are available again
On his day, few artists could match the skill and perception of Roy Nockolds, who worked almost unceasingly in the period from 1926 through until his death in 1980.
In the inter-war years Gordon Crosby and Bryan de Grineau were rivals, but both were essentially staff illustrators for magazines. Nockolds was fiercely independent as he established an enviable reputation as the ‘artist’s artist’. He saw the racing car as a form of speed to be captured on canvas, and upon his death he left a legacy in the form of a complete archive of period glass plates, negative plates, scraperboard plates and etching plates of all his major works produced over almost six decades. Now Thackwell & Co of Monte Carlo (run by Ray Thackwell, father of Mike, the youngest man ever to have started a World Championship Grand Prix) owns this archive and its world copyright and, as visitors to the Gallery of Motoring Art at the recent Coys Historic Festival at Silverstone will have seen, is marketing series of limited edition lithographs.
Thackwell works directly from the artist’s original plates and each image is produced on watercolour paper. They’re certainly not cheap, and prices start from around £585 framed and £485 unframed. Further information is available from Katie Rimmer at Rampage, Unit 5, McKay Trading Estate, Station Approach, Oxon OX6 7BZ: telephone 0869 323400.
100 Years of Motorsport, from Original Wallcharts. £5.75 incl p&p.
From Levassor’s Pan hard to Schumacher’s BenettonFord, a century of motor racing has been incorporated within a beautifully printed 24 x 34 in wallchart, the information for which has been supplied by Doug Nye. Connoisseurs won’t learn much, but it is both busy and attractive. Somehow, they’ve managed to include 121 photographs, predominantly colour.
Contact Original Wallcharts on 0732 872626.
Spreading My Wings, by Diana Barnato Walker, MBE. PSL, £16.99.
The daughter of Woolf Barnato, whom we all know was a great racing driver, thrice winner at Le Mans with Rubin, Birkin and Kidston on his only appearances there, in the Bentleys, which company he bought, tells her inevitably fascinating story, as a girl brought up among riches and fast motor cars, but who put all that behind her during the war, when she flew for ATA, suffering great tragedy and some very close calls. Diana Barnato flew 123 different types of aeroplanes, from Tiger Moth and Tipsy, up to 14 Mks of Spitfires and “heavies” such as Wellingtons and Whitleys, and the rapid Mosquitos. She served mainly at White Waltham, delivered American as well as British aircraft, lost a fiancé and a husband and many friends during that time, yet tells her story with humour. Today she is Commodore of the ATA Association.
This book reminds us again of what sterling service they gave, and what remarkable pilots the ATA girls were. From the motoring angle we learn that the Bentley boys used to dine at Diana’s father’s house with racing trophies along the table, how her father’s 21st birthday present to her was a Talbot but she ended by swapping it for a 4 1/4 Bentley (CXF 114), how when petrol was scarce in the war Barnato used a small Lancia (presumably an Aprilia) and Diana an Opel. She tells the true story of the Barnato origins, and how she survived cancer, and there are a great many nostalgic pictures, of which I liked those of Diana and her sister Virginia at Brooklands one Easter Monday as young girls and Diana at Brooklands when she was learning to fly there, in 1938. The final chapter is about how she flew through the sound barrier in a Lightning and the Foreword is by the Rt Hon Lord Shawcross, GBE, QC. One of those “must read” books! (I am right: it is already in a second edition.) W.B.
Hendon Aerodrome – A History, by David Oliver. Airlife, £1 2.95.>/strong>
Aviation folk will find this very good value indeed. The author gives us a wonderfully complete account of Hendon from the pre-1914 days of air-racing there, through the first World War, the subsequent era of the Aerial Derby and King’s Cup races and those memorable RAF Tournaments, Pageants and Displays (enjoyed by me as a schoolboy, who avoided the packed tube back into London by walking to one station up the line from Colindale) and all the Service flying, with its highlights and accidents, etc. Indeed, Oliver’s research and knowledge of his subject are truly admirable, the accounts of political intrigue as it enveloped Hendon fascinating, and altogether I found this not only a very readable book, admirably illustrated, but an invaluable reference work. W.B.
Mollison, The Flying Scotsman, by David Luff. Lidun Publishing, 63 Hall Park Drive, West Park, Lytham St Annes, Lams FY8 402, £16.95.
Much has been published about Amy Mollison, and now the life story of her husband, the controversial Jim Mollison, has been recounted in this 399-page book. The opening chapters have a faintly fictional flavour, and I raised my eyebrows at a 3-ton solid-tyred Crossley tender in 1924 (will the Crossley Register enlighten me?), and wondered whether the road from Balsham to Duxford was known as the A505 in those days. But such niggles are unworthy in reviewing a book which sets out to cover the career of this very famous flier in great detail and put right the rather unsavoury reputation Jim Mollison had, imparted in other books by his playboy persona, broken marriages and hard drinking. David Luff has countered such distortions of his character by the media and emphasises his ability as a pilot, which was overshadowed by Amy Johnson’s fame (the girl Jim married). That he has succeeded is endorsed by Raymond Baxter, who saw Mollison as “Biggles” and “Bulldog Drummond” combined, having written the Foreword. W.B.
• Returning to a motoring theme, MRP’s latest extremely comprehensive Collector’s Guide is devoted to that car we all once wanted, the Bertone Fiat X1/9, by Phil Ward. For £13.99 you get almost everything you might want to know about this exclusive Fiat model, its history, advice on purchase and DIY maintenance, performance figures, specifications and styling conversions, competition history, clubs and parts suppliers, with very clear pictures. W.B.