Mint condition 2nd hand copies of the book showing 154 paintings of South African Military Aircraft by Ron Belling.
The collection of paintings covers the history of aviation in South Africa from 1917 to about 1976, and at the same time reflects some of the many changes that have taken place within Port Elizabeth and the Eastern Cape, a region important in the history of aviation in the sub-continent.
The collection is now preserved by Gutsche Family Investments as part of the cultural heritage of this city.
The paintings were the result of many years of research, extensive photographic recording, field sketching and flying with the South African Air Force by the artist. Throughout this time, he continued to develop and refine the skills he required to work in this specialised field of painting, and the collection reflects this.
Ron Bellings challenge was to combine the difficult and divergent aspects of accurate historical representation, landscape, townscape, and seascape painting, the accurate portrayal of the drama of the weather, and then combine all these with technically exact illustrations of the aircraft, both past and present.
Despite the technical demands of his subjects, Ron Belling was ever conscious of the overall artistic constraints of the overall artist constraints of aesthetics and compositional requirements in his pictures. Every aircraft is illustrated with exact engineering detail, serial and identification markings, and colour accuracy.
This information was a fundamental historical requirement in every painting and, in the course of his wide ranging research, he became a leading international authority on aeronautics. His records, library, writings and supporting research material bear eloquent testimony to his professionalism.
He recorded codes and serial numbers, took detailed notes of paintwork (which often had many subtle variations), and years after, when classified restrictions were lifted, he was able to illustrate and publish details of some of the many individual aircraft.?
Overseas historians were fascinated when his book was published in 1989 and it soon sold out. Finding good 2nd hand copies these days is not easy.
The Ron Belling Art Gallery was established in 2000 in Port Elizabeth. The focus has gradually shifted over the years with the changing times and the growing interest in the visual arts arena. The Gallery name has since been changed to the Gutsche Family Investment Art Gallery (GFI Art Gallery) and the building has over the years been sensitively adjusted to accommodate its ever changing role.