Keith Henderson (1883 - 1982):
Bristol Blenheim Mark I: Illustrations for Cecil Lewis’s "Sagittarius Rising", circa 1940
Framed (ref: 999)
Pen and ink on cut-out gessoed card
Provenance: Eric Slack Private Collection
Cecil Lewis’s Sagittarius Rising (first published 1936), for which these are illustrations, was a memoir of his time spent as a combat pilot in England’s Royal Flying Corps during the FirstWorldWar . It became the great classic of military aviation and is still generally considered the finest air memoir of the war , running into numerous editions.
It is not clear when Henderson made these drawings for the epic book, but he has depicted a Hawker Hart biplane, which was introduced in the early 1930s as a light bomber .The twin-engined plane is a Bristol Blenheim Mark I, which was a medium bomber used during the SecondWorldWar , especially in the early years. Subsequent versions, such as the widely used Mark IV, had a redesigned nose.
Henderson was appointed Air Ministry Artist in 1940, and concentrated on paintings of aircraft and hangars at Scottish aerodromes, including RAF Leuchars. Dissatisfied with his speed of production, theWAAC’s Air Ministry representative terminated his appointment at the end of October .