Take Off

Catalogue number
  • Art.IWM ART LD 3834
Art and Popular Design
Production date
Subject period
  • Support: canvas
  • medium: oil
  • Support: Height 1828 mm, Width 1524 mm
  • Frame: Depth 83 mm, Height 2073 mm, Width 1772 mm
Alternative names
  • object category: painting

© IWM (Art.IWM ART LD 3834)

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Object description

image: the interior of a Stirling Mk 3 bomber with the four man crew readying for take-off. Two pilots sit in the cockpit, the navigator busies himself with his maps and the wireless operator, bearing the insignia of a Flight Sergeant, turns a dial on the wireless unit.


'Dame Laura is here to paint a war picture - something to do with the talk-off or landing of a Stirling for a night operation. She said that Bert had given her an inspiration for her picture by showing her the interior of 'The Mighty F' (pilot Reggie Lown) just before they took off one night. She asked him to get out of the aircraft & get in again, & saw that her original idea had been impracticable. Then she decided to paint the crew in the aircraft getting ready for set off. She said it is the most difficult task she has ever set herself. Bert said to her, "you seemed that night as if you saw more than we could see." [...] The impression left on me was that she could see more than a few lads joking, & apparently making light of a hazardous enterprise. She could see beyond their exteriors, & the front that hid each individual from his fellows. The picture should be interesting.' Flight Officer Menna Walden-Jones, RAF Mildenhall, October 1943

History note

War Artists Advisory Committee commission


Laura Knight

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