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Sir Alan Cobham Returning to London from His Record Breaking Flight to Australia

Stanley Roy Badmin (1906-1989)


Signed and dated 'Oct 1926'
Inscribed 'from Australia. Cobham turning preparatory to landing. LCC County Hall' and dated 'Oct 1926' below mount

Pen ink and watercolour

12 ¼ x 9 ½ inches

'S R Badmin RWS, Paintings, Drawings & Prints', Chris Beetles Gallery, March-April 2015, No 1;
'A Century of British Art: 1900-1945', Chris Beetles Gallery, 21 June-17 July 2021, No 126

Alan Cobham won the prestigious Britannia Trophy in 1923 for his 12,000 mile flight around Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. he won the trophy again in 1925 when he became the first person to fly to India and back in 1924-25. This painting depicts the third and final time he won the trophy, in 1926, when he became the first person to fly to Australia and back in his De Havilland DH 50 biplane.

Alan Cobham began his Australia flight on 30 June 1926, which was marred when his faithful mechanic, Arthur Elliott, was shot and killed whilst flying over Basra, Iraq. Cobham continued his flight with a replacement mechanic reaching Melbourne, Australia on 15 August 1926 where a record breaking crowd of 150,000 people gathered to meet him. He left Australia for England on 29 August 1926 and landed on the river Thames by the Houses of Parliament 34 days later on 1 October 1926. This painting commemorates his triumphant return to crowds of around a million who clustered on the bridges and embankments to watch him land. He received a knighthood within days of returning. The view is from the Victoria Tower Gardens south of the Houses of Parliament looking towards the old London County Council County Hall.

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