Airwork Hermes - Maintenance at Blackbushe
by
Deborah Jones

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I recently saw this original oil on canvas painting being offered in an auction. It was painted in 1955 by Deborah Jones and depicts one of Airwork's Hermes in the hangar at Blackbushe undergoing maintenance checks. As with many paintings, the further back you can view it the better and on screen it is tricky to show it properly.

But it looks a nicely detailed work, there is lots going on. I think I can see 7 people working on or around the aircraft and you can see the hangar door opening, roof beams, engine cowls open and much more. Deborah was most certainly painting from real life. More images below too.

Deborah Jones made her living painting dolls houses and teddy bears - an obsession born when only her treasured teddy "Lexi" survived a German bombing raid which destroyed her home in Richmond Park Road in Clifton (near Bristol) in 1941. Over the years she painted Lexi many times often with objects she had picked up on her world travels. Though Street Scenes and clearly one aircraft were also in her portfolio. 

At first she displayed her canvases on railings along the Bayswater Road in London but was soon exhibiting all over the UK and in countries including France, Italy and America. In 1975 actor Cary Grant, (North by Northwest etc) went to the first day of an exhibition in London and ended up buying the whole lot - around 20. American singer and actor Frank Sinatra also owned her work.

Deborah travelled widely, on business and pleasure, exhibiting work in Italy, New York and Chicago and enjoying, in her "sixties", the experience of outpacing her younger companions on the Great Wall of China.

Earlier in her life, following the death of her father, Deborah moved to Bristol and she worked for Bristol Aeroplane Company in the machine shop. Possibly the reason for returning to aircraft in 1955, but it is nice to be able to see this painting.

Deborah passed away, aged 91, on Christmas Eve - 2012.