In The Air Tonight

Michael Rondot

 

 

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In The Air Tonight Michael Rondot

During the opening nights of Operation Desert Storm hundreds of RAF, US and Coalition aircraft unleashed a tidal wave of low-level bombing attacks on airfield targets in Iraq and in occupied Kuwait. Spearheading the RAF attack were Tornado GR.1 units based at Tabuk and Dhahran in Saudi Arabia and Muharraq, Bahrain. These early missions, flown at low-altitude, often under cover of darkness, were strictly for the brave. Approaching their targets over featureless desert, the aircrews were faced with ferocious barrages of AAA gunfire and missiles defending the airfields. It took a special kind of determination to press home attacks in the face of the full fury of Iraq's air defences flying straight and level through curtains of tracer fire to deliver JP 233 weapons.

Afterwards, some of the pilots were icily matter-of-fact about these missions: "You could see the AAA from over twenty miles away but from five miles out at 200 feet you could steer a path through the lines of tracer to the target. It was a bit scary, but we were more concerned about being forced off track and laying down our weapons a hundred yards right or left of the intended impact path, than we were about bullets going past the window." Others were more sombre about their experiences, perhaps realising that running a gauntlet of enemy fire and surviving unscathed owed more than a little to luck and the Iraqi gunners' tactics of hosing the sky with unaimed fire.

The television images of the Gulf War air campaign as a series of precision attacks with laser-guided bombs, dropped from the relative safety of medium altitude, takes no account of the fearsome price that was paid in delivering these early low-level attacks. Aircraft were lost; friends were killed or taken prisoner, but the missions continued for five nights until it became clear that the price was too high, and Tornados abandoned low-altitude attacks.

In the Air Tonight, the fifth print in Michael Rondot's Gulf War series of paintings, portrays a Tornado GR-1 with JP 233 airfield denial weapons taking off at the start of a night low-level mission to attack an airfield target deep within Iraq. The bad weather and dark, overcast evening sky of the first days of the war add power and atmosphere to the dramatic scene as the Tornado accelerates along the runway with afterburners blazing. As a Jaguar pilot working alongside the Tornado GR-1 crews at Bahrain Michael Rondot witnessed many scenes like this, and his painting pays tribute to those who flew the Tornado GR-1, some of whom, tragically, did not survive the war.

 

PRINT DETAILS

Each print is artist-signed, dated and numbered, and is countersigned by 19 RAF Tornado GR-1 aircrew from Operation Desert Storm, including holders of the Distinguished Service Order and Distinguished Flying Cross awards for gallantry.

Each print is accompanied with a matching numbered certificate of authenticity.

Overall Print Size 28"x 20" (inches) Printed in lightfast inks on acid free archival paper.

PRINT PRICES

Signed and Numbered Print
UK £110.00 Edition Size - 500

Artist Proof Edition
UK £165.00 Edition Size - 50

Remarque Edition
UK £250.00 (Please Call)

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Helpful information regarding our Limited Edition Prints

Limited edition print:

An edition of identical prints, numbered sequentially and individually signed by the artist, having a stated limit to the quantity in the edition. Following publication the printing plates are destroyed. Almost all the aviation art and aircraft prints featured on this website are authenticated with the original signatures of distinguished military personnel.

Artists Proof:

An old tradition of reserving a quantity of prints for the artist's use, usually equal to about 10 % of the edition. In the early days of printing, these prints were the only remuneration the poor artist received. Proofs are signed by the artist and numbered showing the quantity of Artist's Proofs issued in the edition. Because of their highly restricted number, Artist's Proofs are sold at a higher value than the regular prints in the edition.

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A quantity of prints, not always announced or issued at the time of publication, usually equal to no more than 10% of the edition. These are reserved for the publisher's use, mostly for donation to Museums, Service establishments, Service Associations, and the like. Quantities of Publishers Proofs, sometimes issued with a supplementary print, may be made available to collectors either at the time of publication, or at a later date, depending upon availability.

Remarqued print:

A print issued with an original pencil drawing by the artist in the margin, each numbered out of the quantity of individually remarqued prints in the edition. The quantity of remarqued prints in any one edition generally is between 25 and 50. Each remarque drawing made by the artist is slightly different, thus making each print totally unique. Remarqued prints may be available at the time of publication, or announced at a later date, depending upon the artist's work load at the time .Please be aware that Remarque prints can take up to six weeks for delivery. An artist remarqued print is the ultimate collector item in terms of reproduced work.

Companion print:

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Matted (or mounted) print:

A print fitted into an acid-free or conservation matt (or mount), ready for framing.

Original drawing:

An original work individually drawn by the artist, completed in pencil, ink, or other medium, and personally signed by the artist. Being an original work each drawing is unique and different.

Certificate of Authenticity:

A certificate issued by the publisher stating the total quantity of prints issued in the edition, confirming authenticity of the signatures, and in the case of a limited edition, inscribed with the matching unique number inscribed on the individual print. Collectors are advised to keep certificates safely as a future means of provenance. All our aviation art and aircraft prints are issued with a certificate of authenticity.

 

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