Barrie Clark (Copyright Barrie A.F. Clark)
By Tally One Assistant Editor P. Wilhelm
Probably one of the most known and best-loved examples of aviation art is
this beautiful, and classy painting by Barrie A. F.
Clark: “Spitfire”, painted circa 1982. This
painting/print has been sold by many different
galleries, from many different locations – framed and
unframed – in many different sizes, to countless numbers
of aviation art lovers, located in many different
countries around the world. As fast and deadly as
an airborne shark, “Spitfire,” depicted amid plumes of
bomb-blasted smoke in this painting, is an iconic symbol
of victory over daunting odds.
A champion dueler, the legendary fighter was piloted by England’s Royal
Air Force during World War II’s
Battle of Britain.
That battle, the first completely airborne clash in the
world, was the first defeat of Hitler’s military forces.
According to online sources, it has been postulated
airplane in this painting is a Vickers Supermarine
Spitfire Mark VB of the 243d Squadron. While it
would be nice to satisfy one’s curiosity as to the exact
origin of this specific aircraft, it is not required.
“Spitfire” is one of those rare works of art that
transcends the question of whether true art has to be
something other than an airplane.
Born in Hampshire on 18th September 1943, Barrie Clark (the artist) spent
his childhood in the New Forest. His first memories are
of steam locomotives and model aircraft as his father
was an enthusiast and had served as a pilot with the
Royal Flying Corps. Although Barrie yearned to enter the
RAF to fly, his parents persuaded him to follow a career
in art. In 1958 he commenced full time art education at
Dover and Folkestone Schools of Art. Having
transferred in 1950 to the Northampton College of Art
and finished his studies there in December 1962, he
initially followed a career in shop-fitting design.
In 1967 he took a position designing and building
prototype toys, yet throughout all these daytime jobs
Barrie was producing a steady flow of pictures, all of
which he sold immediately. In 1967 he became a signalman
on the Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Light Railway, and
between 1968 and 1970 he drove the Winston Churchill
engine. With such a long-standing involvement with
different engines and such a great talent for painting,
it came as no surprise when Mr. Clark began painting
full time, in 1970 selling his first batch of work
within a fortnight. He now paints pictures of every
subject imaginable, but remains most renowned for his
brilliant aircraft images, the most famous of all being
his “Spitfire”. Despite his international career,
Barrie Clark still finds the time to play blues guitar
as well as looking after six cats. (SOURCE: “Barrie
During the Battle of Britain, the Spitfire was perceived by the public as
the RAF fighter, though the more numerous Hawker
Hurricane shouldered a greater proportion of the burden
against the Luftwaffe. The Spitfire units had a
lower attrition rate and a higher victory-to-loss ratio
than those flying Hurricanes.
The Spitfire became the backbone of the RAF Fighter Command, and saw
action in the European, Mediterranean, Pacific, and
South-East Asian theatres. Much loved by its pilots, the
Spitfire served in several roles, including interceptor,
photo-reconnaissance, fighter-bomber, carrier-based
fighter, and trainer. It was built in many variants,
using several wing configurations. Although the
original airframe was designed to be powered by a
Rolls-Royce Merlin engine producing 1,030 HP, it was
adaptable enough to use increasingly powerful Merlin and
later Rolls-Royce Griffon engines producing up to 2,035
We hope you like this piece of art as much as we do! Here are some
specs on the Spitfire. Enjoy!
30 ft (9.14 m)
36 ft 10 in (11.23 m)
10 ft (3.05 m)
242.1 ft2 (22.48 m2)
6,578 lb (2,984 kg)
7,923 lb (3,593 kg)
Max. Takeoff weight:
8,488 lb (3,850 kg)
Rate of climb:
2 × 20 mm cannon, 4 x 7.7 mm Browning machine guns
2 x 250 lb.