Frank Wootton O.B.E. (1911-1988)

Libya – Help Them Finish the Job

Original Vintage Poster, 1942


Printed for H M Stationery Office by Fosh and Cross Ltd

A British Spitfire fighter aeroplane shoots down a German Heinkel He III bomber as – in the background – three more German planes are pursued by five further British aircraft; one of the German planes is on fire. Born in Milford on Sea in Hampshire, Wootton was raised by his father who was a Merchant Navy seaman following the death of his mother. At fourteen years of age he attended Eastbourne School of Art, being instructed by Eric Ravilious amongst others. Edward Saunders commissioned Wootton to do book illustrations, and he wrote books on art instruction including the best-selling ‘How to Draw Aircraft’. Volunteering in 1939 for the RAF he was instead employed as an official war artist to both the RAF and RCAF. Interestingly Kenneth Clark refused him as an artist for the War Artists Advisory Committee so he was never commissioned – producing his paintings on the aircraftsman wage of four shillings a day. Following the war he undertook commissions for, amongst others, Imperial Airways, BOAC, the RAF and others. In his obituary in the Independent he was described as ‘probably the finest aviation artist of all time’ in recognition of his advancing of the field of aviation art and capturing the Battle of Britain.