The History of Vector Fine Art Prints
Having been a collector of aviation art since the late 1970's, and being introduced to Frank Wootton in the early 80's, my interest just grew and grew. I had a call one day from Frank asking whether I would like to meet a Battle of Britain pilot, of course I said yes and on arriving there was Wing Commander Geoffrey Page DSO DFC; from then on I was hooked.After getting to know Frank over the years and meeting some of the aviation legends that I had only read about in books, Frank suggested in 1989, that we publish a print 'Down On The Farm' on which it was also signed by Wing Commander Bob Doe DSO, DFC.
In 1990 Vector Fine Art was set up as a company and the first airshow was North Weald Fighter Meet. Shortly after this event, Vector became stockists of the aviation art of Robert Taylor, and have become firm friends ever since, launching three aviation books at Duxford and his Maritime book at Plymouth Navy Days. Robert's volume IV raised £1500.00 in the memory of the late Dennis David for the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust.
At signing events held at the Duxford airshows, we have raised over £4,000 which goes directly to
The Battle of Britain Fighter Association. At the last Battle of Britain Fighter Association AGM a nomination was made and agreed by all veterans present that Colin would become an honouree member of the Battle of Britain Fighter Association.
Robert Taylor's book launch with Vector at Duxford with no less than 15 Battle of Britain pilots.
In 1991 Vector got involved with fundraising for The Battle of Britain Memorial Trust by donating a multi signed print to the auction which was held at the Savoy hotel in London and astounded everybody by raising the sum of £3400.00 for the trust and this set the standard of how collectable the multi signed prints have become. During 1991, I first met Group Captain Sir Leonard Cheshire of 617 squadron fame, making several visits to him and fundraising for the Cheshire Foundation. One of the visits were highlighted when I took Warrant Officer Frank Appleby DFM of the famous Dambuster's Raid, who gave up his seat to Leonard Cheshire on D-Day dropping window, as Group Captain Leonard Cheshire could not get a serviceable aircraft.After writing to Group Captain Peter Townsend, I was amazed to receive a phone call from him and was very honoured to meet him several times when he stayed in London, with his donations going to Save The Children.In 1992, I met Nicolas Trudgian at the Fairford International Air Tattoo, and was asked why I was not stocking his work. From then on, I did. We have become good friends over the years and have assisted Nick with research for paintings and organised trips into Germany (the Ardennes) and D-Day Beaches. The highlight so far was Nick's book launch at Duxford with Group Captain Dennis David and General Leutenant Gunther Rall.
The business has progressed far since being established. It has become one of the main exhibitors at all major air shows. I have travelled many thousands of miles meeting some of 'The Few' including driving to Poland (4000miles round trip) to meet General Skalski, flying to Canada to meet the heroic aircrew for the Dams Raid and finally all over Germany and Austria meeting Luftwaffe Aces.
Bentley Priory Battle of Britain Signing 13th April 2008
All of us here at Vector Fine Art would like to thank the following Battle of Britain aircrew which attended the signing event:
Flight Lieutenant A N R L Appleford
Air Commodore P M Brothers CBE DSO DFC*
Flight Lieutenant Owen Burns
Flight Lieutenant John Down
Group Captain B L Duckenfield AFC
Air Commodore J L W Ellacombe CB DFC*
Wing Commander R W Foster DFC AE
Wing Commander J C Freeborn DFC
Flight Lieutenant Trevor Gray
Flight Lieutenant A E Gregory DFC AE
Squadron Leader N E Hancock DFC
Flight Lieutenant Richard Jones
Mr J Keatings
Flight Lieutenant K A Lawrence DFC
Squadron Leader Jocelyn Millard AE KSG
Squadron Leader T G Pickering
Squadron Leader S N Rose
Wing Commander R G B Summers OBE OstJ AFM
Squadron Leader Michael Wainwright AFC
Flight Lieutenant W L B Walker
Squadron Leader G H A Wellum DFC
Flying Officer K A Wilkinson
We would like to announce that we raised the staggering amount of £11,172 which will be split between the Battle of Britain Fighter Association and The Bently Priory Battle of Britain Trust. We would also like to say a big thank you to all the customers and friends who helped to raise this staggering amount and also for being very patient in the queue.
On a more light hearted note, I have never seen our customers look so smart!
With talking to the secretary of the Battle of Britain Fighter Association, the sum raised on Sunday has risen to £12,700, so a big thank you to everybody.
The final tally from this outstanding event raised is £14,800.
Memorial to George 'Grumpy' Unwin
On behalf of Vector we would like to thank everybody for their support of the bench unveiling in the memory of Wing Commander George Unwin. As you can see I think it is a fitting tribute to one of the legendary Battle of Britain pilots.
|Ken Wilkinson and Bill Wratten
unveiling the benches
'Grumpy' enjoying a well earned beer with Vector at the 60th Anniversary Battle of Britain Airshow at Duxford.
One of my lasting memories was after arriving back at the hotel and I was about to retire I left George and Ken Wilkinson still in the bar reminiscing, it was an absolute pleasure to have known George.
Vector Fine Art and Veterans presenting a cheque for £2,160 to Duxford IWM for the George Unwin Memorial at the October 2006 airshow.
Colin talking to the late Squadron Leader Ben Bennions and Squadron Leader (Stapme) Stapleton.
The two pilots credited with shooting down Von Werra.
Vector was very proud to present Stapme with a replica set of his medals after he lost the originals many years ago. It was a small token for all the support that Stapme has given us over the years.
Signing with the legendary pilot Sir Harry Broadhurst.
Taken at the Petworth Hotel, Frank Wootton chats with David Shannon.
Vector's marquee at Duxford.
At the signing of Nick Trudgians' print Breaching the Dam with four legendary Dambusters.
Nick with Dennis David and Gunther Rall signing copies of Nicks book Air Combat Legends 1997.
Coastal command veterans Sir John Barrowclough, John Cruickshank VC, Terry Bulloch, Ted Tillman, Gron Edwards at the launch of Nick's Air Combat Legends Vol II.
Chatting with Flight Lieutenant John Cruickshank VC at the launch of Nicolas Trudgian's Air Combat Legends Volume 2 book, which we raised a substantial amount of money for the Coastal Command Memorial in Westminster Abbey.
Colin signing with Sir Dennis Crowley-Milling.
Frank Wootton in his Studio with Wing Commander Bob Doe.
Signing with Group Captain Frank Carey (l) and Group Captain Dennis David (r)
Our first show with Robert Taylor, signing with 'Birdy' Wilson and John Cunningham.
Signing in Canada with Joe McCarthy and David Rodger.
Colin presenting a substantional donation to 156 Pathfinder squadron, which will be forwarded on to the Bomber Command Association.
Everyone at Vector would like to thank all at 156 for their kindness and hospitaltiy, an enjoyable time had by all.
Jack Watson and Harold Hernaman presenting a framed "We Guide to Strike" to The Pathfinder Museum at Wyton on behalf of Vector Fine Art.
617 Squadron veterans at Duxford Flying Legends 2007
Ulrich Steinhilper signing Nick's pencil print 'Achtung Spitfire'.
Pilots of the 352nd fighter group signing Nick's stunning new print The Battle For New Years Day, Alden Rigby who had four victories in this action spoke about the print 'as the best he has ever seen'. Vector and Nick would like to send their personal thanks to the pilots and their families for all their hospitality and kindness in the project.
The Gathering of Legends Airshow at Columbus, Colin seen here with the artists Gil Cohen and Nicolas Trudgian.
What a weekend we had! (boys and their toys).
A not so grey Colin chats with Air Commodore Alan Deere when he visited Vectors stand at West Malling Airshow.
Author John Nicholls with Bomber Command Veterans at Vectors' launch of his new book Tail-end Charlies, held at the American Air Museum at Duxford.
In 1990 we took Warrant Officer Frank Appleby to Hendon for a days visit and surprised him by a tour inside 'S' for Sugar, he sat at the Flight Engineers seat and went through his engine checks as if it was the 16th May 1943, sitting next to his pilot Les Munro preparing for the Dams raid.
In the early days of Vector Fine Art Prints, being visited by Flight Lieutenant Bill Reid VC.
Colin with the legendary Battle of Britain Pilot and Great Escaper Mick Shand.
Colin and Annabelle cutting the tape at the grand opening of Vector's new Studio - December 2015.
In recent years Vector has become very prominent in presenting fantastic book launches at Duxford and managing to encourage some very rare aircrew to come and join them for the weekend. There are many more events on the way, so just keep checking the website.
With best regards Colin and Rose
Exhibiting at Duxford for 25 Years
1990 This is where it all started, we set up trading at Duxford and Flight Lieutenant Anderson popped in to wish us good luck, he was a Battle of Britain pilot flying Blenheims
At the start of 1991 we began to expand the business needing more and more room to exhibit our ever growing range of prints.
This was taken from the back of our van with the enormous crowds that would gather
This was our first major launch in 1994 which was Air Combat paintings volume 2 by Robert Taylor, with us was Sir Ivor Broom and
A V M 'Birdy' Wilson, we blocked the isle twice with queues.
On the Saturday evening we had to drive and pick up more stock of the books
Colin is seen here getting a signature from Flight Lieutenant Bill Reid VC
In 1995 Robert Taylor joined us for the Flying legends air show seen here with Group Captain John Cunningham
1996 - can't believe that Pete and Phil all these years later are still our closest friends.
The end of a hard day – steak and beer!
What a line up of Battle of Britain pilots, Dennis David, Peter Parrott, 'Birdy' Wilson, Raymond Puda
1996 The launch of Robert Taylor's Air Combat Paintings book Volume III with Roland Beamont and Johnnie Johnson
1997 at Duxford with our dear friend Nicolas Trudgian and Dennis David
Our two daughters sitting in the cockpit of the Messerschmitt 109, perks of the job!
Over the years Vector have hosted some of the worlds most famous Battle of Britain pilots and become friends with so many. With their help we have managed to raise enormous sums of money for they charities.
We hosted our dear friend Nicolas Trudgian's first book launch with Dennis David and Gunther Rall
We have also been honoured to have Gil and Alice attend Duxford producing many great works of art, we have truly become good friends over the years.
Colin with his biggest supporter and best friend 'the old chap'
Sadly at the end of last year he passed away, but still looking down telling me where to hang the pictures.
Reminiscing a small piece of Vector's history.
Duxford 2015 - Another successful signing event!
The next generation! Not many two year olds can say they met Battle of Britain veterans.