London Colney artist’s labour of love

A NEW painting marking the epic flight of aviator Amy Johnson in 1930 has been unveiled by London Colney artist David Ansell.

David, of Collyer Road, has been fascinated by the story of Amy Johnson, who was the first woman to fly solo from Britain to Australia, since he saw her Gipsy Moth aircraft “Jason” in the aeronautical display section of the Science Museum in London when he was young.

His father got to know Amy well when he was employed by the de Havilland Aircraft Company in North London – she was an apprentice mechanic with the London Aeroplane Club at the time he was working on the production of the Moth’s wings.

David never forgot the experience of seeing Amy’s plane and has spent hours researching “Jason” and its flight path back in 1930.

He discovered among other things that Amy had less than 100 flying hours behind her when she set off for Australia and the furthest she had flown was from the London Aeroplane Club to her home town of Hull.

David decided to paint his acrylic picture showing Amy’s plane flying above the Zagros Mountains near what was then the Persian Gulf to mark the 80th anniversary of her courageous achievement. He used his own model of the plane as the basis of his work.

Nearly two years ago David became a member of the de Havilland Centre at Salisbury Hall in London Colney and he is hoping that eventually the painting will go on permanent show there.