Artists in Space: The Early Years

Art in Space

Speaker: David A. Hardy
Date: 3rd April 2019
Start Time: 19:00
End Time: 20:30
Venue: BIS, 27/29 South Lambeth Road, Vauxhall, London, SW8 1SZ

This event is sold out! Many apologies – please call the office on 0207 735 3160 to speak to be added to a wait list. We will have seats in the foyer.

On 3rd April 2019, the ‘longest established astronomical artist’, David A. Hardy FBIS, will give a highly-illustrated talk entitled ‘Artists in Space: The Early Years’. Using art from Lucian Rudaux, Chesley Bonestell and our own R.A.Smith, plus other ‘lesser-known’ artists (and of course his own!) he traces this genre from its inception in 1874.

In the earliest days the obvious goal was the Moon, but following World War II and thanks to scientists like Wernher von Braun, we began to think about reaching and working in Earth-orbit.  David takes us there, to the Moon and then to all the planets and bodies in our Solar System.

About the Speaker:

David A. Hardy, a Fellow and one of the longest-serving living members of the Society, first became aware of the British Interplanetary Society in 1950 at the age of 14, when given a book with a contribution by Prof A. M. Low, “former President of the Society”, based on the BIS’ 1939 Moonship design study. In 1951 he ‘found’ Arthur C. Clarke’s ‘Interplanetary Flight’ and ‘The Exploration of Space’ with illustrations by R. A. Smith. He then read ‘The Conquest of Space’ by Willy Ley with renderings of the Moon and planets by Chesley Bonestel, but in 1952 he left school and became a lab technician at the College of Technology (later, part of the University of Birmingham at Aston). There he joined a Midlands Branch of the BIS, which met monthly at the College and before long was producing posters for BIS meetings, and later large paintings for exhibitions around the Midlands. He soon met his idol, Arthur C. Clarke, along with R. A. Smith, H. E. Ross, and other BIS notaries. 

 In 1954, he was introduced to Patrick Moore, then an active BIS Council member, and was promptly asked to illustrate a new book, ‘Suns, Myths and Men’, but, due to enter the RAF for National Service in just five days’ time, he had to produce the eight black-and-white illustrations quickly and post them on his way to Cardington. After service in the RAF, he went on to study on a part-time basis at the College of Art in Birmingham, and joined the Design Office at Cadbury’s where he created packaging and advertising art for the company’s confectionery. He continued working with Patrick on a new book, to be called “The Challenge of the Stars” which proposed that the UK would first build space stations in Earth-orbit before going to the Moon to build bases there and then on to Mars. Sadly, it was considered too speculative to publish at the time. It was not until 1972, after the publication of Patrick’s highly successful Moon Atlas, detailing the Apollo missions,  that a book with the same title was published. 

‘Demobbed’ in 1956, David was just in time to see the publication of the first ‘Spaceflight’ magazine, edited by Patrick Moore, and was later commissioned to provide cover pictures. The following year, 1957, Patrick’s ‘Sky at Night’ appeared on TV, just in time to cover the launch of the Soviet Sputnik.

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