DH4 by Bertram Sandy, watercolour, priced £450 by 108 Fine Art Gallery.

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Sandy & Son - 80th Anniversary of D-Day features works by Bertram Sandy (1887-1974) and his son, Laurence H Sandy (1920-2000) at 108 Fine Art Gallery until June 29.

While they had differing artistic styles, father and son were united by their mutual experience of conflict. During the first half of the 20th century, it was not unusual to have several family members in the armed services, but for a father and son to fight in two world wars and then both seek careers as artists is more than a little unusual.

After studying at Ratcliffe College, Leicester, Bertram moved to Canada where he practised as an architect. In 1915, he joined the Artists Rifles 28 Battalion, London Regiment, later becoming an observer with the Royal Flying Corps.

In that role he went on many reconnaissance missions. He photographed enemy aerodromes and bombing raids over France and Belgium (exposing the plates while in the aircraft) and defended his own aircraft (a DH4) from enemy gunfire with his Lewis gun. In 1917, he was wounded twice while flying over France.


The Arundel Castle, watercolour by Bertram Sandy, £375 from 108 Fine Art Gallery.

Following the war, Bertram sold paintings to The Bristol Aeroplane Co (Bristol Fighters Strafing a Hun Aerodrome) and The Aircraft Manufacturing Co (Machines Bombing Mannheim and De Havilland Delta in Flight). Private collectors bought his work through the gallery Arthur Ackerman and Sons, which held exhibitions of his work in London in 1918 and New York in 1919.

His experiences in 55 Squadron combined with his technical skills can be seen in his watercolours which capture aerial combat. Four of his paintings from this period are in the Imperial War Museum.

Laurence was born in 1920 and his war service (1939-46) was largely at sea in the Royal Navy before studying at St Martin’s School of Art. His artistic relationship with the ocean, on which he fought and later sailed for pleasure, is more dynamically abstracted than his father’s creative connection with the sky. While teaching at a variety of art colleges, Laurence worked as an illustrator for books on maritime life and the yachting set regularly commissioned him to paint their boats.