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The AstroArt of David A. Hardy
On Earth there is a lunar eclipse. From here, the Sun passes behind Earth, but its light, reddened, passes through our atmosphere turning the Moon red.
The Aerobee was an unguided, sub-orbital US sounding rocket, used in 1950s atmospheric experiments. It had a solid-fuel first stage and a liquid second stage motor. Here it is shown at launch and at the top of its powered flight. It could reach 230km (125 miles).
Spaceflight Montage '54
A drawing, in black India Ink and coloured inks, intended to bring together many of the elements of spaceflight at that time: Earth, Mars, Venus, the Moon, a ferry rocket, astronaut, etc. (Painted while Hardy was in the RAF, in 1954 – see Biography.)
In 1953 a British aeronautical engineer, Dr. W.F.Hilton, designed a vehicle for atmospheric entry as a design study for the British Interplanetary Society. The form he arrived at was, basically – a flying saucer! It does in fact resemble a flattened version of the later Apollo Command Module, so the idea has merit.
Ferry Rocket & Space Station
BIS Moonship leaves Earth
3000 Miles from the Moon
A close-up view of the area of the Moon around the huge crater Clavius. It is in the rugged lunar highlands near the south pole, and is 225km (125 miles) across.
Moon Landing, 1952
BIS Moon Landing, 1939
1939 BIS Moonship cutaway
A diagram showing the components of the 1939 BIS Moonship, and how its 'capsule' would return to Earth – like Apollo!
Moon Landing 2
Lunar Base, 1954
Moon by Earthlight 57
This could be a continuation of the previous image, and it was painted in 1957 for a small exhibition at a Birmingham store. It only came to light again in 2015!
Icarus near the Sun
Icarus is an asteroid which strays so far from the main belts, between Mars and Jupiter, that it approaches the Sun inside the orbit of Mercury, at which time it glows red-hot.
A close-up view of the asteroid Icarus near the Sun. This was painted for a book with Patrick Moore which was never published at the time.
The rugged landscape of the planet Mercury, near the Sun. Such cracks are probably unlikely in fact, as they usually appear in dried-out mud such as riverbeds, and there is little or no water on Mercury!
Mars from Deimos
Canal on Mars '54
The sky is blue, and vegetation shows where a watercourse once ran, bringing water melted from the pole.
A 1954 painting of a manned base on Mars – believed quite possible at the time. The sky is shown as dark blue because of the thin atmosphere, and there is even some form of vegetation on the desert. . .
Jupiter from Io
Jupiter from Europa
Saturn from Dione
Saturn from Rhea '53
A 1953 vertical painting of Saturn from Rhea, which is further out than Dione. The shadow of the planet should fall upon the rings; but as Bonestell made the same error in a painting of Titan David doesn't feel too embarrassed!
Another painting from the collection of Ray Smith, seen for the first time in nearly 60 years. The cliffs on the right cast a shadow on those on the left, and the flat rocks are illuminated by yellow Saturn-light. The rings are intentionally tipped slightly, so that they appear as more than a thin line.
At the time Hardy painted this one (1954) it was believed that in the distant future our Moon would break up and form a ring around a frozen Earth. (Please remember that all he had to do the ring was a toothbrush!)
Boys Book of Astronomy '58
Published by Burke in 1958, this is one of the first Hardy book jackets, many of them for Patrick Moore. It is also the first use of the stylised signature 'Hardy', rather than the full 'David A. Hardy'! It is also one of the very first illustrations for which an airbrush was used; none of the other 50's images include its use, as he first used it in 1957 – a De Vilbiss Aerograph. (NB: Print of art only for sale – not book!)
Retro Rocket: Moon
In 2004, for the World SF Convention held in Boston, USA, Hardy painted several miniatures of 'retro rockets' – ie. designed to look like space art from the 1940s and 50s, with silver, streamlined, winged spaceships. They were produced digitally, but with details hand-painted in acrylics, and proved very popular. (NB: You may still order a customised version of these, but please do so from Commissions.)
Retro Rocket: Landing
A streamlined, winged spaceship makes a landing in a rather too-rugged area of the Moon! But of course this type of scene is much more dramatic than the flat plain of the Mare Tranquillitatis chosen for Apollo 11!
Retro Rocket: Sunrise
The Sun – four times smaller than the Earth, seen here as a crescent – rises on the lunar horizon, casting long black shadows from the mountains and spaceship. The Earth will not move in the sky, but the Sun will pass right across, to set on the opposite horizon while Earth's phases change.
Retro Rocket: Are You Sure?
'Are You Sure You Want to Land Here?' is the full title of this piece! Like all of the Retro Rocket series, the details will always be hand-painted by Hardy on a digital background, so each one is unique.
Retro Moon 2
Another in the 'retro rocket' series. It was also used as the cover for the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction's (F&SF) 60th Anniversary Anthology in 2009.
Retro Moon: Earthlight
A typical 50s-type scene, with the Moon and its jagged mountains illuminated by a full Earth.
BIS Retro Rocket
This large acrylic painting, created in 2008 for the International Astronautical Congress (IAC), hosted in Glasgow by the BIS, shows the BIS moonship in a deliberately 'retro' Bonestellian landscape. (From the private collection of Pim de Roos.)
David Hardy's first published work, a Moonbase, was published in 1952 when he was just 16.
Between 1954 and 1956, while in the RAF, he produced a number of paintings for a new book with Patrick Moore to be called Challenge of the Stars (not published at the time, but in a different form in 1972/78). Many of those early works appear here. They are not for sale, but prints are!
Also included, at the end, are some of his Retro Rocket series, in which he digitally creates a 50s-type scene but adds the details by hand. When ordering these, please add £15 to the price of a basic print (if in doubt, e-mail.)
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