On a Civil Aviation Christmas card in 1983 Emett described the flying-machine illustrated in T03940 , which he called, ‘The Featherstone-Kite Openwork Basketweave Mark II Gentleman's Flying Machine':
'The machine is constructed of cane windbreaks from little-known French vineyards and the wings are supported upon willowy saplings; all major control surfaces are covered with wild silk, suitably tamed. Power is provided by a Wandering Hot-Air Brazier and a swarm of underslung silver butterflies provide a trivial lift to the nose section. There is a full-time Auto-Pilot FRED (Freehand Remembering Empirical Doodling system) and the co-pilot Rover in a combined pet-pod and windsock. The rudder provides a First Class dickey-seat for Cirro Cumulus II, the pilot's personal pleasure cat. Main wheels retract into semi-buoyant shrimplike nacelles and ‘Eiffle' Altimeter gives those three heights every well-found pilot should know - Canal Level, OUR CHIMNEY and Milky Way.'
This painting was originally part of a larger work entitled The Gutter. It formed the right side of the canvas, which was divided after the Second World War, having been exhibited in the USA and damaged. Roberts explained that he had made the unusually large picture after hearing that artists were being commissioned to produce work for a new ❤️❤️❤️❤️ or P&O ocean liner, and hoping to be considered for the project. The subject is characteristic of Roberts’s depictions of city life, especially working-class protagonists.
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