Can anyone identify this ‘unknown’ airman Sculpture? 

Not my area of expertise at all, but certainly aviation related. This stunning sculpture is of an airman, thought to be of RFC origin, looking over the side of his aircraft possibly at the enemy or at a compatriot.

His face looks saddened, perhaps reflecting the horrors of war or in quiet contemplation of what has been – I don’t know.

A reader has contacted me asking me if I can help establish the origin of the piece, the story behind him, who modelled it or even confirm who made it. It is believed to have been created by the artist C. L. Hartwell, but my own usual initial searches have proven fruitless in establishing this.

It is a superb piece, and must have a story behind it. If you are able to help identify the ‘unknown airman’, or anything of its origin or history,  then please do contact me, and I will gladly pass on your replies.


Who is the ‘unknown’ airman? Do you know?



12 thoughts on “Can anyone identify this ‘unknown’ airman Sculpture? 

  1. Thank you! Yes, I looked at Michael Garmen’s work and was struck by the similarity of one bust of an airman looking upwards. But I really think this is much earlier, and the style is more ‘fine art’…sorry if that sounds snobby, it wasn’t meant to but I couldn’t find a better phrase!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good quality pictures would help, especially of the bottom if there are identifying marks. It is indeed a nice piece. Bronze? Wood? Clay? The name of Michael Garman comes to mind but I highly doubt it being one of his pieces.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Here is a reply from the owner.

      “The bust is made of plaster which has then been patinated to look like bronze. (Sometimes plaster maquettes are made as studies for bronze pieces….or it could just be a stand alone plaster piece)

      There are some very indistinct markings on the base. An arrow which seems to indicate what direction the head might sit in a plinth (possibly a Ministry of War broad arrow, but not the right shape); something that might be part of a signature; and two clearer numerals, 22.

      It’s possible the indistinct signature might end in a looped ‘l’. There are two impressed figures which look like twos on the bottom right hand side….”

      A looped ‘l’ might fit with your suggestion of Michael Garmen and after looking at his website, they are definitely similar in style! He also creates his works in plaster which are then painted. The picture doesn’t really show the marks well enough. Does this help at all?


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