Combat Gallery Sunday : The Martial Art of Vernon Howe Bailey

Much as once a week I like to take time off to cover warships (Wednesdays), on Sundays (when I feel like working), I like to cover military art and the painters, illustrators, sculptors, and the like that produced them.

Combat Gallery Sunday : The Martial Art of Vernon Howe Bailey

Born in Camden, New Jersey in the peaceful time that was 1874 in the United States, young Vernon Howe Bailey was a skilled artist already in his youth, earning a place at the Pennsylvania Museum School of Art in Philadelphia at the tender young age of 15. This led to further study in London and Paris and by 1892, at age 18, he was a regular illustrator on the staff of the Philadelphia Times back in the day when virtually every image was drawn rather than photographed.

Fitchburg elevator fire of 1898

Fitchburg elevator fire of 1898

While at the Times, he submitted works to weekly and monthly periodicals such as Scribner’s, Harper’s, Leslies Weekly and Colliers— all big names at the time. In 1902, he left Philly and took a job at the Boston Herald.

Before the Great War, he toured Europe extensively and created enduring architectural studies that preserved the lamplight era just before the lamps themselves were blown out.

Brasenose College, Oxford by Vernon Howe

Brasenose College, Oxford by Vernon Howe

Red Lion Passage

Red Lion Passage

Corpus Christi College, Oxford

Corpus Christi College, Oxford

Antwerp

Antwerp

When WWI came, he did war work for the Navy and some of these images grew acclaim for their attention to detail. in fact, he was the first artist authorized by the U. S. Government to make drawings of America’s war effort in the Great War.

h86448

NH 86449 USS Kaiser Wilhelm II

NH 86449 USS Kaiser Wilhelm II

NH 86451 USS NEW YORK (BB-34) and USS ARIZONA (BB-39) fitting out note torpedo boat loading fish

NH 86451 USS NEW YORK (BB-34) and USS ARIZONA (BB-39) fitting out note torpedo boat loading fish

NH 86454 USS NEW MEXICO (BB-40) Building

NH 86454 USS NEW MEXICO (BB-40) Building

USS Barracuda in dry dock

USS Barracuda in dry dock

Postwar, it was more architecture and travel, though the number of pieces he did per month began to dwindle as his rates had gone up in accordance with his renown. He was even commissioned to produce watercolors for the Vatican.

When the Second World War came, it was back to work with the Navy. Throughout the war he toured extensively stateside and created some of the best military art of the era from any pen or brush.

An entire set of 22 watercolors sprang from a three-week long stay in March 1942 at NAS Jacksonville where he recorded the seaplane operations there with a more painterly approach than he did in 1918.

Landing planes at NAS Jacksonville.

Landing planes at NAS Jacksonville.

PBY Patrol planes at the beach.

PBY Patrol planes at the beach.

Patrol plane on the air station apron.

Patrol plane on the air station apron.

Crane hoisting a sea plane from the St. Johns River.

Crane hoisting a sea plane from the St. Johns River.

Apron with patrol squadron planes.

Apron with patrol squadron planes.

Hauling a sea plane up the ramp.

Hauling a Kingfisher sea plane up the ramp.

Patrol Plane 33.

Patrol Plane 33.

Seagoing Rescue Tugs,” by Vernon Howe Bailey, Watercolor, 1942, 88-165-LN. This painting went south http://www.navalhistory.org/2010/04/12/misappropriated-navy-art but, as noted by the NHC, was recovered: "This painting recently returned to us from a DC area auction house. The consignor had found it at a Goodwill store, I’m told. Its last location before it went missing was with the Bureau of Ships before 1969. One of our local NCIS agents very kindly visited the auction house two hours before the start of our first big snowstorm in February to let them know the Navy had a claim on the painting."

Seagoing Rescue Tugs,” by Vernon Howe Bailey, Watercolor, 1942, 88-165-LN. This painting went south but, as noted by the NHC, was recovered: “This painting recently returned to us from a DC area auction house. The consignor had found it at a Goodwill store, I’m told. Its last location before it went missing was with the Bureau of Ships before 1969. One of our local NCIS agents very kindly visited the auction house two hours before the start of our first big snowstorm in February to let them know the Navy had a claim on the painting.”

Combat Art entitled View of a PB2Y in a Camouflaged Revetment by Vernon Howe Bailer (No. 397). Courtesy of the Navy Art Collection. National Archives photograph, KN 24436.

Combat Art entitled View of a PB2Y in a Camouflaged Revetment by Vernon Howe Bailer (No. 397). Courtesy of the Navy Art Collection. National Archives photograph, KN 24436.

Combat Art entitled, PB2Y-2 Taking off from the Water by Vernon Howe Bailer (No.396). Courtesy of the Navy Art Collection. National Archives photograph, KN-24437.

Combat Art entitled, PB2Y-2 Taking off from the Water by Vernon Howe Bailer (No.396). Courtesy of the Navy Art Collection. National Archives photograph, KN-24437.

Postwar, he returned to New York and continued where he left off, never fully retiring.

In addition to numerous medals, ribbons and awards, Bailey was a full and celebrated member of the Society of Illustrators and of the Architectural League of New York.

He passed in 1953 in New York City, at the ripe old age of 79.

Besides works maintained by the NAS Jacksonville and the Naval Historical Command, he is also exhibited in the Smithsonian’s extensive collection who maintain some 600 of his illustrations and papers, North Carolina State University the French War Museum in Paris and the Corcoran Gallery in Washington. A number of his architectural drawings from the Victorian era can be found online at The Victorian Web.

Thank you for your work, sir.

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About laststandonzombieisland

Let me introduce myself. I am a bit of a conflict junkie. I am fascinated by war and warfare, assassination, personal protection and weaponry ranging from spud guns and flame throwers to thermonuclear bombs and Soviet-trained Ebola monkeys. In short, if it’s violent or a tool to create violence it is kind of my thing. I have written a few thousand articles on the dry encyclopedia side for such websites as Guns.com, University of Guns, Outdoor Hub, Tac-44, History Times, Big Game Hunter, Glock Forum, Firearms Talk.com, and Combat Forums; as well as for print publications like England Expects, and Strike First Strike Fast. Several magazines such as Sea Classics, Military Historian and Collector, Mississippi Sportsman and Warship International have carried my pieces. Additionally I am on staff as a naval consultant and writer for Eye Spy Intelligence Magazine. Currently I am working on several book projects including an alternative history novel about the US-German War of 1916, and a biography of Southern gadfly and soldier of fortune Bennett Doty. My first novel, about the coming zombie apocalypse was released in 2012 by Necro Publications and can be found at Amazon.com as was the prequel, Chimera-44. I am currently working on book two of that series: "Pirates of the Zombie Coast." In my day job I am a contractor for the U.S. federal government in what could best be described as the ‘Force Protection’ field. In this I am an NRA-certified firearms, and less-than-lethal combat instructor.

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