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Charles H. Hubbell
1899-1971

Excerpts from Aviation’s Pictorial Historian by G. Reiss, Charles H. Hubbell 1899-1971 by B. Wilson

Charles Hubbell was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1899. As a boy of 10 he became interested in aviation when a friend gave him an aeronautical magazine and he became an avid model airplane builder. Before he completed high school, he had designed and built many models as well as a man-sized glider. He graduated from the Cleveland School of Art in 1923. He traded his early paintings for flight time, soloing in 1925. He received CAA pilots License number 9792.

Charles worked as a commercial artist for several years painting airplanes mostly as a hobby as there was little demand for aviation art at that time. Cliff Henderson, the director of the National Air Races had seen Hubbell’s airplane paintings and had used them on his air race posters and programs. Cliff arranged a meeting with Fred Crawford, Chairman of Thompson Products, who sponsored the Thompson Trophy Races. This was the famous unlimited closed course race that started in 1929.

Henderson suggested that Charles paint the winners each year for a calendar. Fred Crawford agreed with great enthusiasm and sealed the deal with a handshake. That started a 30-year project for Hubbell…painting airplanes for Thompson.

The first calendar was produced in 1939 and consisted of the first nine Thompson Trophy winners and four airliners. On each monthly picture, Hubbell faithfully gave the details of the subject aircraft—its make and type, specifications and performance data, engine and types. Each year thereafter the calendars featured a theme along with a section of Hubbell’s paintings. This panorama of aviation history continued through 1969 when Charles retired, followed by an additional four years with a series called the “Best of Hubbell”. The calendars would become the most authentic and complete history of aviation ever to be assembled so beautifully.

Charles Hubbell was the world’s best-known artist-historian of the early air age. He was a stickler for detail and he went to great lengths to assure accuracy, not only for the aircraft, but the backgrounds as well. He would traveled more than 65,000 miles in a single year to obtain technical information to stamp his paintings with authenticity, and to capture the clouds and terrain that set the mood of the many colorful scenes depicted in his work.

During his association with TRW, Hubbell had created 32 calendars and more than 375 individual oil paintings. His watercolors and drawings number over 600. Hubbell’s paintings have hung in the white house, in museums, palaces, libraries, and homes of countless thousands of aviation buffs throughout the world.


 

 

Forty-four original Charles Hubbell pencil sketches of the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc. place Thompson Trophy racers from 1929 to 1939.

Click on any of the images below for a better view

 

A. Chester's The Goon, withdrawn with engine trouble, 1939

A pencil drawing by Charles Hubbell.

Art Chester's Jeep, 6th, 1934

A pencil drawing by Charles Hubbell.

Ben Howard's Pete, 3rd, 1930

A pencil drawing by Charles Hubbell.

Bill Ong's Ike, 7th, 1932

A pencil drawing by Charles Hubbell.

Bob Hall's Gee Bee, 4th, 1931

A pencil drawing by Charles Hubbell.

Bob Hall's Springfield Bulldog Racer, 6th, 1932

A pencil drawing by Charles Hubbell.

Crosbey Special, 4th, 1939

A pencil drawing by Charles Hubbell.

Curtiss, Crashed, 1930

A pencil drawing by Charles Hubbell.

E. Orthman's Kieth Ryder, 2nd, 1936

A pencil drawing by Charles Hubbell.

Geo. Hague Keith-Ryder, 4th, 1933

A pencil drawing by Charles Hubbell.

G Gotch's Schoenfeldt, 7th, 1937

A pencil drawing by Charles Hubbell.

Granville's Gee Bee, 5th, 1933

A pencil drawing by Charles Hubbell.

H. Crosby's Racer, 6th, 1936

A pencil drawing by Charles Hubbell.

H. Neumann's Folkerts Racer, 4th, 1936

A pencil drawing by Charles Hubbell.

J. Jacobsen's Kieth Ryder-Menasco, 6th, 1938

A pencil drawing by Charles Hubbell.

J. Mackey Wedell Wms., 6th, 1939

A pencil drawing by Charles Hubbell.

Jimmy Wedell, 2nd, 1931

A pencil drawing by Charles Hubbell.

Jimmy Wedell, 2nd, 1932

A pencil drawing by Charles Hubbell.

Keith-Ryder, 3rd, 1935

A pencil drawing by Charles Hubbell.

Laird Solution, 3rd, 1931

A pencil drawing by Charles Hubbell.

Laird-Wright J-6-7, 7th, 1931

A pencil drawing by Charles Hubbell.

Lee Cehlbach-Wedell, 2nd, 1933

A pencil drawing by Charles Hubbell.

Lee Miles M & A Special, 1934

A pencil drawing by Charles Hubbell.

Leigh Wade's Military Spl., 4th, 1938

A pencil drawing by Charles Hubbell.

R. Turner's Turner-Laird, 3rd, 1937

A pencil drawing by Charles Hubbell.

Roscoe Turner's WW, 3rd, 1932

A pencil drawing by Charles Hubbell.

Roy Minor's Brown-Spl., 2nd, 1934

A pencil drawing by Charles Hubbell.

Seversky Amphibian, 5th, 1935

A pencil drawing by Charles Hubbell.

Simplex Monoplane, 1929

A pencil drawing by Charles Hubbell.

Sinclair-Seversky, 4th, 1937

A pencil drawing by Charles Hubbell.

T. LeVier's Schoenfeldt Spl., 2nd, 1939

A pencil drawing by Charles Hubbell.

Travel Air Mystery Ship, 2nd, 1930

A pencil drawing by Charles Hubbell.

Travel Air Speedwing, 4th, 1930

A pencil drawing by Charles Hubbell.

Turner's Lockheed Vega, 3rd, 1929

A pencil drawing by Charles Hubbell.

Wasp Motored Curtiss Hawk, 2nd, 1929

A pencil drawing by Charles Hubbell.

Wittman Spl., 2nd, 1935

A pencil drawing by Charles Hubbell.

Wittman's Whittman Spl., 3rd, 1938

A pencil drawing by Charles Hubbell.

Worthen's Wedell-Wms., 3rd, 1934

A pencil drawing by Charles Hubbell.

 

 

 

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