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Mr. Robert William Bradford

Pilot

Royal Canadian Air Force

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Royal Canadian Air Force

Background Information

Employment History

Illustrator

AVRO

Acting Director

National Museum of Science and Technology

Affiliations

Lifetime Member
Royal Canadian Institute

Member
Order of Canada

Esteemed Member
Aviation Hall of Fame

Web References (54 Total References)


CDC - Robert Bradford

www.avroland.ca [cached]

CDC - Robert Bradford

CDC - Robert Bradford CDC logo
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Robert W. Bradford Acclaimed Aviation Artist
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Robert and James Bradford attended Saturday morning classes at the Toronto Art Gallery where they developed their love of sketching and painting.
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At those classes, Robert was to discover another love his future wife, Ruth.
Robert William Bradford, left, was made a Member of the Order of Canada by Governor General Ray Hnatyshyn in 1989. [Photo, courtesy, Robert Bradford]
When they were 18, the brothers simultaneously joined the Royal Canadian Air Force and became pilots. While Jim served as a flying instructor in western Canada, Robert became a staff pilot with the Royal Air Force, stationed on the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea.
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Seriously injured in 1944 in a flying accident that killed his navigator, Robert was recovering to flight status when World War II ended.
Upon returning to Toronto following the Armistice, Bob rejoined the Easybuilt Model Aeroplane Company where he designed and built rubber-powered balsawood miniature aircraft, dear to the memories of many youngsters worldwide who experimented with them for the next decade. In 1949, he became an illustrator for A.V. Roe Company at Malton, Ontario. At the time, the company was working on the Avro Jetliner, an aircraft that, although it was ahead of its time, was doomed because of a lack of government support.
With cancellation of the Jetliner, Bob Bradford moved to de Havilland Aircraft of Canada Ltd. where, in three years, he became chief illustrator. By 1966, moreover, he had become, in Ottawa, assistant to the founding curator of the National Aeronautical Collection, the late Ken Molson.
When Molson retired in 1967, Bradford was made curator of Canada's priceless aircraft collection which was bleakly housed in shabby wooden hangers. He immediately set about securing permanent, fireproof housing for the irreplaceable fleet. As acting director at the National Museum of Science and Technology in 1982, Bradford initiated a drive for national recognition of this priceless collection. He was backed enthusiastically by the Friends of the National Aviation Museum, a registered charitable fundraising group.
By 1984, Bradford had obtained such strong support that he was able to persuade the government of the day to design and build a state of the art museum at Ottawa's Rockcliffe Airport.
For nearly 23 years (1966-1988), Bob Bradford restored flying machines identified with Canada's proud aviation heritage. Throughout this time, this aviation artist continued to render paintings that captured aviation events of historic significance. His captivating work has a huge following and, today, Bradford's paintings are loved by an expanding international audience.
Robert Bradford's painting of the June Bug is a showcase mural on permanent display at The Glenn H. Curtiss Museum, Hammondsport, New York.
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This view captures for posterity the first officially observed North American flight of over one kilometre in one direction. [Photo, courtesy Robert Bradford/The Glenn H. Curtiss Museum]
Bradford admits that a certain Jekyll-and-Hyde complex pervades his work: his Dr. Jekyll is the historically accurate portrayer of finely detailed aircraft and flying events ('They are so real, you can hear the engine,' is a frequent comment).
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In 1969, on the 50th anniversary of the transatlantic flight of Alcock and Brown, Bradford was asked to create the art for a Canada Post commemorative postage stamp. Later, Canada Post Corporation presented a series of 16 stamps, each featuring Bradford treatments of Canadian-built aircraft. Four stamps were issued for each of the years from 1979 to 1982. Such recognition made Bradford world famous.
Robert William Bradford has been honoured with two major international awards. In 1974, he was the first Canadian presented with the Artists Award of the American Aviation Historical Society and, in 1981, received France's Fédération Aéronautique Internationale Paul Tissandier Award for Artistic and Curatorial Accomplishment in Aviation.
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A lifetime member of the Royal Canadian Institute, Bradford was named patron of the Canadian Aviation Historical Society in 1988. The following year, he was made a member of the Order of Canada and in 1996 was inducted at Wetaskawin, Alberta, as an esteemed member of Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame.
The Bradfords reside today in a 140-year-old stone house near Ottawa where Robert, one of the world's most respected aviation artists, continues his life's work.


Featured Artist Biographies | Convention 2013

www.cahs.ca [cached]

Robert W. Bradford

Robert W. Bradford is one of Canada's most accomplished artists. He and his identical twin brother James were born in Toronto on December 17, 1923 (the 20th anniversary of Wilbur and Orville Wright's first powered flight). They grew up with similar interests in art and aviation. When they were 18 years old, both of the Bradford brothers enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force and became pilots. James was a flying instructor in western Canada, while Bob served as a staff pilot with the Royal Air Force, stationed overseas on the Isle of Man.


Featured Artist Biographies | Convention 2013

cahs.ca [cached]

Robert W. Bradford

Robert W. Bradford is one of Canada's most accomplished artists. He and his identical twin brother James were born in Toronto on December 17, 1923 (the 20th anniversary of Wilbur and Orville Wright's first powered flight). They grew up with similar interests in art and aviation. When they were 18 years old, both of the Bradford brothers enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force and became pilots. James was a flying instructor in western Canada, while Bob served as a staff pilot with the Royal Air Force, stationed overseas on the Isle of Man.


Robert W. ...

www.cahs.ca [cached]

Robert W. Bradford

Robert W. Bradford is one of Canada's most accomplished artists. He and his identical twin brother James were born in Toronto on December 17, 1923 (the 20th anniversary of Wilbur and Orville Wright's first powered flight). They grew up with similar interests in art and aviation. When they were 18 years old, both of the Bradford brothers enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force and became pilots. James was a flying instructor in western Canada, while Bob served as a staff pilot with the Royal Air Force, stationed overseas on the Isle of Man.
From his early days as an R.C.A.F. pilot, to his days with the Easybuilt Model Aeroplane Co., A.V. Roe Canada Ltd. and the de Havilland Aircraft of Canada Limited and then to his distinguished 23 year career with the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, he has been surrounded by flying machines and art. Having spent his entire "working" life with aircraft he knows them with an intimacy few can aspire to and more importantly he has the rare gift of being able to bring it to life on canvas.
While working at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, Mr. Bradford took an aviation collection in three old World War II hangars to new heights as a world recognized Aviation Museum housed in a new facility at the former CFB Rockcliffe in 1988.
Mr. Bradford has received many honours and international awards. In 1974, he was the first Canadian presented with the Artists Award of the American Aviation Historical Society and in 1981, he received France's Fédération Aéronautique Internationale Paul Tissandier Award for Artistic and Curatorial Accomplishment in Aviation.
A lifetime member of the Royal Canadian Institute, he was named patron of the Canadian Aviation Historical Society in 1988. Mr. Bradford was awarded the Order of Canada in 1989 and was inducted into Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame in 1996. Today he continues to paint and lives in Toronto, Ontario with his wife Rosemarie.


Robert W. ...

www.cahs.ca [cached]

Robert W. Bradford

Robert W. Bradford is one of Canada's most accomplished artists. He and his identical twin brother James were born in Toronto on December 17, 1923 (the 20th anniversary of Wilbur and Orville Wright's first powered flight). They grew up with similar interests in art and aviation. When they were 18 years old, both of the Bradford brothers enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force and became pilots. James was a flying instructor in western Canada, while Bob served as a staff pilot with the Royal Air Force, stationed overseas on the Isle of Man.

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