The Nightingale & The Bomber Limited Edition A3 Print


The Nightingale & The Bomber Limited Edition A3 Print


On 26th April 2019 acclaimed street artist ATM painted a nightingale on the tail fin of a WW2 Wellington bomber in Phillips gallery, Berkeley Square, London.

This piece came about as part of Sunbittern Media’s ‘The Last Song of the Nightingale’ project.

In the spring of 1924, the first ever live-to-radio broadcast from an outdoor location wasn’t breaking news, a political event, or a disaster - it was a duet between cellist Beatrice Harrison and a singing nightingale recorded in her garden in Foyle Riding, near Oxted, Surrey. The broadcast was a sensation - a million people listened in and the programme was picked up as far afield as Italy, France, Spain and Hungary. It was reported that Harrison received over 50,000 fan letters after the broadcast, and so, the nightingale live-broadcast tradition was maintained as an annual event by the BBC until May 19th, 1942 - the eve of the 18th scheduled broadcast when it was cut dramatically as it was going to air.

Just as they had started their broadcast, as well as the singing nightingale, the microphones in Foyle Riding picked up the sounds of 197 Wellington and Lancaster bombers massing over Southern England en route to bomb the German city of Mannheim. A quick-thinking engineer, realising a live broadcast of the bombers could warn Nazi spies of the impending attack, pulled the plug. The broadcast was hastily cancelled, but with lines to the BBC still open, the recording went ahead and both nightingale and the bombers were captured on the acetate disc. The recording is a haunting combination - poignantly juxtaposing peace and war, and nature’s defiance of the affairs of man.

This art piece entwines nature with man and acts a symbol of this historic event. The piece of aircraft could have come from one of the very bombers heard in the recording.

The original piece will tour around the country over the coming months for people to see it in the flesh and hear the recording boom from within the piece and then in 2020 it will be auctioned off.

As it is only one piece we recognise that once auctioned off it may never be seen in public again so have decided to do a limited edition print run of a still taken on the day of its completion.

This A3 print will only be printed 75 times signed by both the photographer Luke Massey, and artist ATM. Proceeds from the sales will go towards the continued production of the conservation documentary.

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