A Bolt for the Blue

Gerald Coulson





The Lightning was like no other aircraft! Britain’s one and only supersonic fighter, this Mach Two interceptor was raw power personified. Its two Rolls Royce Avon jet engines mounted one on top of the other, gave this stunning aircraft a 50,000 feet-per-minute initial climb rate, out-performing the French Mirage, the American Phantom and F16 Falcon, the Russian MiG-21, and even it's successor the BAC Tornado - all introduced well after the Lightning's introduction into front line service in 1954. Anyone who witnessed a Lightning takeoff sequence will never forget the awesome sight and deafening sound of this veritable rocket-ship leaping off the end of the runway into a near vertical climb.

First flown by English Electric's chief test pilot "Bee" Beamont in August 1954, the revolutionary swept-wing P.1. Lightning immediately demonstrated its speed by going supersonic on only its third flight - managing to knife through the sound barrier without the use of reheat. Entering service first with 74 Squadron, and later 56 and Treble One Squadrons, the new supersonic fighter's task was to intercept the marauding long-range bombers of the Soviet Air Force during the height of the Cold War. Though the Lightning never fired it's weapons in anger, its superb interception capability became a major deterrent against the communist insurgents.The Lightning quickly became a star of the Air Show circuit, the pilots of 74, and later 56 Squadrons performing a nine ship aerobatic team called the Tigers, impressing the crowd’s all over Europe. Singleton display pilots flew with the constant concern of "accidentally" slipping through the sound barrier, such was the massive power and sheer brute force of this aggressive looking fighter.

Gerald Coulson's dramatic painting Bolt for the Blue, published to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first flight of the Lightning, captures the very essence of this formidable fighter. Seen climbing out of RAF Wattisham, a Lightning F.3 of Treble One Squadron scrambles to intercept an unidentified intruder plotted on the RAF's early warning radar. Almost certainly it will be Russian, probably he will be escorted out of harms way, but the interceptor is armed with a pair of air-to-air missiles just in case. A superb collector print for all who remember one of the greatest British fighters ever built.




350 signed and numbered with FIVE signatures


125 prints with TEN signatures
25 Artist Proofs
25 Remarques


50 Proofs with TWELVE signatures
(issued with matted companion pencil drawing ‘Lightning Lift-off’)

Lightning Lift Off Pencil Drawing


Flight Lieutenant IAN BLACK
Air Vice Marshal PETER COLLINS
Flight Lieutenant HEDLEY MOLLAND


This TEN signature edition is additionally signed by:

Wing Commander JIMMY DELL OBE
Group Captain IAN THOMSON
Flight Lieutenant PAUL FIELD
Flight Lieutenant ALAN PAGE
Flight Lieutenant IAIN SMALL


CBE DSO* DFC* DL (matted)

Group Captain JOHN SQUIER (Companion print)

Matching numbered certificate of authenticity included.

Overall Print Size 32"x 25" (inches) Printed in lightfast inks on acid free archival paper.


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Signed and Numbered Print
UK £165.00 Edition Size - 350


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Helpful information regarding our Limited Edition Prints

Limited edition print:

An edition of identical prints, numbered sequentially and individually signed by the artist, having a stated limit to the quantity in the edition. Following publication the printing plates are destroyed. Almost all the aviation art and aircraft prints featured on this website are authenticated with the original signatures of distinguished military personnel.

Artists Proof:

An old tradition of reserving a quantity of prints for the artist's use, usually equal to about 10 % of the edition. In the early days of printing, these prints were the only remuneration the poor artist received. Proofs are signed by the artist and numbered showing the quantity of Artist's Proofs issued in the edition. Because of their highly restricted number, Artist's Proofs are sold at a higher value than the regular prints in the edition.

Publishers Proof:

A quantity of prints, not always announced or issued at the time of publication, usually equal to no more than 10% of the edition. These are reserved for the publisher's use, mostly for donation to Museums, Service establishments, Service Associations, and the like. Quantities of Publishers Proofs, sometimes issued with a supplementary print, may be made available to collectors either at the time of publication, or at a later date, depending upon availability.

Remarqued print:

A print issued with an original pencil drawing by the artist in the margin, each numbered out of the quantity of individually remarqued prints in the edition. The quantity of remarqued prints in any one edition generally is between 25 and 50. Each remarque drawing made by the artist is slightly different, thus making each print totally unique. Remarqued prints may be available at the time of publication, or announced at a later date, depending upon the artist's work load at the time .Please be aware that Remarque prints can take up to six weeks for delivery. An artist remarqued print is the ultimate collector item in terms of reproduced work.

Companion print:

An additional print, usually issued with smaller dimensions, published to compliment a limited edition, and usually issued at the same time.

Matted (or mounted) print:

A print fitted into an acid-free or conservation matt (or mount), ready for framing.

Original drawing:

An original work individually drawn by the artist, completed in pencil, ink, or other medium, and personally signed by the artist. Being an original work each drawing is unique and different.

Certificate of Authenticity:

A certificate issued by the publisher stating the total quantity of prints issued in the edition, confirming authenticity of the signatures, and in the case of a limited edition, inscribed with the matching unique number inscribed on the individual print. Collectors are advised to keep certificates safely as a future means of provenance. All our aviation art and aircraft prints are issued with a certificate of authenticity.



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