British Folk Art Naive Model of an Airship R101, Brass, Trench Art, 1930s For Sale
Want more images?
Request additional images from the seller
1 of 11 images

British Folk Art Naive Model of an Airship R101, Brass, Trench Art, 1930s


Wonderful naive Folk Art model of the British airship R101. Constructed from a First World War shell and two shaped British pennies for the tail fins, it dates from around 1930. The propellers move freely on the suspended engine cars and the whole is mounted on a stained wooden base with small engraved brass plaque for ‘R101’. It’s a charming, tactile and very attractive piece. The R101 was one of two identical airships commissioned by the British government in the 1920s and construction began in 1926 of the steel and linen structure. Once completed it was the largest flying vessel ever created at 735 feet long and took 400 people to drag it out of its shed in Cardington, Bedfordshire. When it emerged from its shed and took its first tentative flights, onlookers were in awe of its sheer size. Onboard, the passenger quarters with their promenades, bedrooms, a large dining room and a smoking room were rather grand, decked out in quintessentially 1920’s decor and as such, it was seen as a lavish floating hotel. Originally intended to fly to India, the programme was beset with problems and several redesigns were carried out. It flew several flights before it’s fateful final flight on Saturday 4th October 1930. The R101 cruised over the English Channel and headed into French airspace. At 2:00am it encountered a storm and a small piece of the airships exterior was damaged but this went undetected initially. In less than 5 minutes, the R101 nosedived to the ground, the initial impact being very gentle but tragically a fire broke out which swept through the airship, killing 48 of the 54 people onboard. The accident effectively ended the British airship programme. Whether this model was made as an enthusiastic representation of the airship by someone who looked on in awe at its majesty or as a tribute to the loss of life after that fateful night, we will never know. Some artefacts have even been made from metal recovered from the wreckage, again, we will never know if this one was. All in all, it’s a charming piece of British military, social, aviation and transport history. Measures: H 11cm W 31cm D 6cm (including base).  


  • Of the Period
  • Place of Origin
    United Kingdom
  • Date of Manufacture
  • Wear
    Wear consistent with age and use.
  • Dimensions
    H 4.34 in. x W 12.21 in. x D 2.37 in.H 11 cm x W 31 cm x D 6 cm
  • Seller Location
    Devon, GB
  • Reference Number
Buyer Protection Guaranteed
Our Promise To You: If you're not happy with the way an item arrived, we'll work with you and the seller to reach an optimal resolution. Read more

Shipping, Returns & Payment

  • Shipping
    Rates vary by destination and complexity
    Shipping methods are determined by item size, type, fragility and specific characteristics.
    Shipping costs are calculated based on carrier rates, delivery distance and packing complexity.
  • Return Policy

    This item can be returned within 14 days of delivery.

    View details
  • Online Payment Methods
    1stdibs accepts the following payment methods
  • Item Invoice
    Generate an invoice that you can customize and print.

About the Seller

New to 1stdibs
Joined in the past six months.
No Reviews Yet
1stdibs seller since 2018
Located in Devon, GB
You may also contact the seller by phoneCall seller through 1stdibs
More From This Seller
Folk Art Pine Toy Cart with Original Paint, Late 19th Century
Folk Art Pine Toy Cart with Original Paint, Lat...
Antique Late 19th Century European Folk Art Toys
Charming wooden Folk Art toy cart. Utterly original with old paint and evidence of historic worm. Great decorative piece or could perhaps be used as a desk tidy, etc. Late 19th century.
J. Winters, Mid-19th Century Naive Signed Oil Painting of a Shorthorn Bull
J. Winters, Mid-19th Century Naive Signed Oil P...
Antique Mid-19th Century English Primitive Paintings
Charming 19th century naive oil on board of a roan colored Shorthorn Bull standing proudly in a landscape of snow capped hills and lush grassy meadows with a column of cumulonimbus c...
Large Naive 19th Century Oil Painting on Canvas of Three Horses in a Landscape
Large Naive 19th Century Oil Painting on Canvas...
Antique Late 19th Century British Paintings
Large 19th century oil on canvas of horses in a landscape. Canvas has been relined and reframed at some point in burr maple veneered surround. An attractive piece which would be good...
Mid-20th Century English 'Fly Fishing' Naive Hand Painted Sign, Original
Mid-20th Century English 'Fly Fishing' Naive Ha...
20th Century English Rustic Signs
Charmingly naive vintage hand painted sign, likely from a private country estate. Painted on thick ply panel with two holes where it would’ve been mounted to a post. In completely or...

Why Shop on 1stdibs?

Learn More

Only Vetted, Professional Sellers

Buyer Protection Guaranteed

Fully Insured Global Deliveries