Birkin (1896-1933) was one of the Bentley Boys, a group of wealthy British motorists who drove Bentley sports cars to victory in the 1920s and helped uphold the marque’s reputation for high performance.
Here he is shown driving a single-seater Supercharged 4.5 litre racing Bentley, the exhaust having set fire to the tail of the car.
It is one of several Bentley subjects that Pears (1929-85) painted, but this is of a particularly high standard. The work is offered for £1595 at Wings and Wheels, an exhibition opening on September 22 at English and Continental Antiques, a gallery in the market town of Eye in Suffolk.
The show focuses on vintage travel, classic cars aviation and steam, offering car mascots and paintings, car hampers, specialist clocks and artworks.
“Suffolk and Norfolk have rich histories of aviation,” says the gallery’s Steven Harmer. “Many airfields are located in the area, as well as a dedicated hive of car collectors with a network of clubs. It was enthusiasts who provided the inspiration for the event.”
A special preview evening takes place on the Friday before the show opens. More information is available from the website below.