James Allington has had a lifelong passion for technical and mechanical design. He began to develop this professionally with an apprenticeship as an engineer in the early 1950s, and during his National Service with the RAF, took great interest in the sectioned drawings of Jet engines. Thanks to a sympathetic Commanding Officer, his time was quickly taken up with drawing rather than working on the engines. Once out of the RAF, he returned to the company, but now worked on the design side.
All the time he saved to buy a Bugatti and by the late 1950s had accomplished this, it was only then that he first applied his drawing skills to motor cars, and naturally chose the Bugatti as the initial subject to section, as he had with jet engines. Today he recalls this first cutaway with some embarrassment, for the small confines of his garage meant that the wheel nearest to him was out of all proportion to the rest of the car! But this was the start of a prolific period of work.
His earliest commissioned cutaways were for Motor Racing magazine, and whilst on his honeymoon he took a detour to visit Enzo Ferrari and show him a drawing of the Sharknose Ferrari that he had just completed.
Throughout this period, motor cars have joined his stable, as a matter of course all have been dismantled mentally in cutaway form, and physically to receive restoration. Perhaps his most important achievement was retrieving the ex-Works Testa Rossa 0770 from America, and carefully rebuilding it. But this is just one of many projects that have been completed over the last 45 years.
His works have been commissioned by enthusiasts, car manufacturers and journalists and have been published throughout the world, in Automobile Quarterly, Car Graphic, Supercar Classics, to name but a few publications.
Christie's offers here examples of more than 100 original artworks, which chart his involvement together with the cars that he has retained until now.
The following lots are a representative collection of original artworks of the cutaway illustrations by James Allington, all or most of which have been previously published in leading Motoring Journals. The media varies but is principally indian- ink, with watercolour and gouache where colour is utilised. The detail is extraordinary even for the more modest works, whilst the more important of his pieces show the full intensity of his dedication and knowledge of his subject.
Monochrome, indian-ink on art-board, unless otherwise stated. They are sold without copyright.