Portraits of Group Captain MA Newnham, founder of the Parachute
Regiment, and his wife.
Two portraits by renowned British war artist William Dring have been reunited and are being sold this weekend in London. The portraits are those of Group Captain MA Newnham, founder of the Parachute Regiment, and his wife. The two portraits had been apart for several years. The portrait of Newnham’s wife was discovered in an antiques shop only months ago and the pair re-united. They will be featured together this weekend at the Olympia International Art & Antiques Fair in London.
Painted just after the war had finished, due largely in part to Newnham’s role in the D-Day landings, Dring depicts the war veteran in RAF uniform, wearing a parachute pack for which he was famous. From 1940 until the end of the war, more than 60,000 men of nearly all armies and nations passed through his hands for training. The men of Normandy and Arnhem, men and women of the resistance groups, intelligence agents and saboteurs drew their confidence and parachuting skill from Newnham and his staff.
The two portraits are extremely rare, as they are private commissions by Newnham. Dring’s other portraits of war veterans were official commissions and are largely housed in the Imperial War Museum.
The fact that these two portraits have remained in private ownership, and have only recently been re-united, makes them even more exceptional.