Winner of Sir Arthur Clarke Award for 'Best Written Presentation', 2005

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Early Hardy Art

Both Hardyware and Futures contain small illustrations of some the very earliest Hardy paintings, mostly produced in the 1950s for the abortive original Challenge of the Stars with Patrick Moore. Here are some of those, and a few others from that period.

Right: A montage of
early Hardy imagery.


The Boys' Book of Astronomy

Published in 1958, this is one of the first Hardy book jackets. It is also the first use of the stylised signature 'Hardy', rather than the full 'David A. Hardy'!

‘Ferry Rocket Launch from Woomera’

At this time (1954) Britain still had a space programme, of sorts, and launch facilities in the Australian desert. So it was natural to assume that a 'ferry' or shuttle rocket would be launched into orbit from there. The vehicle was designed by R.A. Smith of the British Interplanetary Society, but Hardy added larger, delta-shaped wings, making it look more like today's Space Shuttle.

‘Orbital Space Station'

Here we see the ferry rocket in Earth-orbit, together with some unmanned 'tanker rockets', (used for refuelling), a wheel-shaped space station as designed by Wernher von Braun, and a dumbbell-shaped deep-space vehicle designed by Arthur C. Clarke to travel out to Mars and beyond. The only photographs of the Earth from space at this tme were a few black-and-white ones from captured German V-2s. . .

'3000 MIles from the Moon'

In the 1950s, artists like Chesley Bonestell protrayed moonships as gleaming, streamlined vehicles with large fins. Much as Hardy loved these, he and Moore preferred the designs of Ralph Smith, who as an engineer as well as an artist. His lander had several features later used by Apollo, such as retractable landing legs. The Moon here is painted very accurately, every crater being in its place.

‘The First Moon-landing’

The vehicle seen above has now landed on the lunar plain, and is being unloaded. The influence of Bonestell on the 18-year-old Hardy is clear, with jagged mountains (because the Moon has no air or weather; artists did not take into account billions of years of erosion by micrometeorites).

'Lunar Base'

In the foreground is a temporary base consisting of inflated domes, with an aerial for communication. But in the distant crater wall a more permanent base is beng excavated. The scene is illuminated by earthlight, but the Sun is rising on the wall.


In 2005 Hardy was reunited with this painting from 1956, when he was shown it by a fellow member of the now-defunct local Birmingham branch of the BIS, Ray Smith – to whom he had sold it for £5! Here again a bright Earth illuminates the scene but sunlight just touches the distant ringwall at right.

'Retro Rocket'

None of the above early paintings are for sale, but Hardy has recently begun to produce a series of prints in the same style, with 'Bonestellian' spaceshps, made digitally but with details hand-painted in acrylics. For more details please contactl the artist (below).


e-mail: AstroArt Tel/Fax: 0121 777 1802 (intl: +44 -0)