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Wednesday, 06 August 2014 10:51

An Early Painting of Author Roald Dahl is on View at the National Portrait Gallery

Sir Matthew Arnold Bracy Smith's 'Roald Dahl,' circa 1944. Sir Matthew Arnold Bracy Smith's 'Roald Dahl,' circa 1944. © the Estate of Sir Matthew Bracy Smith via the National Portrait Gallery, London

He may be seated in his familiar armchair, but the portrait revealed today by the National Portrait Gallery reveals a less familiar side of one of our best loved writers.

Matthew Smith captured the young Roald Dahl in 1944 when he was in his late twenties and a flight lieutenant (war-substantive) in the RAF.

At the time of the portrait Dahl had experienced a short but lively time as a Hurricane pilot in the Mediterranean and North African theatres of war. His exploits had led to him being recognised as a fighter ace but he was invalided out of the RAF in late 1941 when the serious injuries he had sustained in an earlier crash landing in the Libyan desert caught up with him.

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