Bentley art car is king of brit

Posted on 19th November 2013

There's nothing unusual in a car re-spray, but when one of Britain's most celebrated and inspired contemporary artists gets involved, the outcome is anything but predictable, as those attending the sale of 'The Empire'Bentley at Historics classic car auction on November 30th will testify.

Paul Karslake FRSA, best-known for his striking portraiture of the likes of Audrey Hepburn, Keith Richards and the Kray twins - and a staunch British patriot - wanted to celebrate great stanzas of British military success in a painting to coincide with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

The problem was finding a canvas that was the most appropriate for his creation.
Demonstrating the creative flair for which he is famous, Paul decided the 'canvas' should take a whole new dimension - in the shape of another British icon … a 1990 Bentley Mulsanne 'S'.

Moving in every sense of the word, the result is as much a tribute to his astonishing airbrush skills as it is to the patriotic British themes portrayed on the car, which will be auctioned at Historics at Brooklands' major auction in Surrey on Saturday, November 30th.

Cameos that Paul has painstakingly painted on the car in the most minute of detail include, on the bonnet, a depiction of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, whilst the boot portrays Sir Winston Churchill, the battle of Britain and the Falklands War.
The offside rear pillar carries a portrait of The Duke of Wellington with scenes of the Battle of Waterloo along the off-side rear wings, whilst the nearside rear pillar includes a portrait of Admiral Nelson together with scenes of the Battle of Trafalgar.
The entire roof is adorned with the dramatic and rich rendering of the Union flag with a WWII Lancaster bomber flying over it.

Closer scrutiny reveals many more extraordinarily detailed cameos, all of which depict a different chapter in British military history, with both front wings reflecting scenes from the First World War, with the poignant addition of poppies adorning the wheel arches.In contrast to the rich opulence of the cameos, his signature appears discreetly on the front door mirrors.

Speaking of his unique creation, Paul Karslake said emphatically: "I am sick and tired of wishy-washy art.  I wanted to do something that was detailed, concise and patriotic and I think this ticks all the boxes.  Never Surrender!  Haha!"

Inevitably, the overall quality of the coachwork, in its originalfactory livery, is exemplary, contrasting superbly with the cream leather interior and elegant wood trim.

Since Paul completed the project in 2012, the Bentley has been driven as daily transport, has covered a total of 108,000 miles and is reported to run very well. Hardly surprising, considering Bentley's exacting engineers tested the 6 ¾ V8 engine to withstand 400 hours of continuous running at full power, believed to be the approximate equivalent of 54,000 miles at full speed. A recent MoT test has been carried out and the road fund license is valid until the end of April 2014.

At an estimate of £10,000-£15,000, very significant interest is anticipated in the acquisition of this unique motor car and enduring emblem of the Britishness, when it comes to auction at Historics on Saturday, 30th November.

'The Empire' Bentley will be auctioned alongside 127 other fine classic motor cars and a fascinating array of automobilia at Historics at Brooklands' winter auction venue, Mercedes-Benz World, near Weybridge, Surrey on Saturday, 30th November, from 10.00am, with viewing - which is highly recommended to truly appreciate Paul Karslake's full artistry - on the previous day.

For more information and the latest consignment list, visit, or call 01753 639170 and e-mail:

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