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Where noted the images used in this article are from the motoring art database as compiled by Tony Clark and Motoring Art Info. Please feel free to contact Mr Clark if you wish additional information at

Crosby's most cherished paintings went beyond the mere recording of events. Within their borders the careful viewer could experience what it actually meant to fight for control of these monstrous machines in the early days of the automobile, their long, high bonnets masking the threat of power lying just beneath a thin skin of metal. This was his favorite period, one that had lasted too few years in his opinion. The period marked a time when a car was something special, its drivers to be envied and the best of them judged heroic. He would long for these days later in his life. In a 1938 issue of The Autocar he is quoted as saying that cars were becoming “…eggs on wheels, with only the driver’s head showing”.

It was said that he often did not actually witness the subjects in his paintings relying instead on the descriptions of others and his own mind’s eye. Having no formal training save for “life” classes taken after the start of his professional career, Peter Garnier in his book on the Art of Gordon Crosby stated that Crosby had crossed the line separating an illustrator from the artist.

There is no record of his actual birth date in 1885. Of his death in 1943 there is more known as he died from his own hand unable too overcome the depression caused by his failing health and the loss of his son in combat, shot down flying a P-51 over the English Channel in 1942. F. Gordon CrosbyBetween these two dates Crosby began his career as a draughtsman for Daimler. Here he came into contact with Sammy Davis, Ludlow Clayden and a host of others who would later work with him at one time or another at The Autocar. This legendary journal was a pioneer in automotive art and the use of perspective drawings of their mechanical workings. This lifetime partnership resulted in between 300-400 individual works including some of the most valuable automotive art in existence.

When making his annual visit to the Paris Salon with W.F. Bradley, he would quietly settle down on his shooting stick, making simplified, easily understood mechanical sketches, indifferent to his surroundings as though he were seated at his desk at home. Stand attendants would look with suspicion upon this unruffled Englishman who calmly put on paper the details of their new models about to be shown to the public. The less important the attendants, the more officious they were - and, after verbal protests, to which Crosby remained completely and utterly indifferent, they would hurry off and seek a policeman. But, since there was nothing illegal in making sketches in the Grand Palais, however unusual the practice at the time the Law usually shrugged its shoulders and looked on in wonder and admiration.

Peter Garnier in the Art of Gordon Crosby