Amy Johnson

Amy Johnson, by Sir John Longstaff, 1930 - NPG 4201 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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Amy Johnson

by Sir John Longstaff
oil on canvas, 1930
27 1/4 in. x 22 1/2 in. (692 mm x 572 mm)
Given by L.C. Sedon-Thompson, 1961
Primary Collection
NPG 4201

On display in Room 31 at the National Portrait Gallery

Sitterback to top

Artistback to top

This portraitback to top

The daughter of a Hull herring-importer, Amy Johnson trained as a secretary, but developed a consuming passion for flying. With no more experience than a flight from London to Hull, on 5 May 1930 she set out to fly solo to Australia in a tiny Gipsy Moth and landed in Port Darwin nineteen days later. Though not a record time, her flight was an astonishing achievement and aroused universal enthusiasm. Other record long-distance flights followed including a flight to New York in 1933 with her husband J.A. Mollinson. In 1939 Johnson joined the Air Transport Auxiliary and in 1941 was lost, presumed dead, over the Thames estuary. Given by L.C. Sedon-Thompson, 1961.

Linked publicationsback to top

Events of 1930back to top

Current affairs

Amy Johnson is the first woman to fly solo to Australia. She flew the 11,000 miles from Croydon to Darwin in a De Havilland Gipsy Moth named Jason and won the Harmon Trophy as well as a CBE for her achievement. She went on to break a number of other flying records, and died while serving in the Air Transport Auxiliary in 1941.

Art and science

Noel Coward's play, Private Lives is first performed. The original run starred Gertrude Lawrence and Laurence Olivier as well as Coward himself. Private Lives became Coward's most enduringly successful play.


Gandhi leads the Salt March. The march to the coast was a direct protest against the British monopoly on the sale of salt and inspired hordes of Indians to follow him and adopt his methods of Satyagraha (non-violent resistance to the British rule of India).
Stalin orders the 'liquidation of the kulaks (wealthy farmers) as a class' in a violent attempt to centralise control of agriculture and collectivise farming.

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Can you tell us more about this portrait? Spotted an error, information that is missing (a sitter’s life dates, occupation or family relationships, or a date of portrait for example) or do you know anything that we don't know? If you have information to share please complete the form below.

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Desmond Markus

18 July 2018, 12:20

Please be advised that the National Library of Australia's Trove site has changed so that the URLs previously given no longer work.

However, the articles are still online, details below (headlines of the article the information appears in is given in square brackets):

Register News-Pictorial (Adelaide, SA : 1929 - 1931), Saturday 21 June 1930, page 3 [Amy Johnson's Adelaide Plans]

Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), Tuesday 24 June 1930, page 9 [Amy Johnson - Message to Children - "Work with a smile"]

Desmond Markus

27 July 2016, 10:28

Date now appears to be (Sunday, 22/06/1930)

Register News-Pictorial (Adelaide, SA : 1929 - 1931), Saturday 21 June 1930, page 3

I have found the date that Amy Johnson sat for the painting (Monday, 23/06/1930):

Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), Tuesday 24 June 1930, page 9

Desmond Markus

27 July 2016, 10:20

I have found the date that Amy Johnson sat for the painting (Monday, 23/06/1930):

Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), Tuesday 24 June 1930, page 9

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