Though there were tales of almost successful flying efforts from Icarus and Daedalus using unnatural wings to elude imprisonment in the myths, the first real successful flight attempt occurred in the late 18th century by a hot air balloon. Painting was used to document some of these extraordinary initial flights and also in the mid-nineteenth century.
In the 20th century, aircrafts played a crucial role during wars for both combat and supply delivery purposes. Due to this, they were deeply featured in the paintings of war artists in World War I and II as well as on the succeeding battles such as the Cold War.
Aside from the vast collection of paintings about the various activities during the war, there are also historic aircraft themed paintings in the UK public collections.