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Transportation, Aviation, Art, Zooming Laird Solution, John MacGilchrist, Antique Print, 1930


John MacGilchrist (1893-1977)
Zooming (Laird Solution)
American: 1930
Signed and dated in pencil lower left margin
Titled lower right margin
Copyright notice in matrix lower right
10 x 9 inches, plate mark
15 x 12.5 inches, overall

Dramatic air race scene of an airplane known as the Laird Speedwing Solution, as it soars above the rooftops of Chicago in 1930. The artist used thin lines streaking off the plane to add a sense of motion. Piloted by Charles W. “Speed” Holman, the plane won first place in the Thompson Trophy Race in Chicago in 1930, a 100-mile race, winning at a record-setting pace of 201.9 mph. It had a Pratt & Whitney Wasp Junior Engine. The details about the race are typed on a label accompanying the print.

Product Description Continues Below


The Laird LC-DW 300 “Solution” was a one-seater biplane, designed and built by E.M. “Matty” Laird to compete in the first Thompson Trophy race at the Chicago National Air Races in 1930. Laird named it the “Solution” because he had only a month to build it. After being tested for a mere ten minutes in the air, aviator Charles “Speed” Holman went on to win the event and set a closed-course, non-military speed record in the process. The plane also won the 1931 Thompson Trophy, and the 1931 Bendix Trophy. Only one “Solution” was ever produced, and it was the only biplane to win the Thompson trophy. Many years later, the plane was restored in consultation with Matty Laird for display at the New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, Connecticut.

John MacGilchrist was a Scottish-American artist, known primarily for his aviation subjects. Born in Scotland, he studied with the etcher David Allan Cameron. He spent 1913 and 1914 finishing a degree in architecture at Carnegie Tech in Pittsburgh. When World War I began, he returned to Britain to serve as a military officer, eventually becoming a balloon pilot in the Royal Flying Corps. After the war, he worked as an architect in Philadelphia and New York until 1926, when he became a full-time artist. He quickly developed a following for his etchings of aviation subjects and produced a series of at least 24 etchings of airplanes in flight and World War I scenes between 1929 and 1931. His work was collected by Henry B. DuPont, Harvey Wannemaker and Charles Lindbergh. However, the Depression cut short his art career and he returned to the architectural profession, joining the U.S. Department of Reclamation as an architectural design engineer on such projects as the Grand Coulee Dam and Hoover Dam. He retired in 1953. In addition to 21 aviation etchings in the collection of the Library of Congress, including the etching of the Laird “Solution,” MacGilchrist’s works today can be found in the collections of the National Air & Space Museum in Washington, D.C.; the Museum of Flight in Seattle; the Royal Air Force Museum in London; the Art Institute of Chicago; and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Original label: “The Laird Speedwing ‘Solution’ (Pratt & Whitney Wasp Junior Engine). Winner – 1st Place – Thompson Trophy Race – Chicago, Ill., Sept. 1, 1930. Average Speed 201.91 M.P.H. for 100 Mile Race. (20 Laps Around a Five Mile Course). Piloted by C.W. ‘Speed’ Holman.”

Condition: Generally very good, recently professionally cleaned and deacidified, with some remaining light mat toning and wear.


“893 Original Vintage Works by Famous Aviation Artist John MacGilchrist.” eBay. (20 May 2016).

“Laird LC-DW 300 ‘Solution.” New England Air Museum. 2012-16. (20 May 2016).

“Laird Solution.” Wikipedia. 23 June 2015. (20 May 2016).

Additional information


20th Century