FLYING majestically through the skies over Hampshire, it is a truly iconic image.

Now, university bosses want to see the Spitfire commemorated with a special piece of public art overlooking Southampton’s tribute to those who gave their lives for their country.

They want a specially-commissioned painting of the legendary fighter plane added to the side of the Sir James Matthews Building in Above Bar.

Southampton Solent University hopes the unique artwork will adorn the north face of the former Plummers department store building in time for the traditional Armistice Day celebrations and the official opening of the city’s new cultural quarter.

Both events will be marked on the weekend of November 12 and 13.

The piece of art, which will be made up of 246 individual digital designs, captures the image of six Spitfires in flight over the county where it first took to the sky.

If planning permission is granted for the scheme, it will overlook Watts Park, which is home to Southampton’s Cenotaph and the centre for the city’s annual Remembrance Day commemorations.

The painting, named 360 Degree Roll, has been created by Ray Smith, an artist renowned for his public art commissions. He has been involved in urban regeneration across the country, and his art is used in redesigned schools and hospitals.

The 61-year-old also has a connection to the city, having worked as a Fine Arts Fellow at the University of Southampton from 1978 to 1981, and his 1981 painting Roto Relief is part of the collection at Southampton City Art Gallery.

Last night Solent University was unable to tell the Daily Echo how much the work would cost.

A Solent University spokesman said: “We want to create a public work that celebrates the space, landscapes and histories of the area.

“Renowned artist Ray Smith has created a significant new work that pays tribute to one of the region’s most iconic images.”

The Spitfire was designed by RJ Mitchell at the Supermarine Aviation works in Woolston, and was first flown from the Eastleigh airfield that is now Southampton International Airport.

As reported, plans for a Spitfire memorial statue in Southampton are currently being developed, following a long-running campaign backed by the Daily Echo.

More than 300 entries were received from across Europe as part of a competition to design the 180ft sculpture, which will cost about £2m and be positioned at the entrance to Southampton waterfront, alongside the historic Trafalgar dry dock.