Dobson and Browne, 1947
Dimensions: 400cm x 150cm
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The Battle of Britain Lace Panel is the largest artefact in the Museum’s collection. It is over one and a half metres wide and some four meters high!
The lace panel is an ivory colour, displayed on a contrasting sky blue fabric, and is framed in a large glass case.
The lace panel was created by a Nottingham lace-making company, ‘Dobson & Browne’, to commemorate the Battle of Britain of 1940. Their company name sits at the top of the lace panel. It is believed that 38 lace panels were made and given to individuals, organisations and countries whose contribution to the Battle of Britain was invaluable. This lace panel was given to RAF Bentley Priory to commemorate its role as Headquarters Fighter Command during the Battle.
The lace panel is full of imagery and symbolism of the Battle of Britain period. At the top of the panel, below the details of the makers, are the badges of the Air Forces of New Zealand, Canada, Australia and South Africa, with the RAF badge in the centre, highlighting the diversity of aircrew that flew and fought during the Battle of Britain. In the centre of the panel are allied and enemy aircraft in battle with airmen bailing out. Above them are the words, ‘The Battle of Britain’, surrounded by flames.
Displayed vertically down the right and left hand sides of the panel are images of bomb-damaged buildings from the Blitz, including the House of Commons, Buckingham Palace, St Clement Danes and Guildhall. In the middle, near the foot of the panel, is St Paul’s Cathedral surrounded by flames but standing resolutely intact, untouched by bombing. Along the bottom and around the edges of the panel, forming a border, are the floral emblems of the British countries. A scroll across the bottom contains Churchill’s iconic quote, “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few”.