Friday, 6 January 2017

Battle of Britain lace panel

My exciting new project for the coming year involves the Battle of Britain lace panel – the image just shows a detail. I’ve been commissioned to produce a contemporary textile response to the panel and its associated archive and I’m very grateful to the Textile Society for giving me a professional development award to help me fund the project and Nottingham Trent University for giving me a residency. The Battle of Britain panel was manufactured by Dobsons and Browne of Nottingham in 1942-6. It is 5 yards long and 65 inches wide and celebrates the bravery of the aircrew who fought the Battle of Britain in 1940, as well as the resilience of the people of London who were besieged nightly by the German Luftwaffe. It depicts the insignia of the Allied Air Forces that played a role in the battle, as well as scenes of the bombing of London. It was produced as a limited edition, and panels were presented to the air forces involved and to dignitaries of the day, including Winston Churchill. Today the panels are displayed in Air Force Museums, cathedrals, textile museums and other places worldwide. Once the panels had been produced, the original designs and associated jacquard cards were destroyed to ensure that it remained a limited edition. However, later in life, the designer, Harry Cross, painted the scenes in the panel, and these and other archival material have recently been loaned to the Lace Archive, at Nottingham Trent University. It is this archive that has been the impetus for the new project. My first research visit is planned for mid January so watch this space to see how the project progresses.

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