Height of the Battle is a rare Robert Taylor, two-print, limited edition carrying seven signatures of Battle of Britain fighter pilots.
Released in 1996 to pay tribute to the role of the Spitfire and Hurricane and their pilots from around the world during the Battle of Britain, 1940. There were three editions released, dedicated in turn to the RAF, Canadian and Australian air forces with each main print being accompanied by a different companion print depending on the edition. This is the RAF Edition with the companion print Hurricane Attack.
As dawn came up on Wednesday 11th September 1940, London was reeling from another night of bombing. Thameside factories and warehouses had been struck; so also had central residential areas of the city, including Buckingham Palace. But daylight brought a deterioration in the weather and some respite from enemy activity. By mid-afternoon however, the weather had improved and German bomber formations were detected building up over the Pas de Calais and Ostend. It was not long before these, accompanied by more than 200 fighters, were plotted flying up the Thames Estuary towards London.
To deal with the imminent raid on London, Fighter Command had already brought nine squadrons to readiness, and as the inbound force swung in from the sea they were scrambled to make the intercept. As the Luftwaffe bombers approached the docklands area east of London, sixty Spitfires and Hurricanes fell upon them and a pitched battle ensued.
Leading No. 74 'Tiger' Squadron was the fearless and brilliant South African fighter leader, 'Sailor' Malan, his designated task to ignore the fighters and tackle the bombers. Flying three sections of four aircraft in line astern, Malan spearheaded the attack from 20,000 feet, the Spitfires ripping into the He111s in an effective beam attack. One of the No. 74 Squadron pilots who flew with Sailor Malan that September day back in 1940, Harbourne Stephen, recently described to Robert Taylor the events of that desperate combat, enabling the artist to complete his exciting new painting Height of the Battle. Seen in the foreground are the Mark 1 Spitfires of No. 74 Squadron. Having made one diving attack and zoomed back above the raiding Heinkel 111s, the fighters peel off for a second attack, Malan already winging over with Stephen on his heels. Below Hurricane Mark Is of 17 and 56 Squadrons have joined the turbulent fray.
Commemorating the Hawker Hurricane and the role it played during the Battle of Britain, the companion print Hurricane Attack depicts John Grandy leading Hurricanes of 249 Squadron over the Isle of Wight, August 1940.
Height of the Battle (RAF Edition) by Robert Taylor is signed by:
Squadron Leader Cyril 'Bam' Bamberger DFC
Squadron Leader John Bentley Beard (Companion Print)
Squadron Leader Ben Bennions DFC
Marshal of the RAF Sir John Grandy
Wing Commander Tom Neil DFC* AFC AE (Companion Print)
Wing Commander Harbourne Stephen CBE DSO DFC*
Wing Commander George 'Grumpy' Unwin DSO DFM*
We are selling this print on behalf of one of our collectors. It was purchased from ourselves when released in 1996 and has been stored dark and flat since. It is in mint condition and is supplied with the original Certificate of Authenticity.
350 RAF Edition
32 x 24 inches overall including borders. Companion print 18 x 15 inches overall.
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