This Sceptred Isle by Robert Taylor features Spitfires of 74 Squadron during the Battle of Britain.
For nearly a thousand years the white cliffs of southern England had taunted many a foreign army. These fortress walls of chalk, however, were defended by the moat-like waters of the Channel and together they had shielded the British from her enemies. Alongside Drake they had defied the armies of Spain and her great Armada and, in 1805, had halted the march of Napoleon’s Grande Armée. No enemy force since that of William the Conqueror in 1066 had successfully managed to cross the Channel in anger but, in May 1940, one of the most powerful armies the world had ever seen arrived at Calais. An invasion by Hitler’s all-conquering Wehrmacht was imminent – or so it seemed.
To cross the Channel and breach the English defences, the Luftwaffe simply had to gain control of the skies, and with massively superior numbers the outcome seemed inevitable. The fate of Britain lay in the hands of less than 3,000 young airmen from Fighter Command – Churchill’s ‘Few’.
By July the most famous air battle in history was underway and, over the next three months, under tranquil summer skies, the ‘Few’ battled to defend their Sceptred Isle. Impossibly outnumbered and flying daily to the point of exhaustion, by October these courageous young men had snatched victory and from the jaws of defeat, emerging defiantly victorious. The threat of invasion might be over but a terrible price had been paid – during that long battle for the survival of Britain 544 had been killed and 422 wounded; and of those who survived a further 814 would be killed before the end of the war.
It is to the valiant ‘Few’ that Robert Taylor once again pays tribute in this masterful painting portraying a fleeting moment of calm for the pilots of 74 (Tiger) Squadron during the height of the Battle of Britain. With his commanding officer Sailor Malan (ZP-A) to his right, Acting Flight Lieutenant John Freeborn (ZP-C) takes time to reflect on another day of intense combat while passing over the white cliffs and the familiar lighthouse at Beachy Head, as the squadron cross the English coast to head for home.
Robert Taylor's limited edition print, This Sceptred Isle, is signed by two highly regarded RAF veterans who flew in combat during the Battle of Britain:
Wg Cdr TIM ELKINGTON - Pilot on Hurricanes with 1 Sqn / 2 victories
Flt Lt TERRY CLARK DFM AE - WOp/AG on Blenheims with 219 Sqn / 6 victories.
The five signature Collectors Edition is additionally signed by three prominent veterans who fought in the Battle of Britain:
Flt Lt ARCHIE McINNES - Pilot on Hurricanes with 610 & 238 Sqn
Flt Lt WILLIAM ‘BOB’ HUGHES DFC AFC - WOp/AG on Blenheims with 23 Sqn
C.A.F. JOE RODDIS - Ground Crew on Spitfires with 234 Sqn.
The ten signature Veterans Editions is additionally signed by a further five highly distinguished Battle of Britain fighter pilots, including four legendary Aces:
Gp Capt TOM DALTON-MORGAN DSO DFC* OBE - Pilot on Hurricanes with 43 Sqn / 17 victories
Wg Cdr JOHN FREEBORN DFC* - Pilot on Spitfires with 74 Sqn / 17 victories
Sqn Ldr KEN ‘HAWKEYE’ LEE DFC - Pilot on Hurricanes with 501 Sqn / 7 victories
Wg Cdr WILFRED ‘WILF’ SIZER DFC* - Pilot on Hurricanes with 213 Sqn / 10 victories
Sqn Ldr MICHAEL WAINWRIGHT AFC - Pilot on Spitfires with 64 Sqn / 2 victories.
200. Collectors Edition of 125. Veterans Edition of 40.
image 19.5 x 13 inches. 24.75 x 18.5 inches overall including borders.
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