'Spitfires' artwork donated to Stained Glass Museum in Ely thanks to donation from artist Brian Clarke

PUBLISHED: 07:51 12 September 2019 | UPDATED: 14:28 12 September 2019

A piece of art titled ‘Spitfires’ is now on display at The Stained Glass Museum in Ely thanks to a donation from the artist Brian Clarke. Picture: JASMINE ALLEN

A piece of art titled 'Spitfires' is now on display at The Stained Glass Museum in Ely thanks to a donation from the artist Brian Clarke. Picture: JASMINE ALLEN

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A piece of art titled 'Spitfires' is now on display at The Stained Glass Museum in Ely thanks to a donation from British artist Brian Clarke.

The autonomous glass panel is on show to the public in time for the #BattleOfBritain memorial services this Sunday (September 15).

The donation was made to mark the museum's 40th birthday by artist Brian Clarke, who is best known for radically updating and innovating the art of stained glass..

Spitfires is one of a series of 70 unique glass panels made by Clarke and the first autonomous works in stained glass to combine the techniques of water-jet-cutting, ceramic glaze-printing and lamination.

Each panel shows the Spitfires in the same formation but with different spitfires illuminated in glorious colour.

In the ceramic glaze-printed cloud - a digital reproduction of one of Clarke's oil paintings - the silhouettes of 16 spitfires can be seen.

The seven coloured Spitfires, in various tones of pink and blue, have been cut from sheets of coloured antique (mouth-blown) glass.

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The Spitfire is one of the most iconic and recognisable British aircraft associated with World War II, its superior speed and agility gave the RAF a critical edge over the Luftwaffe during a number of crucial battles, including the Battle of Britain.

It was in June 1940 the forces of the Third Reich stood poised to invade the British Isles. Conquerors of France, Belgium, Holland, Denmark and Luxembourg, only Britain stood between Hitler and total domination of Western Europe.

It was on the 15th September that The Royal Air Forceshot down 56 invading German aircraft in two dogfights.

The costly raid convinced the German high command that the Luftwaffe could not achieve air supremacy over Britain, and the next day daylight attacks were replaced with night-time sorties as a concession of defeat

The pilots of the fledgling RAF Fighter Command fought bravely and tenaciously in this, one of the first Battles of World War 2.

Eventually they overcame the Luftwaffe and caused the Germans to postpone, and eventually cancel, their invasion plans.

Of the 2,936 British, European and Commonwealth airmen, 544 lost their lives during the battle and a further 795 did not live to see the final victory in 1945.

The artist and designer of this panel, Brian Clarke was born in Oldham in 1953.

Since the early 1970s, he has collaborated with some of the world's most prominent architects, including Norman Foster and the late Zaha Hadid, to create stained glass designs and installations for hundreds of projects worldwide.

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