Monday, July 8, 2013

History's Runway: The American Forces in London Scarf, 1943

The American Forces in London Scarf
Lever, 1943
The Victoria & Albert Museum

By 1943, Britain had already suffered through four years of the second World War and had endured nightly aerial bombardment which weakened her population, ports and cities.  American Armed Forces, arriving in 1942 and 1943, stationed in Britain helped her people rally.  While there, American soldiers often wished to send small souvenirs of England home to wives, sweethearts, sisters and mothers.  This handsome silk scarf was designed by Arnold Lever (1905-1977) and manufactured by Jacqmar to be a souvenir which could easily be sent overseas by soldiers.  

The scarf demonstrates Lever's unique idea of the spirit of London and Britain as well as his desire to spread Britain's appreciation for America's aid.  In addition to showing London's usual main sites, Lever includes the U.S. Embassy.  Lever includes figures representing American soldiers with those from other nations who joined in the fight against Germany and Japan.  This idea of international camaraderie is solidified with depictions of traditional British citizens interacting with foreign brethren.  We see a French solider with a hilted Scotsman, two soldiers of the Home Guard, an English policeman and a bowler-hatted businessman.

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