This is a beautiful printed Union Jack flag, dating from the early 1950s, during the early years of Queen Elizabeth II's reign. This flag is a combination of the flags of three distinct nations- England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. The Union Jack postdates the Act of Union of 1801, in which the Kingdoms of Ireland and Great Britain joined to form the United Kingdom.
The Union Jack is a combination of three separate flags. The base is St. George’s Cross, the flag of England. Since the 13th century, English soldiers had used the Cross of St. George, which is a red cross on white field. King Edward III made St. George the Patron saint of England in 1350, and the flag was used until 1606. When King James VI of Scotland became King of England it was decided that a new flag should represent the union of the two realms under one king. This new Union Flag was a combination of St. George’s Cross and the white Cross of St. Andrew on blue field, Scotland’s flag. This new “Union Flag” was used exclusively at sea, until 1707 when the two kingdoms were officially united.
The Union flag flew as the flag of Great Britain, until the union of Ireland and Great Britain in 1801. The addition of Ireland to the flag is represented with a red saltire, to symbolize the Cross of St. Patrick. The name "Union Jack" became official when it was approved in Parliament in 1908. It was stated by the Earl of Crew, on July 14th:
“My Lords, the noble Earl [Howe] asks me, with a view to removing any possible doubt that may exist on the subject, whether it is a fact that the full Union Jack may be flown on land by every citizen in the Empire. As many of us know, there has existed in the public mind a Curious confusion as to what flags may be flown and what may not. At one time it seemed to be believed that the Royal Standard could be flown anywhere and by anybody. That, however, as we now know, is not the case. It was formally announced that the Royal Standard is the personal flag of the Sovereign, and cannot properly be flown without His Majesty's permission, which is only granted when either the King or Queen is present. But, of course, a very different state of things applies to the Union Jack. I think it may fairly be stated, in reply to the noble Earl, that the Union Jack should be regarded as the National flag, and it undoubtedly may be flown on land by all His Majesty's subjects.”
This 1950s Union Jack flag is in good condition. The flag has a cotton construction. It is fully printed, with sewn edges. There is minor toning to the white field, consistent with flag’s age and use. The red is particularly vibrant, and there is no bleed between colors. Light stain in the lower left corner. Small tear to top left corner. The flag measures 23” H x 36” W.
The flag has been mounted and artfully presented in a custom-built black and soft gold frame. Frame measures 27 ¼” H x 40 ⅝” W x 2 ½” D.
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