WE’RE COMBING the tournament, war and hunting galleries of the Royal Armouries Museum,
Leeds, looking for armour and weapons of the early 14th century for an illustration
project I’m working on.
There’s a commotion in the nearby performance space and we pause to watch a mini
one man show about the experiences of an Anglo-Saxon huscarl who joins the legendary
Hereward the Wake in his resistance to the Norman Conquest.
The engaging drama of the first hand account of England in turmoil is just what I’d
like to get into my illustrations and equally useful is the opportunity after the
performance to chat about medieval warfare with the re-enactor.
It really helps bring the period to life and to focus my ideas.
The museum shop offers an unparalleled range of reference books; I go for Medieval
European Armies by Terence Wise, illustrated by Gerry Embleton, which features the
period I’m interested in.
On Monday I led a portrait workshop for Gawber Primary School’s art week. I was impressed
by the concentration with which the year 5 class tackled a couple of 15 minute sessions
of drawing from a model; first their teacher (left) then me. Some of them produced
remarkably good likenesses.