Posts Tagged ‘Art’
The opening of the new Cathedral Gardens in Leicester last Saturday included talks by both the artist whose work found a home in the new gardens. Our friend Rosalind Broomhall told us already about James Butler and the Richard III statue. Here she concludes her reports about the opening of the gardens by sharing with us the ideas behind Dallas Pierce Quintero’s new artwork.
‘Towards Stillness’ Commissioned by Leicestershire County Council. Designed by Juliet Quintero of Dallas Pierce Quintero.
The artwork ‘Towards Stillness’ portrays the story of Richard’s final days in Leicestershire in a series of 12 steel plates, aligned towards Bosworth and surrounded by tall grasses and marshy plants to evoke the terrain of the battlefield. Juliet Quintero consulted with both Dr Phil Stone (Richard III Society) and Dr John Ashdown-Hill to ensure historical accuracy.
The artwork should be read from west to east with the first stainless steel plates representing the battle – the charge, rearing horse, fight on foot and defeat. Juliette took hundreds of photographs of a re-enactor from Les Routier de Rouen to create lifelike images and the sihouettes were water cut* onto the steel. Helped by undergraduates Holly and Freya from Loughborough University, the images were then blurred with lines to create the sensation of movement. The blurring ceases as Richard is slain and carried back to Leicester on horseback and the quality of the steel diminishes to denote the passage of time. The steel was shot blasted in a random way to create a weathering effect and as the centuries pass the height of the sheets falls. Richard is lost. Until that day in 2012 when the archaeologists uncovered the grave.
The clue to this piece is in the title. After more than 500 years, the heat of battle, the hurried interment at Greyfriars and the lost grave, Richard will finally be laid to rest – and be still.
*Watercutting: water mixed with crushed garnets forced at pressure through a sapphire nozzle. Laser cutting would have created too much heat.
More from the opening of the new Cathedral Gardens in Leicester by our friend Rosalind Broomhall. The photo of the statue with its new sword is by Jo Mungovin. Thank you to both of you!
Richard III statue. Commissioned by the Richard III Society and sculpted by James Butler RA.
This much loved bronze statue has been moved from its previous home in Castle Gardens to the newly refurbished Cathedral Gardens and James Butler was on hand to talk about it.
Mr Butler’s vision was to sculpt Richard ‘the man’ and to that end, after consultation with the Richard III Society, Richard’s arms were left free of armour and Richard depicted as strong, energetic and courageous. He holds his crown as though picked from the battlefield after losing his helmet and displayed to portray his ambition – to fight for his kingdom. He stands on a plinth above us to drive home that point. (The aggregate used for the plinth is, by the way, from a quarry near Bosworth.) The sword has been newly restored after the statue lived for many years with a dagger – the result of the previous sword being stolen (and recast) 6 times. It portrays a hand-and-a-half sword and has been strengthened and thickened from the original.
Tongue-in-cheek, Mr Butler suggested a very sharp edge and an articulated elbow to deter vandals. (Vandalism is, apparently, an all too common problem with public art.) As Richard would have been riding a horse, his inner leg would have been armour free and the rest of his armour, custom made in Germany or Italy, would have had sliding rivets allowing for freedom of movement.
The statue was unveiled in Castle Gardens in 1980 by Princess Alice of Gloucester and as one observer commented, “It rocks!”
Our branch has for a long been very grateful to Andrew to be able to use his artwork in our documents or on our website with his permission, which was of course credited to him. Therefore we feel very strongly about spreading the word on this new merchandise.
The design commissioned by the Society of Richard III mounted on his horse is full of meaning. He is armoured as a warrior, but holds a scepter in his hand to show his kingship. His horse wears Richard’s armourial bearings, a white boar is running alongside him and above him flies his standard. His crowned shield is surrounded by a garter. On the grass we find forget-me-nots, white roses for York and broom flowers and pods for Plantagenet.
You can see the picture and all details of ordering any of the merchandise here.
Note: The illustration above is another depiction of Richard III by Andrew Jamieson. It does not show the new artwork.
Book Review: The Master of Bruges (and of London, too!)
Terence Morgan, The Master of Bruges. Pan Books, London, 2011. ISBN 978-0-230-74413-4 (paperback)
First I would like to thank Heather, who told me about The Master of Bruges and awakened my interest in it.
This novel purports to be the memoirs of The Master of Bruges, the painter Hans Memling, who lived and worked in Burgundy though he was born in Germany. From December 1460 to his death in 1494 we share Memling’s loves and adventures and through him we meet many of the people who are of significance to anyone interested in the late medieval period. Obviously the Burgundian court of the time features strongly: Charles the Bold, his wife Margaret of York, his daughter Marie and later her husband Maximilian. Read the rest of this entry »
The famous Canadian historian Timothy Brook has written an enjoyable account of the beginnings of globalisationin the seventeenth Century. Brook has authored many books about China and Japan especially of the Ming period. In his 2008 book “Vermeer’s Hat” he sets out to show the development of trade routes and explores the often fraught relationships in which Europeans found themselves struggling to gain and maintain spheres of influence and trading posts in Asia and the Americas.
Charmingly, Brook evokes the concept of “Indra’s Web” which affirms that everything is connected. He examines five paintings by the seventeenth century artist, Johannes Vermeer and one each by two of his contempories Hendrik Van Der Burch and Leonaert Bramer.
He draws attention to goods which appear in the paintings and discusses how each artefact might have come to Vermeer’s home in Delft and shows how these actually opened doors into the rapidly expanding world and traces the growth of trading companies like the VOC and East India Company which gave rise to wide spread colonisation by the Europeans.
The painting “The Beaver Hat” which lends its name to the book, explores the history of the soldier’s hat fashioned from beaver pelts bought from North Americans. Money raised from this trade financed voyages in search of new trade routes to China, Japan and the Indies.
The book has informative maps and the paintings are exquisitely reproduced The paintings portray such goods as Murano glass, Turkish carpets and blue and white china from the kiln town of Jinderzhen in China all of which are traced back to their origins and paid for by silver from Peru.
The book is divided into sections one of the most interesting being the history of how tobacco smoking spread from South America to Europe and thence to the Far East preparing the way there for wide spread opium smoking in China.
Vermeer’s Hat published by Profile Books of London is a rivetting and informative read. It has an extensive reference section a very informative bibliography and is well referenced.
Not much on the face of it, that’s why an article mentioning both aroused my curiosity. It’s on a blog called Conservative History Journal. The blogger’s political convictions do not come into this article, so any Ricardian, irrespective of your own political sympathies, can enjoy its message on King Richard III.
The blogger, who calls himself Tory Historian, tells us that he went a while ago to Leicester to visit an exhibition of German Expressionist works and also explored the city. While we know that the city of York remembered with “great heaviness” “our good king Richard [who was] piteously slain and murdered”, we learn that King Richard III also enjoys a lot of loyal following in the city where his body was taken after the Battle of Bosworth. We don’t know where the body ended up after the dissolution of the monasteries and it might have been “thrown into the ditch just outside [the city] in the charming way those Tudors behaved”. Ricardians can surely share that sentiment towards the Tudors! Read the rest of this entry »