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Details from Battle of Barnet painting

Online Catalogue | Historical Art | Battles | The Battle of Barnet, 14th April 1471 |  Details from Battle of Barnet painting

A huge amount of research lies behind a painting like my 'Battle of Barnet', and I make many decisions when weighing up who and what to include. Here I will try to illuminate some of thought process that went into the finished painting.

Below is an image of the painting covered in numbers, each relating to a specific person or banner, and all identified in the key (this information is supplied in a Who's Who supplied with each copy of the print).
1 - King Edward IV
2 - Edward IV's Standard
3 - Sir Walter Blount, Lord Mountjoy
4 - Sir Thomas de Burgh
5 - Sir James Harrington
6 - Banner of Henry Bourchier, Earl of Essex
7 - Banner of Sir John Howard, Lord Howard
8 - Banner of Sir Henry Grey, Lord Grey of Codnor
9 - Royal banner
10 - Banner of George, Duke of Clarence
11 - Banner of Sir Walter Devereux, Lord Ferrers
12 - Banner of Sir William Fiennes, Lord Saye
13 - Banner of Edmund Grey, Earl of Kent
14 - The Earl of Oxford's Standard
15 - Banner of Sir William Hastings, Lord Hastings
16 - Standard and Banner of Viscount Beaumont
17 - Banner of John Neville, Marquis Montagu
18 - Banner and Standard of Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick
19 - John Neville, Marquis Montagu
20 - Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick
21 - Sir Richard Tunstall
22 - Sir Humphrey Bourchier, Lord Cromwell

Barnet key
Barnet detail 1 Edward IV is central to the story of the Battle of Barnet, and takes a prominent place in my composition. When he fled to the Continent in October 1470 he carried few possessions, so I have resisted the temptation to dress him in an English armour and chosen a style that could have been supplied in Flanders.

On his return to England in March 1471, he eased his progress by saying he had returned only to claim the Duchy of York, so I have shown his helmet, an armet, decorated with a golden ball, pearls and feathers - as often depicted in contemporary manuscript illuminations - with the crown added on top after he later also claimed the throne. The crown is inspired by the surviving crown of Edward's sister, Margaret, decorated with jewels set in enamelled white roses.
Sir Walter Blount, Lord Mountjoy, was made a Knight of the Body by King Edward in 1463, having fled with him to Calais after the Yorkist disaster at Ludford Bridge, and fought alongside him at Mortimer's Cross and Towton in 1461. In 1464 he was appointed Treasurer of England, before being raised to the Peerage in 1465 as Lord Mountjoy of Thurveston. After Barnet (when he was in his fifties), he also fought with King Edward at the Battle of Tewkesbury, and was made a Knight of the Garter in 1472. This painting has allowed me to include a large variety of armour styles, Sir Walter's being based on the tomb effigy of Sir William Gascoigne at Harewood Hall in Yorkshire, with it's very distinctive one piece knee and shoulder plates.

Barnet detail 2
Barnet detail 3
Through the fog on the right you can make out Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick (with his back to us), and his brother John, Marquis Montagu. Warwick, known to history as the Kingmaker, is wearing the armour from the tomb effigy of his father-in-law Richard Beachamp, Earl of Warwick, made a couple of decades after his death so actually more appropriate for Richard Neville. It is a harness I have depicted him in before, both in my painting of the Battle of St. Albans and most recently in the painting for the 2019 Barnet Medieval Festival poster. If you look very closely you can just make out a gilded bear on the top of his helmet, a detail I took from the Beauchamp Pageant, a manuscript created in the 1480s to celebrate the life of Richard Beauchamp.

The Beauchamp Pageant includes many other details that influenced my painting, such as the liveries worn by Warwick's retainers bearing his badge of the ragged staff, and the general appearance of the common soldier.
Barnet detail 4
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