As I mentioned at the end of the last progress report, my first priority this week is to put some work into the left-hand side of the picture. It is an important section of the painting and I don't want it to get left behind.

The stall is based on a mid 15th century Flemish manuscript illustration, which shows the structure in detail. In this picture a woman is selling what looks like bread from baskets and on a small round table next to her are various bottles. Subsequent to finalising the rough sketch, I have done some more research and come across reference showing pasties being sold - an idea roadside snack! Hanging from the frame are two leather costrels (water bottles), based on sketches I made of surviving examples in The Museum of London. My enquiries there have also led me to re-think the inclusion of the glassware, still something of a luxury in 1471, so I have replaced the bottles with some 'Surrey Whiteware' jugs.

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The beggar was one of those ideas that just came into my head - I've no idea what the inspiration was - but I hope he provides a bit of food for thought, not only for the viewer of the painting but also the people in it. (I hope that last bit makes sense - I just wondered what the soldiers marching by would have thought on seeing someone in a situation they could possibly end up in themselves.) By his tattered livery jacket in the English national colours, we can identify him as an ex-soldier, perhaps wounded in France and now driven to begging by his ill health.

My figure models come from a number of sources, but often I turn to whoever happens to be nearest at the time. Although I have used medieval re-enactors in my paintings (and it now seems that 'spot who we know' has become a popular pastime amongst re-enactors and their friends) more often than not it is a family member who gets to be the knight in shining armour or damsel in distress. However, I'm not so sure that my parents are particularly flattered this time, being cast as the stallholder and beggar, especially as everyone agrees that the beggar is easily recognisable as my father!

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Leaving the beggar and stall to dry, I return to the horsemen on the right, adding the horse's tack and general definition. One of the advantages with painting this period is the amount of information that can be gleaned from the incredibly detailed paintings by Flemish masters such as Van der Weyden and Memling. The tack on the leading horse is based on a painting of St. George by Friedrich Herlin, dated around 1460. I have, however, made a few minor changes to incorporate some aspects from the Beauchamp Pageant, such as the dagged shape of the reigns and breast band. My attention now moves on to the figure of Edward IV, painting the King and his mount in greater detail. I have decided to show him wearing armour - the situation at the time was hardly stable - but I have softened it by giving him gown of red cloth of gold (the gold design will be one of the final touches as the painting nears completion). There are a number of manuscript illustrations that show civilian garments like this worn over armour and the bright red colour will help make him even more prominent. While I am working on this area, I also add the view through the gate, indicating the troops marching in from the 'suburbs' outside the city walls.

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Now that I am adding details to comparatively small areas, I find myself able to work constantly around the painting, gradually building up the picture. From the gate I move up to the oriel window before turning my attention to the building on the right. You would be hard pressed to see any difference in these photos, but the little touches I am adding make quite a difference on the original. The window now has glass in it, reflecting in the uneven way only leaded light windows can. My final job before the weekend is to spend some time working on the top left corner and the figure opening the window. As with the stall-holder and beggar I turn to those around me and this time it is my wife, Anita, who finds herself hanging out of our daughter's bedroom window for my art. Mind you, unlike in 'Reverie', she won't be recognisable this time! (For those who haven't met us, Anita modeled for my painting 'Reverie' and, although it wasn't intended as a portrait (I deliberately altered some of her features to make her more 'medieval'), a lot of people seem to recognise her.)

Return to Introduction

Back to Week 2 - Forward to Week 4

Since writing this Painting Diary, Graham Turner has taken his commitment to research and furthering his understanding of the medieval period a stage further than most, and he has now jousted at venues such as the Tower of London, the Royal Armouries Museum, and the Historisches Museum in Bern. The incredible experiences he has gained riding and competing in full plate armour at this high level have had a profound influence on his life and work, and you can find out more about Graham's jousting and his armour by CLICKING HERE

A large range of prints and cards reproduced from Graham Turner's medieval paintings are available from Studio 88, and full details of these, plus all Graham Turner's currently available originals, can be found on our website.

CLICK HERE to be taken to the relevant section of the site.