When I planned this painting diary, I optimistically thought that 4 weeks would allow enough time to see the painting completed. When will I learn! - my paintings always take longer than planned, which is probably why I often end up working evenings and weekends; something that has become necessary lately. I can usually complete a gouache painting - the sort I do for Osprey - in a week or so, but oils take so much longer. In this case it is the amount of detail that is proving time consuming - I can easily spend a whole day working away on what is a comparatively small area.

This week I managed to get the painting looking almost finished. It's only when you look closely that you see where more work is needed. If you can bear with me for another seven days, I will be able to reveal the finished picture next Friday.

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Week 4 saw me start with the soldiers on the right - the Flemish hand gunners or 'blak and smoky sort of Gunners Flemyngys' as they were referred to at the time. Obviously, I have tried to give them the grubby look that the chronicler commented on. I have also made use of some very recent research by Dave Key into methods of identifying soldiers on campaign. He has found many references to 'bends' of cloth being worn by all ranks, in the livery colours of their commander and bearing his badge. In heraldic terms, the bend is a diagonal stripe and this, together with other evidence, has lead him to the conclusion that sashes were worn alongside (or sometimes, along with) livery jackets.

Having read Dave's notes, I have been convinced enough to equip Edward's Flemish mercenaries with 'bends' in the Yorkist livery colours of murrey and blue with the badge of a white rose - so much quicker and cheaper to issue than complete jackets, something that must have been important to an exiled King.

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Moving onto the foreground rider, I concentrate on getting his armour looking realistic. I enjoy painting armour - which is just as well I suppose - the metal surface allowing so much variety of colour and tone. Polished metal reflects the colours around it, so upper surfaces tend to mirror the sky, whilst the sides pick up whatever else surrounds the figure. Other factors, such as the degree of polish or a covering of rust all help to vary the appearance of helmets and armour, and, with this figure, being overshadowed by the tall buildings provides a further challenge. What you see is the result of many hours of adjusting - adding a darker tone here, a bit more blue there - until I'm happy with the final effect. As with all drawing and painting, you can't beat observation from life and seeing armour worn in the field by re-enactors has helped me enormously. Even if the style is not correct, the way the plates move in relation to each other and how the curved surfaces appear outside are all things you can't see in a museum.

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The style of armour I have chosen to show is typical of that which was worn in England during this period, but it is a style that only survives on tomb effigies. The small amount of 15th century armour that remains can be categorised as either German, with it's gothic spikes and fluting, or Italian, a much rounder style. While pure Italian armour appears on some English effigies, demonstrating the Italian export market, most combine elements from both styles. My reconstructions are based on a study of tomb effigies, using my knowledge of real armour to translate what the sculptor has shown into something that would work if made in steel. Speaking to modern armourers has also helped me differentiate between what is possible and when the medieval sculptor has used his artistic licence.

The rest of the week is spent working up the whole painting, and as I have previously discussed most of the individual areas I will let the pictures speak for themselves. As well as showing the completed painting in my final update next Friday, I will include some close up photos of details.

Return to Introduction

Back to Week 3 - Forward to Week 5

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.