1958 Lister-Chevrolet ‘Knobbly’ car drawing at Goodwood Revival

An homage to Goodwood Revival 2020

Goodwood Revival is a unique three-day festival held annually in September that recreates the 1940s, 50s, and 60s era of motorsport, with vintage cars, aircraft, fashion, and music celebrating the circuit’s original period between 1948-1966. Held on the grounds of the Goodwood Estate in Chichester, West Sussex, UK, over 150,000 vintage enthusiasts are encouraged to dress in period clothes to help immerse themselves in a historic car race day.

My family and I had booked to attend the Goodwood Revival finals day on Sunday, 13th September 2020, however, due to efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic, the event has sadly been postponed until 2021. The Revival attracts such large crowds of spectators that enforced social distancing measures would have impaired the visitor’s enjoyment of the event.

Watch the greatest Revival races online from 11th-13th September 2020

Despite being unable to hold the event this year, the Goodwood team has searched the archive and selected the greatest races from the history of the Revival to stream online over 11-13th September 2020. Fans can still immerse themselves in the spirit of Goodwood Revival by tuning in from 10:00 am on the Goodwood Road and Racing website and on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Goodwood SpeedWeek, 16th-18th October 2020

Goodwood is also taking the opportunity to preview Goodwood SpeedWeek presented by Mastercard. Held without spectators at Goodwood Motor Circuit, this inaugural event will combine the best aspects from the Revival, the Festival of Speed, and their Members’ Meetings to add to its exclusivity.

Annual Revival favourites such as the RAC TT Celebration for GT cars and the Grand Prix race for the Goodwood Trophy, as well as supercar debuts and new car reveals from the Festival of Speed. Cars will leave the circuit to use areas normally reserved for spectators or buildings. There will also be the first-ever set of rally stages on both tarmac and gravel within the Circuit, gathering cars that represent nearly half a century of the World Rally Championship.

The event will be streamed live through the Goodwood Road and Racing website and their social media channels on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Viewers and fans will be able to get involved by participating in competitions, virtual polls, quizzes, and race predictions.

Why I drew the 1958 Lister-Chevrolet ‘Knobbly’ from the Revival

I had already decided to draw several classic cars, supercars, and motorbikes over a few months in the summer, due to a client’s interest in a commission. It also happened to be the birthday of a family member and taking the Revival as inspiration, I drew the 1958 Lister-Chevrolet ‘Knobbly’ in pencil as a gift.

There were many beautiful classic cars at Goodwood Revival, but I chose to draw the 1958 Lister-Chevrolet ‘Knobbly’ as its aerodynamic design, sleek, elongated curves, side exhaust pipes, and unique appearance immediately appealed to me. It was also one of the historic cars racing that day. This particular model caught my eye just before it was due to race on the circuit. I changed the racing number to a 7 as I knew it was the favourite number of the person for whom I gifted the drawing. I thought that a pencil drawing would give a handcrafted and classic, vintage look, as opposed to an oil painting in colour.

1958 Lister-Chevrolet ‘Knobbly’ car at Goodwood Revival, pencil drawing by Charlotte Iggulden

I am naturally inclined towards vintage and classic cars, possibly because I have been raised in a family that has enjoyed, collected, and driven classic cars over the years. However, as a fine artist, I think that classic car designs have a sophisticated degree of individuality and are incredibly beautiful; their handcrafted look appears as a work of art. I will admit that classic cars are not necessarily the most practical, but they are beautiful to look at and the feeling you get when driving or being driven in one adds far more to the driving experience.

Closeup of the 1958 Lister-Chevrolet ‘Knobbly,’ pencil drawing by Charlotte Iggulden

Lister Motor Company

Founded by Brian Lister in 1951, Lister Motor Company is Britain’s oldest car racing manufacturer and was the country’s most successful sports racing car of the 1950s; it won almost every circuit in the UK and was virtually unbeaten overseas. It is now perhaps the most respected historic race car manufacturer in the world.

Lister Classics is a division of the Lister Motor Company and was founded by Father and son team, Andrew and Lawrence Whittaker, who purchased the company in 2013 to continue building, restoring, and selling a variety of historic racing cars and tuned Jaguar vehicles. You can follow Lister’s official social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Goodwood Revival Fashion

As a gloriously fun step back in time, Goodwood Revival celebrates not only the cars of the 40s-60s eras but also the fashion styles. For anyone who loves vintage fashion, Goodwood Revival is a wonderful event to immerse yourself in.

The Goodwood Revival website has various site pages dedicated to vintage fashion, with ladies and gentlemen style guides for the 1940s, ’50s, and ’60s. There are also a few websites that provide style guides for Goodwood Revival specifically, such as the House of Foxy which gives advice on the ’40s and ’50s clothes for women.

Here I am dressed in a vintage 1950s outfit at Goodwood Revival 2019

Goodwood Motorsport Events 2021

To find out more about attending the Goodwood Revival and Festival of Speed events in 2021, visit Goodwood’s website to sign up for ticket alerts.

Museums in Quarantine – Connecting Digitally Through Arts and Culture

Each year since 2014, museums across the world have collaborated in a shared initiative to celebrate their treasures with the public in an online festival known as ‘MuseumWeek.’

MuseumWeek has now grown to include over 60,000 participants from 100+ countries. According to its website, it has become the first virtual, worldwide cultural event on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Weibo, WeChat, and VKontakte.

Between 11 May- 17 May this year, many of your much-loved museums have been participating via their social media, at a time when it is vital to connect.

Technology has often had a strange tension between being a blessing and a curse. It has blessed people through the dissemination of information and connecting people in ways that otherwise would not be possible. However, it has also caused uncertainty, where the threat of technology consuming life has pervaded literature and the arts, from dystopian writers such as George Orwell and HG Wells to science fiction films like, but not limited to, Blade Runner (1982) and 2049, Terminator, RoboCop, and Alita: Battle Angel. As we begin to rely increasingly on technology, it is inevitable that we refer to visionaries who have imagined a future that has been absorbed by technology, either willingly or unwillingly, consciously or unconsciously, for good or bad. I took a while to join any form of social media and was only persuaded to do so in University, as a way to keep in touch.

There is also the issue of trust in images that pervade modern culture, such as the utilization of Photoshop, where images can so easily be manipulated and the lines between fact and fiction blurred. This is a fascinating issue that has been explored in Dr, James Fox’s The Age of The Image, a series that I would recommend watching on BBC iPlayer.

The idea of whether a happy equilibrium could be met between humanity and technology has become heightened in these recent extraordinary times, where imposed lockdowns and restrictions on movement due to Covid-19 has meant people have turned more to social media as a way to connect to others, to culture, the natural world, or whatever they miss from their normal routine.

As an artist, I spend much of my time in my studio creating, and I have seen other artists argue that they have been in lockdown ever since they can remember. However, I also feel acutely the lack of being able to freely move without restriction. I think however that often, and not to become too philosophical, that even as prisoners of war can attest, freedom ultimately lies in your mind.

Times of hardship have often proven to activate the imagination and creativity, reinspiring people to see their surroundings in a whole new light, bringing forth a mental and even spiritual transformation.

Rather than being overcome by inertia, those working at these places of culture have become even more resourceful during the lockdown. As James Fox rightly says, you can’t lockdown, or lock up the imagination. Throughout the lockdown, James has been sharing pieces of art on his Twitter account that he feels will help people come to terms with isolation. You can follow him @doctorjamesfox.

Since joining social media, I have enjoyed following my favourite museums on Instagram and Twitter, when I have not been able to attend in person. Museums such as The Wallace Collection, the V&A, the Louvre, the British Museum, The Museum of Natural History, The Science Museum, The Met, amongst so many others. I also enjoy following other art institutions such as Christie’s or National Trust properties like Waddesdon Manor, as, like the other museums I mentioned, they consistently share their most beloved treasures and stories in a way that engages the viewer and informs them, keeping their minds occupied and relieving boredom. You can even get involved with their accounts by participating in their interactive challenges, such as creating an artwork based on an item in their collection or reenacting a famous painting.

The willingness of the public to engage with these institutions online proves to me that time and again, arts and culture provide a vital means of education, inspiration, and entertainment at any period of time and are a way of understanding current experiences. By seeing stories from the past or how artists have translated their times, whether they have lived through war or peace, can often be a way of inspiring further generations on how to react in our times. Technology can never replace a loved one, but for those struggling with not being able to be physically close to those they love most, social media can be a form of comfort and can help reinforce gratitude and appreciation. Seeing through the eyes of a curator or artist can not only help relieve boredom, but also anxiety, bringing a sense of peace to the viewer.

Even when there is no lockdown, I would recommend following MuseumWeek’s account, or simply your favourite museums and art galleries on social media, either Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, or if you are like me, a combination of all three.

Personally, I have enjoyed learning new things about The Wallace Collection, Christie’s, and The National Trust’s Waddesdon Manor, to name a few (a more extensive list is included at the end of this blog). All three actively invite the public to get involved with them through various activities and challenges.

Based in Manchester Square, London, The Wallace Collection is a cornucopia of eclectic and exquisite items housed within beautiful interiors, including armour, sculpture, furniture,  and paintings, collected by the Marquesses of Hertford and Sir Richard Wallace in the 18th and 19th centuries. My father and I had actually booked to attend a day’s conference on Indian, Iranian, and Ottoman arms and armour at the museum, which we look forward to attending when possible.

The Wallace Collection’s IG page. 

Waddesdon Manor in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, one of my favourite National Trust properties, if not favourite (it bears a remarkable and convenient resemblance to my beloved uni, Royal Holloway), was founded by The Rothschild family of Jewish bankers, and is a beautiful French Renaissance house, with sumptuous interiors, an exciting sculpture trail, and a lovely history of supporting the local community.

Waddesdon Manor’s IG page.

Waddesdon Manor’s Twitter page, which has a different collection of stories to its other accounts.

Christie’s, located on Kings Street, St James’, also has a wonderful collection of treasures that vary in each auction, from ancient history to the present day.

Christie’s’ Instagram page.

I would always argue that we should never rely on technology and that physical relationships are always superior, however, technology has a surprising way of blessing us in ways that might not previously have been appreciated.

I follow a lot of accounts that focus on my interests (quite a few it seems!), such as history, the natural world, space science, wildlife, design, fashion, interiors, engineering, architecture, art, and even technology itself as a means of design. I honestly believe that you never stop learning and that you can learn from anything and anyone, whether online or offline; it is your attitude that determines whether it is beneficial to you or not.

I think having an appreciation of arts and culture encompasses a cross-section of so many other fields, such as history, fashion, etc and enriches people in such an important way, acting as a vital artery to society itself. It has even been proven to be effective as a form of art therapy for people facing loneliness, whether in lockdown or not, rates of suicide, etc and problems with mental health; feeling a connection to someone, whether you know them or not, whether online or offline, can be very important, and even more so at this time. Even accounts such as the National Geographic or NASA help you to transcend your physical limitations, transporting you to different places in an instant. I will gladly argue that you will find following these accounts very rewarding and enriching, even liberating, whether you are in lockdown or not.

I would also argue that following these places digitally encourages the viewer to want to visit their physical space, if at all possible, and to support them in the physical world. Let us not forget that social media is a free service, and if you can, please support them through a donation or even liking and following their page, as it is a way of showing your appreciation of those people curating such entertaining and educational pieces of content, letting them know that what they do is as valued as any other essential service or area of society.

The themes that MuseumWeek has already covered include #heroesMW, timely after the 75th anniversary of VE Day, and #CultureInQuarantineMW.

Today, on Wednesday 13 May, the theme is #togetherMW, which seems wholly appropriate for the current times.

We can look forward to Thursday’s #MuseumMomentsMW, where museums will recall memories, #climateMW on Friday for climate change (timely after Earth Day on 22 April), #technologyMW, to justify their digital presence, finishing with #dreamsMW.

I have included just a selection of my favourite arts and culture accounts to follow below, for both MuseumWeek and in general:

The Wallace Collection
Instagram – @wallacemuseum
Twitter – @wallacemuseum
Facebook – @wallacemuseum

Instagram – @christiesinc
Twitter – @ChristiesInc
Facebook – @Christies

Waddesdon Manor
Instagram – @waddesdonmanor_nt
Twitter – @WaddesdonManor
Facebook – @WaddesdonManor

The V&A
Instagram – @vamuseum
Twitter – @V_and_A
Facebook – @victoriaandalbertmuseum

Fitzwilliam Museum
Instagram – @fitzmuseum_uk
Twitter – @FitzMuseum_UK
Facebook – @fitzwilliammuseum

The Louvre
Instagram – @thelouvremuseum
Twitter – @MuseeLouvre
Facebook – @museedulouvre

The British Museum
Instagram – @britishmuseum
Twitter – @britishmuseum
Facebook – @britishmuseum

The Natural History Museum
Instagram – @natural_history_museum
Twitter – @NHM_London
Facebook – @naturalhistorymuseum

The Science Museum
Instagram – @sciencemuseum
Twitter – @sciencemuseum
Facebook – @sciencemuseumlondon

The Met
Instagram – @metmuseum
Twitter – @metmuseum
Facebook – @metmuseum

The American Museum of Natural History
Instagram – @amnh
Twitter – @AMNH
Facebook – @naturalhistory

Instagram – @museumweek
Twitter – @MuseumWeek
Facebook – @MuseumWeekOfficial

*Please note, all opinions are my own*

Leonardo da Vinci: ‘A life in drawing,’ The Royal Collection Trust

‘Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art.’ Leonardo da Vinci

A rearing horse, c.1503-04. Red chalk, pen and ink.

I recently had the pleasure of attending ‘Leonardo da Vinci: A life in drawing,’ at Southampton City Art Gallery, which ran from 1 February to 6 May 2019.

To mark 500 years since his death, 144 of the renaissance master’s greatest drawings in the Royal Collection were on display simultaneously at 12 exhibitions across the UK, part of a nationwide event to give the widest ever UK audience the opportunity to see his work.

At his death in 1519, Leonardo bequeathed his drawings and notebooks to his pupil Francesco Melzi. In 1580, the sculptor Pompeo Leoni acquired Leonardo’s drawings from Melzi’s son and mounted them on two albums, one of which was in England by 1630, in the Earl of Arundel’s collection. Within fifty years the album entered the Royal Collection, having been acquired by King Charles II, possibly as a gift. The drawings were removed from the album during Queen Victoria’s reign and mounted individually. In the twentieth century, many were stamped with Edward VII’s cipher. Housed securely in the Queen’s vaults at Windsor Castle for three successive centuries, these intricate drawings reveal an unparalleled insight into Leonardo’s investigations and the workings of his mind.

Arguably one of the world’s most recognisable and revered names in the history of art, Leonardo da Vinci is without a doubt a tour de force of creativity and artistic genius that has surpassed his own era. Leonardo was a polymath and epitomised the ideal of the renaissance man and the French ‘rebirth’, displaying exceptional talent and an effortless ability to adapt and excel in every discipline he set his mind to.

Twelve selected drawings in the exhibition at Southampton City Gallery reflected the range his interest, from sculpture, painting, architecture, music, anatomy, engineering, geology, botany and cartography; each exquisite drawing was recorded meticulously in pen and ink, red and black chalks, watercolour and metalpoint. All his drawings were executed on paper made from pulped clothing rags.

Studies of an infant, c.1490-92. Metalpoint, pen and ink, on pale pinkish-buff prepared paper. Spontaneous sketches to develop compositions were an important part of artistic practice during the Renaissance. These drawings of a healthy, chubby child, were probably from life.

New information into Leonardo’s techniques and creative processes has been made possible by scientific research using non-invasive techniques including ultraviolet imaging, infrared reflectography and X-ray fluorescence. 

Leonardo’s preparatory drawings and sketches were never intended to be seen by the public and he would probably be surprised people would want to see them. Even his writings and descriptions scrawled onto pulped clothing are almost inscrutable, being written in mirror form, from right to left. However it is believed he did this so as to not smudge the ink.

The heart, bronchi and bronchial vessels c.1511-13. Pen and ink on paper. This is actually the heart of an ox, as Leonardo did not have access to human organs after 1511. He was intrigued by the ‘most minute’ branching of the bronchi, describing them in his annotations.

Leonardo da Vinci’s view of the world was expansive, he was never limited and this drove him to excel in many areas of learning. The artist believed adamantly in visual evidence being more persuasive than academic argument, and an image could convey knowledge with more accuracy than words.

Leonardo spent hours studying nature and botanical details whilst in his surroundings in Vinci, Italy. His ability to grasp the principles of art and science, and his insight into the human soul, spirit and body, captured the spirit of the times when great advancements were being made and pioneering technology developed.

The muscle of the shoulder and arm, and the bones of the foot c.1510-11. Black chalk, pen and ink, wash.

Through careful attention to detail, Leonardo deftly blended mathematics and art into ideal proportions. In Vitruvian man, Leonardo demonstrated his deep understanding of proportions and of the workings of the human body as an analogy of the workings of the universe, uncovering both the ideal symmetry and beauty of the human body mirroring that of the universe. His designs for Vitruvian man were inspired by the ancient Roman architect, Vitruvius and his work on the perfect proportions in architecture and the human body. I like how Leonardo has portrayed the Vitruvian man’s wavy, flowing hair, his expression wild and intense, and his muscular body perfectly poised against the edges of the circle.

Vitruvian man.

Through the ages, the artist has depicted the zeitgeist, the spirit of the times. Their vision of the world has always been like that of a prophet; their extensive time spent in nature and observing detail has given them a deeper level of spiritual understanding of the universe. The very act of drawing and painting is an extension of divine creativity and spiritual expression made tangible. 

Leonardo’s preference for a subtle rendering of expression, refined use of shading and changes in tone that is not quite visible is reflected in his art, from the slight smile of the Mona Lisa to the transcendent gaze of the Salvator Mundi, with Christ looking directly into the viewer’s soul. Leonardo captured the human body in a way that revealed their spirit, the individual can never quite be grasped, it evades description and understanding.

In the summer of 2019 (24 May to 13 October), all 144 drawings will be gathered together in a single collection at The Queen’s Gallery in Buckingham Palace, London, followed by a selection of works at The Queen’s Gallery in the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh, in the winter of 2019-2020.

Designs for an equestrian monument c.1517-18. Black chalk.

St Michael’s Mount, Cornwall – a monastery, a fortress, a family home

‘Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon; and the dragon [the devil] and his angels fought, but they were defeated and there was no longer any place for them in heaven.’ Revelation 12:7

Like generations before me, I have become enamoured with a rocky outcrop outside Marazion in Cornwall, better known as St Michael’s Mount.

Rising enigmatically out of the sea’s vapours like a dream or fairytale, St Michael’s Mount is a tidal island in Mount’s Bay, only accessible via a narrow cobbled causeway when the tide is out. The islanders are essentially marooned for sixteen out of twenty four hours, lending it an ethereal, elusive quality, with visitors eagerly anticipating the small gap through which to embark on their own pilgrimage to the castle.

The Mount has undergone several transformations. Once a spiritual house of worship and place of pilgrimage, it transitioned into a fortified stronghold before settling into a family home. Throughout the ages, many have been drawn to its natural advantages and access to the high seas, but it has remained impenetrable, its sheer rock face seemingly unassailable, rising above the land around the shore; its church surrounded by a walled castle at the top of the rocky outcrop with a single track leading down to a few fishermen’s huts and an enclosed harbour.

The castle’s rooftop gives commanding views over the open sea and Marazion:

As Marazion local and author of ‘about St Michael’s Mount,’ Michael Sagar-Fenton says, it always looked ‘just right,’ at ease in its natural surroundings.

No written record exists of the Mount’s formative days, it was most likely a rocky promontory before leaving the safe harbour of land to favour the open sea. Its name supposedly derives from its magnificent namesake in Normandy, UNESCO World Heritage site, Mont St Michel.

Where the former is a medieval city and monastery, the latter is a bastion of natural defence, attractive to those looking for a stronghold or a shipwreck’s bounty, the latter being a frequent problem as many a ship or boat would fall victim to an unforgiving south westerly wind around the island.

The Mount’s spiritual heritage hearkens back to the early Celts, when a group of Celtic missionaries, known as The Saints, marked numerous places in Cornwall as places of worship and bestowed upon them sanctified names. Following the saints came the pilgrims and consequently the foundation for the Mount’s future role in the coming years. Penance and absolution were necessary to enter heaven, so extravagant journeys of pilgrimage were made by those who had the resources, supporting the small local community through tithes of fish.

After the Norman invasion, William the Conqueror bestowed the county to his half brother, Robert. The latter then gave the local village permission to hold a Thursday market to financially aid Mont St Michel, naming themselves ‘Marghas Yow,’ and a nearby settlement became known as ‘Little Market’ or ‘Marghas Byghan; from these come the derivatives, Market Jew and Marazion.

The ‘Pilgrim’s Steps:’

In 495 came a miraculous apparition, with several fisherman claiming a vision of St Michael standing upon a rocky outcrop on the western side of the island. Thus the island transformed from simply a trading port to a significant location in Christendom.

Sculpture depicting the Mount’s namesake, Michael the Archangel, and his defeat over the devil:

In 1135 the Abbot of Mont St Michel established a Benedictine priory on St Michael’s Mount as a subsidiary of his own. However tributaries were suspended during wartime, which gradually eroded their bond. Links were finally severed during the reign of Henry V, at which point the Mount became an independent institution. It was now property with income attached, no longer a sanctified refuge. Although there are few footnotes in history pertaining to its conquest by enemy forces, its strategic advantages undoubtedly made it attractive to both the monarchy and outsiders. After years of wresting it from the monarchy, Syon Abbey eventually regained control of the Mount.

During this period of unrest, the Mount was undoubtedly transitioning from a spiritual place of worship to a fortified stronghold.

A line of cannons overlook the harbour and open sea, reminders of its military heritage:

Due to its strategic advantages, the island survived Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries and the 14th century church remains to this day, the ‘centrepiece of the castle.’ Despite its survival, the faithful clergy were sadly sent away, instead replaced by the Milliton family of Pengersick, who rented it from the monarchy on the condition that they repaired the buildings and pier and supported a garrison of five soldiers.

Stained glass at the castle:

As the tin trade flourished, so did the communities at neighbouring Mousehole, Newlynn, Penzance, Marazion and the village on the Mount. The island was no longer the only significant port, but its fortifications made it the most vital. In July 1588, the beacon on the mount was lit as the Spanish Armada advanced up the  English channel to its forthcoming defeat by Howard and Drake.

Oil painting depicting the first beacon to warn of the Spanish Armada, 1588:

The Spanish invaded Brittany instead, but an embittered raiding party razed Paul, Mousehole, Newlynn and Penzance in revenge. The Mount was too much of a challenge and Marazion was the largest community in the area left standing.

In 1599 many church lands were sold by Elizabeth I into private hands and Robert Cecil, later Earl of Salisbury, bought the Mount. It was a formidable challenge to invading forces, with a new threat rising from the Dutch and North African pirates from Salee and Algiers, who were known to take hostages as slaves.

In 1640 the Mount was sold to Sir Francis Bassett, however two years after their acquisition, they became embroiled in the civil war, with Bassett one of the king’s most faithful soldiers. However, they were forced to pay extortionate fines after Cromwell’s victory (Cornwall was emphatically Royalist) and despite their tin revenues, they parted with the Mount in 1659.

Oil painting depicting the surrender of the Mount after the civil war, 1646:

Unfortunately for the Bassetts, the purchaser, John St Aubyn of Clowance, was a prominent Parliamentarian and was appointed Captain of the Mount by parliament after the war. The family remained custodians for the next three hundred years and still are today. The last garrison departed in 1660 by which time the Mount was in a poor state. However with the end of international and local hostilities and the beginning of the golden age of tin and copper, time and money was at their expense. One of the early improvements was the reowned frieze in the ‘Chevy Chase’ room, the monk’s old refectory and much of the Mount as we know it now originated from this period of renovation, making it more befitting to a country house.

The resplendent banqueting hall in the older part of the castle:

The St Aubyns mostly followed careers in the army and parliament, many distinguishing themselves through military exploits.

Fencing equipment mounted in the entrance hall:

An exception was the fifth baron, known as a patron of the arts, particularly for sponsoring the Cornish artist John Opie. The family’s affection for the arts continued for generations and they still continue to support and encourage living artists.

Examples of their extensive art collection:

The Napoleonic wars led to renewed tension and further fortifications, using the impressive line of cannons to disarm the enemy. At its peak, the island supported 300 people, a school and three pubs. Marazion was declining as a fishing port at this time and both Marazion and the Mount were not previously places the gentry would want to inhabit. However with the ascendancy of the railway, the Mount became a genteel resort for affluent visitors. The island’s business was mainly fishing for pilchards, although many men also doubled as boatmen and estate workers.

The causeway was not properly laid until 1898, before which it was a natural shingle bank, laid by natural confluence of the tides. In the 1950s, the family decided to gift the castle to the National Trust as a means to conserve it for the future. The castle and older parts of the house were opened to the public and the 19th century house, with kitchens and ‘one of the most romantically set dining rooms in the world’ remains private.

Rooftop view of the sub-tropical garden:

Its appeal endures, with artists from Turner to the cartoonist Giles attempting to capture it through its evanescent changes, in sunlight, dusk or moonlight. The Mount is known, justifiably, as the jewel in Cornwall’s crown, an emblem for the whole county. Even mystical straight ley-lines are present, which are said to link places of supernatural power and often high places dedicated to St Michael.

Pre-Christian beliefs also favoured the island as a place of magic and many today find their dreams of fairy stories fulfilled. The Mount also has its own mythology, concerning Jack the Giant Killer, where the giant Cormoran lived in the island.

The Giant’s well, halfway up the Pilgrim’s steps:

This is my charcoal interpretation of the beguiling changing tide at St Michael’s Mount, with Chapel Rock in the foreground:


Remembrance Sunday and Armistice – War and Peace

‘At the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, the Great War ends. At 5 a.m. that morning, Germany, bereft of manpower and supplies and faced with imminent invasion, signed an armistice agreement with the Allies in a railroad car outside CompiĆ©gne, France. The First World War left nine million soldiers dead and 21 million wounded, with Germany, Russia, Austria-Hungary, France, and Great Britain each losing nearly a million or more lives. In addition, at least five million civilians died from disease, starvation, or exposure.’
Extract taken from ‘This Day In History’

The National Service of Remembrance, held today at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, will unite the nation in remembrance of all who have suffered or lost their lives in war. It is the closest Sunday to Armistice Day on 11 November and marks the end of the First World War in 1918. The Queen will be present, alongside other members of the Royal family, veterans, representatives of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces, Fishing Fleets and Merchant Air and Navy, as well as faith communities, politicians and High Commissioners of Commonwealth countries.

This year also plays host to the 75th anniversary of the Battle of El Alamein, the 100th birthday of forces sweetheart, Dame Vera Lynne, and the centenary of the Battle of Passchendale in 1917. I was fortunate to witness a musical tribute and canon salute in commemoration of the battle of Passchendale at Blenheim Palace’s Battle of the Proms in July, where Master Gunner John Slough fired the canon in honour of his grandfather, Albert, who was killed in action at Passchendaele.


‘Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.’
Extract from ‘For the fallen,’ by Robert Laurence Binyon

As Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday approaches each year, scarlet poppies begin to make their appearance, but their origins are often forgotten. It was in the opening lines of the poem ‘In Flanders  Field,’ written during the First World War in May 1915, that Major John McCrae noticed the poppies flowering over the graves of fallen soldiers. His poem later inspired American teacher Moina Belle Michael and Frenchwoman Madame Anna Guerin to encourage people to use the red Flanders poppy as a way of remembering those who had suffered in war and had sacrificed their lives for their country and families. The Royal British Legion have since adopted the flower as the symbol of their ‘Poppy Appeal,’ supporting those serving in the British Armed Forces. The Royal British Legion’s Festival of Remembrance pays tribute to all who have lost their lives in conflict and their loved ones, or have suffered mental or physical injuries, with thousands of poppy petals tumbling down onto the audience and Her Majesty the Queen.
The tomb of the Unknown Warrior was housed in the nave of Westminster Abbey on 11 November 1920 simultaneously with a French soldier at the Arc de Triomphe, and is the most distinguished tomb amidst kings and queens, representing every unidentified fallen warrior. Since Lady Elizabeth Bowes (married to the Duke of York, later King George VI) laid her wedding bouquet on the tomb in 1923 as a mark of respect, many royal brides have continued this tradition. The tomb’s cover is laid with a slab of black Belgian marble and enrobed by scarlet poppies, with verses inscribed onto it’s surface. One such New Testament verse, from  John 15:13, simply says ‘Greater love hath no man than this.’

With these powerful associations surrounding the poppy, I thought it was particularly poignant to find several naturally growing amidst a lavender field. These few poppies made a bright contrast to the delicate surrounding lavender, a flower that is most commonly associated with love, devotion, purity and calm.

This is my resulting oil painting and tribute to those affected by war, ‘Poppy amongst lavender.’

Medieval Cloisters at Gloucester Cathedral

‘God is in the details.’ Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe

As the daughter of an architect and interior designer, attention to detail has been a bit of an obsession of mine throughout my life. I’m drawn intuitively to the forms of nature, buildings, textures; design is all pervasive in the natural and manmade world around us and is a constant source of inspiration to those who are receptive and observant. I love to capture interesting details that I find on my travels in pencil on paper, translating them onto canvas at a later date.

I recently visited Gloucester Cathedral and explored its famous hidden cloisters, marvelling at almost 1000 years of history and faith, alongside its magnificent medieval fan vaulting and intricate details. Architecture at its best becomes more than function, its form and design is so fluid it becomes an organic structure, imitating nature itself. The cloisters at Gloucester Cathedral are believed to be the earliest example of fan vaulting in England.

Aside from Baroque architecture, the Gothic form of architecture is one of my favourite styles. The elaborate fan vault is just one of its many interesting features; it is one of the last and most extravagant forms of medieval vaulting and is strongly asociated with England. They are so named because the vaulting ribs resemble an open fan, with ribs of equal length radiating out from a single point supported by a vaulting shaft or capital. Other well known examples are in King’s College Chapel in Cambridge, the have of Sherborne Abbey in Dorset and the choir of Peterborough Abbey in Cambridgeshire.

Begun in the late 14th century and finished before 1412 by Abbot Froucester, the cloisters replaced an earlier Norman cloister. It was originally built to house the monks and provided a space for them to live, work and meditate. All domestic buildings would originally have branched off three of the cloister walks, according to the traditional Benedictine design. A row of twenty carrels (niche spaces) would have housed desks for the monks study.

Gloucester Cathedral has attracted visitors from all backgrounds and faiths and has gained the interest of various filmmakers, with the cloisters featuring in three Harry Potter films.

I will be producing more architectural and interior design drawings and studies, many of which will serve as preludes to paintings. I hope you enjoy their details as much as I do!