Wednesday 27 January 2016


I painted this picture in 2009. It was inspired by the floods of 2007 at Tewkesbury.

As a battle re-enactor I have visited Tewkesbury many times and have a great affection for the town. I was particularly struck by photographs showing the abbey almost isolated on its own  island in the midst of the floodwater.

It felt, to me, rather as if it was sacred ground preserved from power of nature. 

As usual , this is a landscape of dreams, so the flood plain and abbey outbuildings are a constructed landscape. The three angelic figures show Divine approval.

Until next time


Wednesday 20 January 2016

The Heraldic panther

For reasons unknown, the heraldic panther is usually shown as a spotted lion with flames issuing from its ears and mouth.

My theory is that an early drawing showed the beast with tufted ears and that this was cheerfully misinterpreted by later heraldic artists.

I have, however, discovered a variation on this beast.

Whilst I was investigating the blazoning of the central inescution of the arms of Bavaria, I found that the beast in the third quarter is charged as a “panthier”( to be pronounced as if it is French).

This is described as  a lion with a dragon’s head and neck.

Until next time


Wednesday 13 January 2016


I painted this picture in 2007. It was based on a much earlier sea painting, which, in turn, had been based on a dream about being on a beach at night during a  violent storm.

This picture is about the power of nature and our relationship to it.

The floating figure might be creating, or controlling the  power of the storm, or he might be making a futile attempt to control it.

I still haven’t decided which interpretation I prefer.

Until next time


Wednesday 6 January 2016

Differencing Arms 3

 Happy Twelfth Night. Be sure to have all your Christmas decorations down tonight!

Now, when I was a member of the Far Isles Medieval Society, I was permitted two personas.

My primary persona was an ecclesiastic and, when I had served the society for many years, it was this persona that was ennobled and became a bishop.

Thus Thomas de Velmont became Bishop of The Freemark, a diocese that had not previously existed.

My other persona, Igor Ross, happened to be King of Arms, so I was in the happy position of deciding what the arms for the new diocese

The arms of the Freemark were as follows

Vert on inescution argent an open fetterlock sable.

And looked like this

I decided to difference these for the diocese.

Now, just by chance, Vert and purpure ( green and purple) were not originally used in English heraldry. They were both introduced from French heraldry.

Purple is also the colour that bishops are required to wear.

I decided that the Cathedral for the Freemark should be dedicated to St Peter, because this would give me crossed keys.

The blazon I settled on was:

Vert on an inescution argent an open fetterlock sable in chief purpure two keys in saltir or wards in chief.

The fields related to each other (both being French), the field of the chief also related to bishops and the keys also referenced the open fetterlock.

I was quite pleased with this one on many levels.

It looks like this

Until next time