Archive | 21:01

Reinventing An Icon: Part 1

31 Jul

A couple of weeks ago, local flagmaker Charles Ashburner sent me an email asking if I’d like to get involved in the creation of a new flag. We had met last year when I was working on a commission for the SkyArts TV channel, creating a new artwork – a new flag for Britain that I called “Here Be Dragons“.

Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd

He asked me to develop an image of the historical Welsh heroine, Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd, for the AUOB Cymru (All Under One Banner Wales) march in Caernarfon on July 27th. That wasn’t a lot of time and I nearly said no. But it’s a cause I support so I took a deep breath and said yes and started to research our Welsh warrior princess.

graphite small
Gwenllian in graphite, one of my original sketches

Zena Warrior Princess

So where to start? I found a very interesting little book by Laurel Rockerfeller which gave me the outline of her life but thinking about how to portray her visually was challenging as there are no contemporary drawings and I didn’t want to go down the “Zena Warrior Princess” route (although I love Zena).

Hugh Williams

And although I liked the painting by Hugh Williams from 1909 that’s associated with her, I didn’t want to reproduce that because it has a very Edwardian sensibility and style. I realised that I had to bring her out of the middle ages and rescue her from early 20th century Art Nouveau and bring her bang up to date into the 21st century.

Gwenllian 1
Gwenllian by Hugh Williams 1909

I wondered what she would be like if I could pop into the Tardis with Doctor Who and travel back in time to meet her …… with my pencil and sketchbook …..

….to be continued ….

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