Monday, 6 August 2012

Inspiration, Execution and Trials With Yellow

Picture the scene.

It is the summer of 1983 and a just turned 16 years old G is making his only ever trip to Warwick Castle with his older sister, her husband, their baby daughter and G's best mate. It is a lovely August day and the party are laid out on the green in the centre of the castle enjoying the warmth and fresh air. Young niece is busy crawling around eating daisies or something, as happy as can be.

Move on to the gift shop and the purchase of a certain tankard.

Striding forwards nearly 30 years, G is clearing his late mother's house and finds that tankard again. G is also slowly building up info on the Bannockburn era of Anglo-Scots warfare. The tankard stands out like a beacon in the dark and G decides he must paint its subject matter.

But it is yellow, a colour G does not like to paint, though has attempted on a few occasions, notably with his TYW Swedish Yellow Regiment and on the recently completed Sir William Pennington.

It had to be done.

I do not know whose retinue Ralph de Monthermer was part of, but he was there, at Bannockburn I mean. Graham Turner's painting in the Osprey Campaign Bannockburn book shows him alongside such worthies as Marmaduke de Thweng, Humphrey de Bohun, Earl of Hereford, and the late Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Gloucester, so I am going for the joint Gloucester/ Hereford battle, of which he is my first member.
I have several more exmples of heraldry from this particular battle within Edward's army, so he will be joined soon by de Bohun and co.


The tankard. Ralph de Monthermer, earl of Hertford (and later of Gloucester). There is some interesting blurb on the back about his life, how he was imprisoned by Edward I for secretly marrying his daughter, Joanna, etc.

Slightly dark photo. His arms are Or, eagle displayed vert armed and langued gules. Why is green such an uncommonly used colour in heraldry?

Slightly better photo (?)

The other side. Astute viewers may have noticed that I tried to copy the details of the tankard picture, not just the heraldry, by giving him a sword in his right hand, for example. Fireforge Games parts made up the figure again.

The yellow here is a basecoat of GW Iyanden Darksun over a black undercoat. This was then washed with GW Gryphonne Sepia, then ID painted on again and highlighted with increasing amounts of GW Skull White and some old GW Sunburst Yellow. These colours all have equivalents in their latest range of paints. I have not highlighted this figure quite as strongly as I did with Pennington, as I wanted some variety within the same colour to show different wear and tear, inexact dye recipes, etc.


  1. Very attractive figures, and nice source material!


    1. Cheers Matt. The figures are taking a while, but I enjoy painting heraldry. I will, sooner or later, have to paint some broing commoners I guess.....


  2. He look great and a great little background story too!

    1. Cheers Ray. And the story is true! I used to have a mug with Humphrey de Bohun on it in the same format, but, and this is true too, I smashed it in a temper when arguing with my late mum many years ago! I have a weird recollection for such inanities.