08 December 2015

Drawing Tuesday - Agincourt display at the Wallace Collection

Here we are in the "downstairs" of the Wallace Collection with half a dozen vitrines filled with items related to a battle that, 600 years ago, marked a turning point in French-English relations. In 2006 the BBC broadcast excerpts from Juliet Barker's book about the battle, and preparations for it, and I found them unexpectedly fascinating. Of course more books have appeared this year...

So, on the last day of this temporary exhibition, we were reading in the excellently informative labels about the English being outclassed, their contingent made up mostly of longbow archers wearing "as much armour as they could afford" but needing to be light on their feet; so their armour might consist only of a mail collar to cover the chest. They were pushed forward by the armoured men on horseback behind them, and everyone got involved in hand to hand combat. The French had crossbowmen, but they were moved to the rear and played no part in the battle. The French combatants all wore full armour ... but the field was muddy, and instead of offering advantage, their armour encumbered them. 

That's a gross oversimplification, of course, but it's time to cut to the chase: a sample of the artifacts, and of course the drawings.
Skullcap helmet worn by archers: its flat sides didn't impede drawing the bow. "In the press of
battle, archers had to be ready to fight with hand weapons"

Visored bascinet ("the shape of the visor made it extremely difficult for arrows to
penetrate the face") and modern replica of a breastplate, c.1400

"This replica has been repeatedly shot in experiments carried out
by the Wallace Collection, using a longbow with a draw weight of 100 lbs."

Gauntlets decorated with the word "amor" on the brass around
the wrists and wigglework nearer the knuckles

Laurence Olivier in the film of the play. The curator of armour at the
Wallace Collection ensured the accuracy of  his garb

Joyce, using watercolour pencil ...

... which brings the horseman to life

Visored bascinets by Cathy and Janet B

If there's a horse, Janet B will be drawing it!

Marina captured one of the 18th-century statues in the vicinity
A statue of similar vintage by Sue, who waited till she got home before
 adding water to the soluble graphite

Sue's well-dressed man at arms - shot proof armour for light cavalry, mid-17th century

Sword and helmet by Cathy

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