by martin davis artist
Spent the last few weeks researching ready to start my commission for the bi-centenary of the rising (see last couple of posts). I discovered quite a lot really. One of the main things I learned (as an artist rather than amateur historian)is that it is remarkably easy to get too interested in the subject matter and get carried away by the research for it’s own sake – hence the 2 weeks flying by!
The nice people at Pentrich & South Wingfield Revolution Group gave me my subject – in my case a depiction of the Alfreton revolutionaries on the night of 9th June 1817. So what I really needed was some kind of visual reference to the town of Alfreton circa 1817 that would be recognised today. Anyway after a good deal of talking to Wendy & Rachel at the Heritage Centre (thanks to them) and the regulars of The Miners Arms (cheers lads)about what the town looked like then, what was the road system like, what route would a bunch of reluctant revolutionaries take to get to nearby Butterley and where in the town would they start from? (everyone has a theory)I realised that most of it was gone and what was left wouldn’t necessarily be the best place to start a march on the govt from.
So I am going to have to employ a good deal of imagination and artistic licence – could’ve saved myself a lot of time. I’ve decided to show the figures from the feet up, you know like one of those worms eye views of the world from ground up to the sky. The painting will show a ragged bunch of men (looking upwards at them!)with a couple of well-known local landmarks – the Moot Hall and Angel Hotel I think – and the turnpike milestone to ID the place as Alfreton. Most of the rest of the pic will be taken up by an array of home made weapons being waved against the evening sky.
And that’s it – the result of 2 weeks deep thought and cogitation. I’ll keep you posted with progress, even a few pictures. Have a look at this one for starters. it really is starters!