A matter of perspective

With Cromwell basically done, the base is now also taking shape, as you can see:

As I’d feared, there’s a slight issue with the bench obstructing him from the front, but I’m hoping that will be at least slightly mitigated when I attach the plaque. Normally, I’d put that on the plinth, but in this instance the swath of black is a touch too distracting, so I’ll put the plaque there. This has the added benefit of keeping all of the narrative elements in roughly the same space: Cromwell’s face looking down at the mace, and then the eye can carry on down to the plaque. That’s the plan, anyway.

As you’ll also note, the mace isn’t in place yet, either. I’ve been looking at pictures of the Speaker’s Mace and comparing it to the mace in the painting, and it looks like it was a slightly more primitive (read: less embellished) mace during Cromwell’s time. That suits me fine, as I’m not particularly adept at building extremely fiddly things. I get a bit of a tremor as soon as I need to do anything too fine with glue, which usually doesn’t work out well.

Anyway, you’ll note the carpet under the bench is decorated with fleurs-de-lys, which I decided to do to both add some extra interest and to embed some extra narrative. Essentially, it’s another sign of Cromwell’s opposition: the fleur-de-lys is a symbol of both the English monarchy and the Catholic church, both things that Cromwell was not terribly keen on (hence the civil war, regicide, and atrocities in Ireland). This is similar to the sort of thing that portrait painters used to do (and still do in some senses), in that symbols are placed around the subject in order to express something about that person, regardless of whether the object acting as a symbol was actually there.

It’ll probably annoy absolute historical purists, because I have little doubt that there was no carpet there at the time, and I suspect there wouldn’t have been fleurs-de-lys on it even if it had been there. Doing a piece like this has more in common with traditional portraiture than war photography, though, so I’m really not too concerned if elements like this are inaccurate when they (I hope) add to the narrative. Feel free to accuse me of playing fast and loose with history, of course – I’m sure the floor of the houses of parliament will appreciate the defence.

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