This was my first trip up to Sword and Lance, but it’s probably one of the longest running shows in the UK, and I know a few people who had been before and enjoyed it, so Martin and I took a wee jaunt up from Ely. We’re quite pleased that we did.
So, pictures first:
I only had four entries (although one of those entries was, to be fair, fifteen ducks) and walked away with two golds (the pirate bust and the ducks) and a silver (the Occitan knight), and best of miscellaneous (the ducks). I was mostly pleased that not only did people ‘get’ the ducks, but that they really liked them. That’s probably the most gratifying part of the whole thing.
Martin, meanwhile, brought everything he’d painted for the last six years and got lots of golds, and I think a silver and a bronze. He also got best of fantasy and best of historical. I doubt he’ll shut up about this show for the next couple of years.
Anyway, here’s how the ducks were presented (and they’ll be much the same for Salute next week, albeit with a couple of missing plaques in place):
So, the show itself:
- Darlington seems to be a really nice town. It’s actually a bit of a shame that the show isn’t more popular, because there are a lot of cool pubs, bars and restaurants around, and there would be plenty for people to do. It’s also quite pretty, at least from what we saw.
- The show is reasonably small – probably 150-200 entries in total from about 30-40 painters (disclaimer: I’m quite terrible at estimating things like this).
- It’s what I’d call a ‘community show’ rather than one of the big super-competitive shows like Euro, SMC, etc. It’s more about having a bunch of people around who all like painting and giving them prizes. For people who are new to the show circuit, it would be a really good entry point because it’s not too stressful or competitive.
- The whole show was very convenient except for the four-hour drive each way. The town has lots of hotels, lots of pubs and bars (and I mean lots), good restaurants, etc., and the show venue had plenty of parking for £1 for the day.
I’ll almost certainly be back next year if it doesn’t clash with Herzog von Bayern. This year it only clashed with Euroma, which is a show I’d like to head to one day, but that’ll be a task for a year when I don’t have quite so much on.