I grew up reading Jean Plaidy novels, something of which I am unashamed. I was (and still am i guess) is an Anne Boleyn Fan Girl.  I was kind of obsessed on the whole Tudor thing. English history is cool, Tudor History is best.

One of the painters who was my first inspiration was Hans Holbein the Younger.


So one of the things i always strove to be able to paint ok were Tudor or Elizabethan portraits.  I’m really extraordinarily fond of a good renaissance portrait.  This is why I started doing portraits, cause i knew I’d not be able to do my own.

One of my earliest attempts is below. I’ve got the hands totally the wrong proportion and it’s clumsy – but it’s a good start, i would have done this when I was an undergrad. This is Salome, and no that is NOT a picture of the evil ex, despite the beard (forgive the bad photo, I don’t have a lot of good photos of my older stuff!)


Then i started working with thin oils directly applied to white canvas for a bit, and did a version of ‘The Ambassadors’. I deliberately made the skull the right shape rather than splayed out. And I added in a Tardis.



Tudors can come in any guise. I was watching ‘The Tudors’ recently (despite the howling historical inaccuracies, i really loved it. So much casual boobage, my goodness! Though most of the girls were in Elizabethan, not Tudor, and the blokes didn’t wear hats enough!).

The picture below is called ‘The New Manager’ and was painted in response to  a certain team’s reaction at getting a new manager. See how everyone is looking uneasy. But they are all in full Henry VIII outfits! That was fun. The guy in the back left is only in his chemise.


I have attempted my version of Henry in oils, I’m kind of pleased how this turned out. Painting pearls and jewellery – there is an art to it. I’m still working it out.


And of course, you can’t have a Henry VIII without an Anne Boleyn. She’s got her blackwork embroidery, her jewellery, and her slightly boggled eyes. I like the way she turned out.

anne boleyn small

This one is an evil galactic overlord. You may go ‘where is the Tudor in THIS’ but hey. It’s of course the Ditchley Portrait!  Duh. Just with a tentacled alien instead of Elizabeth I!



Elizabethan is an excellent source of material to clothe characters in. Below is “The CEO and Sons”. I wanted to make them formal, they got Elizabethan cuts outfits and hats and the fox.


I did this painting as I was in the mood to do an Elizabethan Nobleman. The fact it turned out looking almost exactly like my friend Lucus is a massive fluke – I barely knew him at the time! This was also one of the first paintings I did in water soluble oils – there is another picture under this one with him in acrylics, and my goodness it was ass. I hated it. I left it behind the couch for ages thinking to chuck it, then when I got the new paints, I went over it and repainted it and it worked a treat.


Then there is what happens in artists studios…I was watching Simon Sharma’s history of art, the Caravaggio episode, when I did this one. You like the nice female nude model?  the little guy on the front right I was never happy with but eh.


Lots of drawings and doodlings get inspired by Elizabethan too. Colin the Weevil, and a picture I drew during a conference call at work (everyone sat and watched me draw it). No I dont know why he has that on his head. Is it a hat? Or a real animal? Goodness knows.

insects eating lute

There are the pictures of people I do know:

DSC00040 conrad painting

The self portrait done when i was unemployed back in the 90s (I should have first marked up the writing  on the right so it didn’t droop! darnit). Not sure of it’s success but its’ the only self portrait I’ve ever tried. They eyebrows are right at any rate.


And finally, art on fabric, by which i mean embroidery. I have been an on again/off again member of the Society of Creative Anachronism (SCA) for a large number of years. It’s basically an excuse to costume and do cool stuff. I really really got into Tudor (Elizabethan) costuming there for a bit.

I spent 5 years embroidering a silk jacket with little flowers and bugs and things. 5 years of stitching away during roleplaying on a Sunday night, in a Runequest game.  I made up the jacket pattern myself, then embroidered each panel one by one, then popped it all together. I don’t have a good picture of me in it, unfortunately, it’s pretty darn sweet on. For those interested, it’s mostly chain stitch filling.

DSC00672 back view jacket

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Then there are the glove gauntlets, the partlets, the ruffs, the fans, the bags, the sleeves, the bodices, and the caps. Mirror surrounds, wall hangings, and pictures. All designed and hand embroidered, usually, to be fair, when i had essays due or I was studying, or I was watching Star Trek. All these things one needs to be in the SCA! Seems a pity that since I’ve gone back to some things, I’ve gone a bit earlier period (late medieval). It’s way, way, waaaaaaaaay more comfortable to wear. 🙂

DSC00688 DSC00686 DSC00670 blackwork DSCN2515 digital 027assisi bag bodice close up left coif close up DSC00200 DSC00669 DSC00684 DSC00690 DSC00693 DSC02009 evil fan

And thus concludes my trip down the Tudor Lane.

No wait, one more embroidery.