Sunday, September 30, 2012

Character sketch for Elizabeth the First of G. Britain. Did a bunch of different studies of the Queen for "The Pirate Meets the Queen", a book I wrote and illus.d for Phylomel/Penguin&Putnam back in 2003. The Pirate in the title is Granwuaile O'Malley or Granny, Cheiftainess of the O'Malleys in Co. Claire, Ireland. The British were squeezing the old Celts and their system of rule out of Ireland, hence, Granny's attempts to maintain her people by attacking British merchant ships off the west coast of Ireland got her the title of pirate in British reports to the Crown.  The Celtic word for the British usurpers was "Sassanach" (sass-eh-nak), derived from the tribal delineation "Saxon" but could also generally mean outsider or foreigner. The O'Malley's took a particularly nasty beating from the British (burning villages, destroying crops, killing cattle, rape, whipping at the crossroads, the usual) and afterward referred to the hated Queen of Britain as "Red Liz". I thought a leaner looking Liz helped convey this point of view.
In '98, '99 and then again in '01 I made trips to sites related to Granny in Ireland and to London to view paintings of Liz in the National Portrait Gallery. Pencil, 2002. 

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