Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Highly Probable and Quite Likely Tale of Billy Wobbledagger

Well, it's been quite a time recently. Holidays and family get togethers. The season is warming up here and social get togethers are on the rise again. Ahhh, distractions. Wonderful, but as always there is time to art. As you may or may not know (and if you don't why not!!! Pay attention ! LOL!) I have had a few projects on the go but haven't had them quite completed to show you. One is finally completed so it's time to post. It was one of the projects that had me caught up in research and distractions as oft happens. As you know from previous posts, (Just nod and agree... It's easier for us both) I have been buried in poetry and renaissance arts recently. The upshot of all this...
I have written a wee rhyme about a bloke named Bill, you may have heard of him. He wrote the occasional piece of prose and one or two fairly good plays. Of course that meant incorporating it into a piece of art. Hence the headaches from a previous post. Details, it's all about the details. However... drum roll please maestro... tada , it is finished.

The Highly Probable and Quite Likely Tale, of Billy Wobbledagger.

(Stunning title, I know!)

And to the rhyme, (for I don't believe it could ever fall into any more serious sounding category!)

Young Bill would oft regale his friends with tales of love and woe,
Of kings and things and faeries that did amuse them so.
His friends and family laughed and cried and encouraged him to go,
Saying "Bill the Globe is all the rage for putting on a show".
One day the Queene came calling as Bill's fame began to grow,
She'd come to see the actors as into character they did flow.
The common folk did gape and stare from the crowded floor below,
They'd never seen so close before, Red Lizzie's royal glow.
Now at first she did but titter, and then albeit slow,
An enormous laugh began to rock Red Lizzie to and fro.
And at the last her Maj arose to clap and cheer, "Bravo",
"That Bill", she said, "I think he has the makings of a pro".
And so young Bill, his future sealed and very rightly so,
Forever more known as 'The Bard', that rocked the royal toe.

Awe struck are you not, LOL!

Okay, okay, I had a wee brain melt down but decided that should make for art as well as the usual stuff one does.
After all everything is grist isn't it.

The piece isn't as far fetched as it may first seem. Shakespeare was member of the Lord Chamberlains Men, a group of players who performed for the Lord Chamberlain and were retained for the courts amusement. Shakespeare himself acted and wrote for the company and also shared in the profits from their theatrical performances. In the days prior to the troops purchase of the Globe there is proof of Shakespeares performance before Queen Elizabeth and her court in and around London in the public records of the Treasurer to the Royal Chamber.

So now for the arty bit. Of course it's all about Bill, err, Shakespeare of course.
So here's the piece.

Now remember I was a card carrying member of a medieval society. So to take on a different tact, here's a recreation of a medieval velvet doublet as worn in Shakespeares time. Sleeves were of course an optional extra of the times and instead of being sewn in were tied into the base clothing piece for men and women. I couldn't get the arrangement I wanted with a sleeve as well, so the doublet is sans sleeve.

The doublet is scaled down of course to fit the canvas board (12" x 16"). Underneath reproductions of Shakespeares first folio productions from Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, Richard II and the Sonnets. (All favs, but I love them all really especially that Scottish Play and Hamlet). The doublet is all hand made no machine sewing anywhere. The trims are all couched by hand (that means sewn on in an authentic period style of attachment for anyone not into medieval dress making) and the button loops are also fashioned and attached by hand. Not as hard as one would imagine and I have had lots of practice now though. Included in the piece a fabulous old book cover from 1885 with a beautiful gilt WS on the front cover that I found in a local bookstore and couldn't pass up. (Okay it isn't from 1600 ish but then who owns a book from then with the initials WS that you're gonna chop up for art???) Also included a couple of feather quills I also fashioned by hand according to period methods and dipped in ink to look like Will could have just left them lying there. Boy that's a whole other story that one. Feather quills, what a hassle, who knew?

Here's a close shot of the gilt on the book cover. It's a little over exposed here but then it's gilt, lots of glare and crappy photography skills.

So sue me, LOL!

Beautiful writing.

Inside the book cover a copy of the rhyme for posterity, and because I like the humorous element to add to the story.
I fancy Shakespeare had a good sense of humour and wouldn't mind me taking the mickey out of him.

It's typed in as close to an authentic font as I could get, my calligraphy isn't that good, on the oldest paper I had.
The paper is from 1835. I have reproduced at the top and bottom of the page decorative elements as they actually appeard in the publications of the works from the first folio.

So there you have it. A little bit of Bill, as I like to call him. Actually in researching Shakespeare I found out quite a few interesting facts and stories. Who knows how true they are. Shakespeare it seems had a wicked sense of humour as well as wit. One story goes that a lady fell in love with one of Shakespeares comtemporaries, Richard Burbage, when she saw him play Richard III on stage and begged him to come to her chambers that night under the name of King Richard. Shakespeare apparently overheard the proposition and as a joke, left the theatre early to take Burbage's place. Apparently he was at it when a message arrived to say that Richard the third was at the door.
Shakespeare apparently replied that "William the conqueror" came before Richard III.
Now tell me that's not a man who can take a good joke, LOL!
Will, you kill me!

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MrCachet said...

Crap. I knew I should have used London. It was a tossup - I went with Paris. Oh well. It's in the mail, oh Queen.

La Dolce Vita said...

you have outdone yourself! just the page alone is spectacular and the hand stitching, well you need another post just to show us the details, cos only another hand stitcher like moi can comprehend just how much work it was! and your rhyme was sensational!!! love, love love it and will probably be back for another lookie!

~*~Patty Szymkowicz said...

WOWEE, an artist with many talents! Fab calligraphy! poem! creation!!!!

Lisa said...

You certainly have many talents lady! I love your tale.. and as a handstitcher myself I am wowed at all your detail work.. easy to get lost in it isn't it? Beautiful calligraphy... and love that last little story...

MrCachet said...

Sorry, Kim. I mistook you for someone else. Send me an email with your snail mail addy and I'll dig myself out of a hole...

Kelly Jeanette said...

Wow, what a post! Love it. It's amazing the things one learns when playacting in a medivel group. Love the little rhyme and the beautiful artwork.

Lumilyon said...

Ah! Historical re-enactments! Now you're talking my language!!! Have you read "The Lodger: Shakespeare On Silver Street" by Charles Nicholl? It's a wonderful piece of research and reconstruction of a short period of Bill's life, based on a brief mention of him, in a court record. And do I detect a Scriptorium font here? I believe that I have that one. Gorgeous, meticulous work x

alteredbits said...

awe struck indeed, my sweet friend! wow! i admire your multi-talented self! if i were to sew anything 1/10 as detailed, by hand no less, i would likely end up digitless. my fingers would be hamburger in the best case scenario. this is just gorgeous! and your rhyme is fabulous and i adore it all! this is just a great and wonderful piece, lady! and i about laughed my bum off at the last bit. love that story too!

La Dolce Vita said...

ok just had to come back and have a look see! just as gorgeous as I remember it!!! love it!

Jen Crossley said...

You are a girl of many talents wonderful girl

Marie said...

I've been away from blog land lately as I've had guests but what an inspiration to catch up with your blog today! Fantastic! Bravo, bravo!The whole Shakespearean Company stands up &applauds! Your calligraphy is so beautiful,& your poem is witty & wise. Loved your piece & all the elements. Thanks so much for sharing this. Thanks also for your comments on my blog re Modigliani.

Debrina said...

Oh me! Oh my! What amazing handiwork. You are one talented lady!!! The detail is just jaw dropping.. It makes me want to jump right into the page and hold it and smell it and wonder at it all!!

Oh, btw, I haven't forgotten you, re: the Renaissance book, but on closer inspection it turns out it was a book on Renaissance expolration. I have tons of illustrated pages on ships, "primitive peoples" and their unfriendly pursuits like cannabilism, navigation charts, etc. You still want?

alteredbits said...

i'm missing your fabulous posts, busy lady! wanted to pop by though to let you know that the zine is ever so close to hatching. monday at the latest, i think. ;)

rivergardenstudio said...

Your work is stunning... and I love the photo of the gorgeous handwriting... and I keep looking at the golden cover again and again... Roxanne

disa said...

I love it ! Very creative ! That's actually really cool Thanks.