Print No. 12, as yet untitled

Gawain stands in the Green Chapel. His elaborate armour was cleaned of rust and polished back at Fair Castle, but now it’s further transforming with burgeoning engravings of foliateness and a constellation of stars emerging on his breastplate.


He reaches toward his helmet, removed in order to take the Green Knight’s blow, and out of which greenery is spewing.

IMG_1997Gawain has fulfilled the oath made a year ago in Camelot. He’s knelt before the Green Knight and submitted to his axe, but has escaped with nothing worse than a parting of the flesh at the back of his neck.

He’s staunched the wound with what he had to hand. Throughout the series of images items have fluttered upwards: pennants, cloaks and helmet plumes, and now the girdle secretly gifted to him by the Lady of Fair Castle streams out, an embroidered stand-in for what might so easily have been his life’s blood.



These stencils have been the most complicated to date, mainly because of all the background filigree work, duplicated on four layers. Now I await the first proofs from Daniel Bugg at Penfold Press.

6 thoughts on “Print No. 12, as yet untitled

  1. Clive, as you know I’m lucky enough to have your earlier collage ‘The Greening of Gawain’ hanging in my home, so I am sure you will understand how much these glimpses of the twelfth print in the series resonate with me.

    One of the reasons I was drawn to the earlier collage is because of your wonderful re-imagining of this point in the poem, which has always seemed an entirely apt interpretation to me, even though the “greening” of Gawain is not in the poem. At the time, you wrote, “My need to ‘foliate’ Gawain is an intuitive response to what happens when he rides to his destiny at the mossy chapel where the story reaches its dramatic climax. Gawain with the first bright sprigs of an emerging ‘greening’ on his cheek, seems to me to bring the tale full circle. The baton passed on.”

    In the stunning images you have posted here, we can see that Gawain has survived his supreme ordeal and now appears to be lost in a moment of introspective solitude, whilst his armour becomes foliate. The line of poetry that is running through my head, in response to this image, is “Annihilating all that’s made/To a green thought in a green shade” from “The Garden” by the great 17th century metaphysical poet Andrew Marvell. I can’t think of a Hicks-Jenkinsian touch that is more perfect for this print series, as it draws to its close, than to provide nature as a balm to soothe the troubled mind of our young hero. As you so ably demonstrate the uses of enchantment are manifold!

  2. All this preparation can only enhance the final print. It looks like it will be stunning and the first stencil looks like a study for a stained glass window. I love the way you draw.
    As a ps I am working through Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem and you were right about girding the loins but it is good reading!!

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