This drawing is for my wife, whose extraction traces into the mist-veiled marshes of Pictland, and who thought it would be a hoot to have a picture of herself cast as a sort-of mythic warrior princess. For an example, she showed me a hand-coloured engraving by Theodor de Bry which was published in 1590 in an illustrated edition of A Brief and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia, by Thomas Heriot. I thought the engraving was marvelous, and wanted straight away to do an homage to it. De Bry’s engravings were based on a number of watercolours by John White, whose vision of the ancient Picts is about 5% history, and 95% imagination — but what a fun fabrication he came up with! While my version of his “true picture” is still complete fantasy, I did do away with White’s griffon-heads and star-pasties and instead tattooed my model with a mixture of genuine Pictish symbols, iron-age Celtic ornament, and some Scythian bits and bobs.
De Bry’s engraving can be seen here: [link]
John White’s watercolour is here: [link]