The first three studies from the Court of Queen Mab were large-scale pastel drawings on black paper - there’s also an as-yet-unposted fourth large-scale pastel drawing depicting Queen Mab herself that I need to finish off eventually (which, counter-intuitively means it will become number six in the mini-series).
But for these two studies of captives/servants I decided to switch to photography, not least because the poses would have been hell to hold for two hours, even with breaks every thirty minutes.
The full size versions can be viewed at:
One of the paradoxes within Shelley’s poem is that Queen Mab vehemently criticises monarchs and the institution of monarchy on several occasions, which seems a bit ironic considering her title. Her own title led me to think about injustice and hierarchy within her court, which is how these images were conceived.
They depict a figure who is a captive, a servant, or a slave. Not reclining and aristocratic, but cowering.
I did some early sketches back in September and October. In the set from September the slave figure was wearing a white ruff (just as the courtiers and queen do in the pastel drawings), and the figure was only differentiated by their pose and lack of horns/antlers.
My friend Tash who was life-modelling for the second set of sketches suggested instead that bells might be more suitable as there are folktales of bells being associated with faeries - either heralding their appearance or being a defence against them.
And so I strung some small brass-like cowbells on a rope, and it became a prisoner’s collar. Interestingly to me, someone on social media commented on it looking a bit like a Celtic torc, which is probably exaggerated by the ashen-grey body paint and green body markings. I am very pleased with this serendipitous resemblance.
Other blog posts on the Studies from the Court of Queen Mab:
- First three studies from the Court of Queen Mab (September 2021)
- More on the Court of Queen Mab (August 2021)
- The Court of Queen Mab (August 2021)
There’ll probably be one more blog post on this subject when I finally finish the large-scale pastel drawing depicting Queen Mab.