Wednesday, 28 April 2010

New Website

I have spent the day finishing off my website (interrupted at one point by the Speaker of the House of Commons turning up on the doorstep). Got the new site uploaded just now. There is room for incremental improvement and expansion, but in general I'm happier with the slicker, simpler and more specialist nature of the new-look . I decided to keep the name, obscure and made-up as it is, as I've used it in a number of places besides online (including this blog) and may as well stick with it. I was worried I had too many sections in the previously thematic portfolio, meanwhile, so I've redone it grouped by medium.

Monday, 26 April 2010

AA come down!

The AA are trialling rocket packs. The future is here:

Sunday, 25 April 2010


An old drawing of Leonidas (the Spartan king) which I've started to colour. I'm still undecided whether to go with the enclosed Corinthian helmet from the original drawing or to go with a helmet showing more of the face.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Gordon Napier History Blog

My plan is to remake my website as a site entirely about my art and illustration work. Presently it has two front doors (so to speak), one leading to pages related to my historical interests, promoting my books and containing a number of articles and essays. I will be getting rid of the history side, in due course, and have set up a new blog for the stuff from there, and more besides. It can be found at This will solve the problem of having to direct people to the same site whether they are interested in my pictures or my other endeavours and studies. A dual purpose site seemed to suit my requirements at the time, but now I feel I'll be needing a more specialist web presence.

My history blog is at Check it out if you are interested in history- mostly medieval and ancient. I toyed with the idea of calling it Knight Writer (having mostly written about the Knights Templar) but I think I'm better off not trying to be clever.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Greenwich Revisited

Went back to Greenwich today, meeting some nice people in relation to a design job of maritime nature. Also beset by polar bears, which have seemed to crop up everywhere lately. Have to wonder how differently British history might have played out if the bear that Midshipman Nelson encountered in 1773 had been luckier or made of sterner stuff. (The young Nelson was part of an arctic exploration mission, and had an encounter with such a creature, which was later immortalized by painter Richard Westall).

Monday, 5 April 2010

18th Century Agony Aunt

After I finish off the Lady of Shalott, I was thinking I might do some more paintings of literary heroine types, such as Tess of the D'Urbervilles, Juliet, Lorna Doone, or Cathy from Wuthering Heights. Another I thought of doing was Bess the Landlord's Daughter from the poem 'The Highwayman' by Alfred Noyes.

I only discovered this melodramatic ballad relatively recently, and it appeals to my romantic side. I did think the lass's self-destruction was a little rash, though (futile, too, in the event). Someone else obviously had the same thought, as I came across this amusing parody of an agony aunt pointing out that she has other options...

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Aborted Mission.

The bad news was that I didn't get to the gathering of the clans. The good news was that we got a nice ride in a break-down truck. It seems my car's coil is feeling its mortality.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

The Lady of Shalott and Melancholy Maidens.

As well as working on several commissions, I'm in the middle of a personal piece, a largeish oil painting of the Lady of Shalott, from Tennyson' enigmatic poem. The enchanted lady lives in a tower adjacent to Camelot. She is under a curse preventing her from beholding or engaging with the real world. She can only see it in a mirror pointed at the window, and sits weaving the reflected images. However when Sir Lancelot rides by she turns and sees for real, and the curse comes upon her. She goes out and finds a boat, and drifts down the river, but is dead by the time she arrives at Camelot. This poem struck a chord with the Preraphaelites, and other romantic Victorian painters, most notably J. W. Waterhouse, who created at least three different takes on the topic.

On the subject, I've made a new Youtube slideshow featuring some of my melancholy/romantic maidens done over the course of the last decade or so. This can be checked out on my Youtube page.