Clive Hicks-Jenkins | Maquettes Reunited
Articulated Sir Gawain maquette made as preparatory material for the Penfold Press 'Sir Gawain and the Green Knight ' print series.
These articulated, two-dimensional maquettes… rather like painted versions of the shadow-puppets used by the great animator Lotte Reiniger… have evolved as my compositional aids in the studio. They also serve at the outset of any project as the ‘playtime’ that gets me exploring and into the spirit of things. Decisions get made in them that would be difficult to reach a conclusion on were I to face the choices head on. They simplify my ideas and prevent them from becoming too complicated by concentrating on shape and form. They help me find the subject.
The maquettes seen above were delivered to the Grosvenor Museum in Chester at the start of the first lockdown for a Sir Gawain exhibition that had been in preparation for nearly two years. The curators proceeded with the hanging of the prints and the display of maquettes because at that time there was no real sense of how long the disruption might last. Little did we know quite how bad things were to get.
The exhibition was extended so that people had a larger window of opportunity to see the show during the limited opening hours. When eventually the exhibition came down, the maquettes twice went into storage, and it's only recently that they've returned to me. I'd forgotten quite how large they are. Gawain is 60 cm in height, and his horse, Gringolet is about 90 cm long. The figures played a huge part in my work as I started on the Gawain project.
Although I spent a lot of time creating the Gringolet maquette, in the end his appearance in the prints was more schematic and less characterful than he looks here, because that's the way things turned out. But much was learned along the way of making him, so I can see he may yet have a compositional use for me on another project.