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The Spectre of Brave Alonzo

A sculpture of a ghostly knight by contemporary artist Stuart Pearson Wright has gone on display in the Museum’s armoury.

Clad in recreation medieval armour and chain mail, the skull of Brave Alonzo stares out, a vision returned from the dead for his revenge. The sculpture itself, although realistic, is made mostly from ceramic, steel and fibreglass, with details in ink and acrylic.

The title of this sculpture comes from a short story in the early Gothick novel The Monk by Matthew Lewis (1796).

The artist spoke about it in a 2013 interview: "It’s a funny little story about the inconstancy of love. Alonzo the knight goes off to fight in Palestine. His fiancée swears to remain true to him even if he dies. She adds ‘If e’er I by lust or wealth led aside, forget my Alonzo the Brave, God grant, that to punish my falsehood and pride, your Ghost, at the Marriage may sit at my side’. And of course that is exactly what happens, he dies, and then he turns up at her wedding, clad in armour with a skeletal face: ‘The worms They crept in, and the worms, They crept out. And sported his eyes and his temples about’. He takes her back to hell. I’m not sure why I found the image of a knight with a skeletal face so compelling, but I made four pieces of work based on the story; a painting, sculpture, drawing and an etching."

There is also a film showing the artist completely dressed in armour, stumbling about a wood. The helmet, a carefully detailed copy of a type of helmet called a hounscull bascinet (because it resembles the snout of a hound), was made by a professional armourer.

Stuart Pearson Wright is best known for his meticulously painted portraits, including those of the HRH the Duke of Edinburgh, and J.K.Rowling.

6 November 2015

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