“I know I have the body of a weak, feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too, and think foul scorn that Parma or Spain, or any prince of Europe, should dare to invade the borders of my realm; to which rather than any dishonour shall grow by me, I myself will take up arms, I myself will be your general, judge, and rewarder of every one of your virtues in the field. I know already, for your forwardness you have deserved rewards and crowns; and We do assure you on a word of a prince, they shall be duly paid.”
That was perhaps the most famous words uttered by the first Queen Elisabeth, in front of her troops while expecting the Spanish armada in 1588, wearing a plumed helmet and a steel cuirass over a white velvet gown. What a scene that would have been to see!
We went to Tilbury by train on a very nice and sunny day. We have never been out that way before; Tilbury was the fort that defended the mouth of the river Thames, and London. It was built in the 14th and 15th Centuries, and the Tudors shaped it the most. It wasn´t demobilized until 1950, and now it is a museum in the care of English Heritage. It´s quite a way out from London, and I was surprised to see so many visitors there, particularly young girls and young families. It´s a real gem, though. Lots of space to run around and nothing terribly precious.
I tried to relax with the pen in hand, defying the impulse to try and see it all. I´d like to learn to just sit down and work the scene onto paper without thinking about time or anything else. Looking at my drawings now – from the entire vacation, really – I find much fault, and either I was still in too much of a hurry, or I have become a better sketcher since. Possibly it´s a little bit of each. I think most, if not all these photos were taken by the husband.