I have today finished my portrait of Rupert Brooke, an English poet, who died during the First World War. He is famous for writing five War Sonnets, including The Soldier and I have hand stitched a section of this poem around the map of the World, as British soldiers died and were buried across the World.
“If I should die, think only this of me:
That there’s some corner of a foreign field
That is forever England…”
I have also chosen to include a section of an earlier poem also in this portrait. The poem is called The Beginning, a poem which I have always found moving. Below you can see a close-up of Rupert’s tie, which I hand stitched the poem onto.
Within the portrait, there are elements of symbolism: the olive leaves to represent the olive grove where Rupert was buried in Skyros; the lilac flowers and leaves which play part of the setting in The Old Vicarage, Grantchester; hollyhocks were found in a photograph of Rupert whilst he was convalescing and the yellow hibiscus flowers symbolise the poem Tiare Tahiti.
The portrait is now to be framed and I have started to plan my portrait of Wilfred Owen, as I aim to create a series of portraits of First World War Poets. I am looking forward to working on his portrait as he spent many years living in Shrewsbury, where I come from and it will be interesting to research his background as well as read again through his poems.