Saturday, March 31, 2018

Paint Table Saturday: Back from Africa

I had hoped to have finished my Carthaginian war elephant crew by now but, unfortunately I had to work abroad for two weeks earlier this month and when I got back I had picked up a very nasty bug which has left me with a headache, sore throat and cough.  I have had it for over ten days now and it is very tiring.  Nothing to do, therefore but catch up on all the TV I recorded while I was away, including one of my favourites, Repair Shop, which the Old Bat declares is literally watching paint dry.  She claims I would be better off going upstairs to watch the paint dry on the bedroom walls as at least I would then get some exercise too.  I love Repair Shop, of course, because I have no ability to do anything with my hands but these people can do anything. 

Anyway, yesterday and this morning I have got the flesh tones down on my elephant crew, having assembled the figures yesterday.  I have even done the shading on the mahouts, or whatever Carthaginians called them.  The Punic language did survive the fall of Carthage and may have even hung on until the time of the Muslim conquest of North Africa but being a Semitic language, as well, it was likely absorbed at this time.  I am also working on the skin tones of a half dozen Perry Afghan tribesmen (as they share a similar palate) which I picked up at last year's Salute, This week I took delivery of a dozen mounted Afghans, which I will need for my force for The Men Who Would be Kings.  I need another eight, so will get three packs at Salute in two weeks time, hopefully.

There was a flurry of emails between myself and Gaborone earlier in the month. We had just won a tender to do some government training in Botswana and the government there had fixed the dates without telling us.  'We'll have a briefing meeting here on Sunday' said our local man.  What?  This was Tuesday!  We tried to get them to delay a week but they couldn't.  Barely time to sort out my washing and ironing, get my Malaria tablets (you probably don't need them at this time of year but I wasn't risking it!) and finish my slides.  Off to the airport on Saturday afternoon.  Shockingly, on the last couple of BA flights I have taken, there have been lots of attractive young ladies working as cabin crew.  Where were all the camp men in dodgy short sleeved shirts?  Where were all the fifty something old boilers who appeared to have escaped from doctor's surgery reception?  'You want a drink, why?'  No, just lightly fragrant young women with amazingly complex hairstyles (do British Airways have new hair design clinics?) enhancing the whole flight.  Lovely.

Travelling is, of course, a series of stress points for me, which means as soon as I pass one the next one is looming. Will I remember everything for my packing ? (no, I forgot my shirt collar stiffeners and my USB plug).  I have a list to ensure I don't forget things but I can't remember where I put it). Will I get to the airport on time? Hope there are no problems on the M25. Will I get on the plane early enough to get my bag stowed in the overhead locker? This is an increasing problem. The number of young women who have a drag-a-bag, a back pack and a vast handbag is starting to annoy me (Me? Annoyed? Surely not).  That's three bags, bitches. One bag.  You are supposed to have one, unless you put the others under the seat in front, which they never do. No, they put them in the overhead locker, next to each other, rather than on top of each other, so they can constantly get at their hand lotion, lip balm, hair brush, eye drops etc. etc. during the flight.  Then. of course, in the morning (it's an eleven hour overnight flight) they all take bags of toiletries into the washrooms.  People are desperate for the loo, women, they can't wait for you to pretty yourself up for landing.  Get a bloomin' move on!  Grr!  At least there were no screaming babies in the cabin (they should have to go in the hold, like dogs). When we land it is a race to passport control to avoid queuing, as I try and count off people I pass.  Will they accept my passport?  It's in a bad state now, at the end of its life and often attracts negative comments from bored immigration staff.  Annoyingly, I have to replace it this year, so will just miss a new blue one, with all its inherent promise of sending a gunboat if Johnny Foreigner kicks up.  At least mine won't be made by the French, I suppose.

The late departing flight kept me stressed the whole way, as it gradually became clear that we were going to miss our connecting flight. Lovely blonde stewardess, with tiny braids set around the back of her head, told me to ask the ladies as we got off the plane and thankfully a South African lady was waiting with my replacement boarding pass for a flight three hours later.  At least I could recover in the nice lounge for a few hours.  SA Express had much better cabin service than Air Botswana, which we were supposed to have flown on. They managed to served lots of drinks and proper snacks on the fifty minute flight.  Efficient! We missed our Sunday afternoon briefing meeting, though, which meant leaving the hotel at 7.00 am the next morning.  Actually, we had to leave the hotel at 7.00 every morning, which was no joke when Botswana is two hours ahead of Britain.  It took 21 hours door to door but I was glad I was back in the Avani hotel.  The course we were giving was in another (very nice) hotel but ours had gardens and a pool and the Pool Bar which we use as our office.   The temperature varied from 25 C to 32 C over the two weeks which helped my mood too. 

Anyway, it was basically eleven days straight working, including a flight up to Francistown, Botswana's second city (population 43,000).  We did there and back in a day on another too small aircraft.  I wouldn't have minded staying there for the weekend, actually, as the training was in a nice hotel where all the accommodation was in individual, thatched lodges and the weather was like a perfect Mediterranean climate.  Indeed, we gave our course in a thatched building too, which was a first.  The locals wondered why I was taking close ups of the outside and the inside of the thatch which was, of course, to do with my recently purchased bunch of Grand Manner African huts.

The River Tati

We also stopped to have a quick look at the River Tati.  Like most rivers in Botswana it is just sand for most of the year but after a lot of rain recently (they really needed it - the first time I went in 2016 they hadn't had proper rain for three years) it actually had some water in it.   A tributary of the River Shashe,which empties into the Limpopo you can't get much more Darkest Africa than that.  Well not with easy access to a nice outdoor terrace which serves Martinis, anyway.

Francistown proudly declares itself an international airport but it became apparent, on the way back to Gaborone that evening, that, in fact, they only have two flights a day leaving from there.  Bustling it is not.  They actually have six gates there, so they were obviously planning ahead for the day when it becomes a bustling tourist and business hub.  Or perhaps the Chinese sold them an airport far bigger than they actually needed.  Surely not?

I tried to be good about not eating too much, as a buffet for every meal had the potential to be a disaster.  I did try local delicacy Mopane worms, which were served in some sort of sauce.  These aren't worms, of course, but the caterpillars of the Emperor Moth.  They had no taste at all and were rather like eating a stick with dry rot.  Very high in protein, I was told and they can form 70% of the diet or people in rural Botswana and Zimbabwe.  Personally, I much preferred the goat curry and Kudu steaks.  I also had some excellent (really, really excellent) ribs at the Bull and Bush Irish pub on St Patrick's day.  

The best meal was at an Italian restaurant owned by the Foreign Minister where I had a quite superb fillet steak.  Botswana beef is rightly famous and is exported all over the world (Norway buys a lot, apparently).  I taught the lovely (goodness me there are some lovely women in Botswana) local waitress that as she was in an Italian restaurant she should learn to say 'al sangue' not 'bleu' for correctly cooked steak.  The restaurant even had Santa Cristina chianti, which I used to drink with my particular friend Principessa I in Rome thirty years ago.  Nostalgic!

Speaking of wine, at the weekend I got invited to a South African wine tasting at another big hotel.  A large tent with about two dozen producers serving wine to a predominantly female clientele, largely dressed to the nines and tottering about (increasingly tottering as the afternoon went on) on their ridiculous high heels.  

There was a huge local derby at the football stadium, hence the dearth of men.  'Not watching the football?' increasingly relaxed ladies asked me.  'Don't like football.  Prefer wine and ladies,' I answered, truthfully.  Each group, usually three or four of them, then wanted me to try their favourite wines, as I admired their shoes, to their delight.  I have had worse afternoons.  Well, evening as well, actually, as one posse attached themselves to me for the rest of the day and compared stories of friends having been to freezing England.  Fortunately, I missed the second big freeze while I was away.

On the final night our local contact took us to the tallest building in Botswana (28 floors) which has the highest bar, the relentlessly trendy `Room50Two.  It was a wet and stormy night and the views over the city were impressive. The hills around the capital are oddly wargames like, in that they seem to spring straight up from an otherwise flat landscape.

It had been an exhausting twelve days, so I deserved a Vodka Martini (or two) and they were largely medicinal, anyway.  Later on, after our Italian dinner, I decided I needed a nightcap and to get away from my colleague, whose conversation consists entirely of reading the BBC News political headlines from his phone and then ranting about each story.  I told him that I wasn't interested in politics, didn't know the names of any of the people he was talking about and how would he like it if I read him all the headlines from The Miniatures Page every twenty minutes. Anyway, I went to the Pool Bar at our hotel. 'Hello' purrs a lovely local lady, setting her beer on my table, resting her forearms on the surface and presenting her chest assertively. 'Perhaps you would like a manicure or a pedicure?'  Well, never had that offered before.  I glanced at my fingernails, anxiously.  'Or maybe a massage?' she suggested, hopefully. I instantly realised that she had suggested a manicure or pedicure as the thought of giving me a massage was a step too far, even for cash.  She was lovely, though, as had been the one in the skintight trousers the night before.  Walking death sentences though, both of them,  Unless she really was a friendly beauty therapist.  Not in that blouse, I suspect. 'Haven't seen these types of girls in here before,' I observed to my waiter.  "Ah, it is because there are lots of Chinese staying here at the moment," he observes. I don't look very Chinese, I think. Maybe I do just have bad nails.

The next day we didn't have to leave the hotel until 3.00 pm so I spent it in the Pool Bar, writing my report and enjoying the outrageously shaped ladies by the pool who were there to organise a jazz festival at the hotel for later in the year.  Everywhere they went they were accompanied by promotional balloons, oddly.  Debbie was particularly nice and we happily shared lunch and, companionably, a plug socket for our laptops.  Safe sex, anyway, even if my fingernails remained tatty.  I had dinner in the lounge at Johannesburg so I didn't have to eat on the plane and could try to sleep from early on.  Fortunately, the two people inside me settled down for the night and didn't move for eight hours.  The man had those horrible thick, blonde hairy forearms I usually associate with Australian men but he was South African.  Wifey was rather fine, however. Across the aisle I had whining fat vegetarian woman, who complained loudly when there was no vegetarian option left when the food trolley reached us (we were in the very last row). "Did you order a special vegetarian meal?' asked yet another lovely stewardess, patiently.  Of course fat vegetarian hadn't (boy, she must eat a lot of nut cutlets.  Most vegetarians I know are thin).  She moaned about everything else too (they had run out of pretzels by the time they reached her, before this, which started her off).  She was wearing a weird looking orange puffy jacket with vertical ribs; like a lilo.  When she fell asleep she looked like a collapsed pumpkin that had been left on the front step a week after Halloween. In front of me I had Mr Elephant Man hair, whose strange wavy (and badly dyed) hair seemed to have been glued to his head in three strange asymmetrical clumps like three giant walnut whips. He was one of those people who has to open his locker every twenty minutes.  Maybe he was looking for his moisturiser.  Opposite him was Miss Nice Leggings who kept making little videos of the inside of the plane.  When she started filming the emergency exit the stewardess got anxious and asked her what she was doing.  She claimed she worked for a company that made interior sets of aircraft for films.  Hmm.   She was up and down to the locker, too, rooting around in her three bags but I didn't mind her, as she had a top that was just a bit too short when she stretched up to the locker. Anyway, back home now and, hopefully, no more overseas trips for a bit and more figure painting.

Today's rather sumptuous wallpaper is by the Polish painter Wojciech Gerson (1831-1901).  Born in Warsaw he worked and studied there most of his life, except for a two year period of study in St Petersburg.  Well known in Poland today for his landscapes and patriotic paintings, many of his works were stolen by the Germans in World War 2 and have disappeared, so often only black and white photographs remain.

Today I am listening to the annual four day Classic FM Hall of Fame, which isn't a Hall of Fame at all, of course, but a top 300.  They are up to number 164 now and I have got more than ninety of these on my iTunes; the missing ones being largely choral works as I am not a big fan of those. I usually hear one or two things during it which makes me want to add them to my collection and so far it has been Strauss' Four Last Songs and Max Bruch's Scottish Fantasy.  My mother used to love Bruch's violin concerto but I find it one of those pieces that I have just got sick of over the years.  I am the same with Beethoven's fifth and sixth symphonies, Mozart's clarinet concerto, Tchaikovsky's piano concerto and some others.  Some of the first classical pieces I got on record, when I was eight, and inherited some of my aunt's collection when she got married, like Dvorak's New World and Beethoven's 3rd I never tire of, though, so I can't work out whey some have grown stale.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Wargaming highlights of 2017

My first ACW unit

Usually I start these posts with the words "it is time for my wargames review of the year", except this year it is three months past the time for my wargames review of the year but that isn't going to stop me.  It was a poor year, in many ways, which started well then got bad and saw a late rallying right at the end (rather like Napoleon at the battle of Marengo, in fact).

Figures Painted

2016 had been a dismal year, with just 10 figures painted. 2017, however, got off to a much better start, prompted by Eric the Shed's planned anniversary Zulu War games.  As my meagre contribution I painted 32 Zulus in January to add to the 40 I had already done. I followed this up in February with 12 Perry plastic American Civil War cavalry.  March dropped to six North West Frontier British but I finished another 17 in April. In May I got another nine ACW figures, three NW Frontier British done and June saw six more NW frontier.  Then I painted nothing until November when I completed my Sikh mountain gun, which finished off my initial force for The Men Who Would Be Kings rules.  So 2017 saw a much better 78 figures completed and an unusual amount of focus with just three conflicts represented.

32 Zulu Wars
21 American Civil War
31 North West Frontier

So why the big fall off after June?  Quite simply my eyesight deteriorated so that I could no longer see properly to paint. In particular, my left eye deteriorated to the extent that I could no longer judge distance in close up work, so I could not aim the tip of my paintbrush.  I have been having laser eye surgery for some time but in November I started a four month treatment of very expensive injections into my retina and this has transformed my vision.  Then, for Christmas, my sister gave me an optivisor type thing and, having sneered at these for years, I suddenly could paint again.  I had actually reached the stage where I was about to call time on painting soldiers which would. for me, have been like giving up women or wine.  Something so incomprehensible as to make life utterly worthless.  It was so bad I was actually considering starting on model railways instead.  Best just to go to Switzerland and have an injection, I thought. Although, that said, I have spent a lot of time in Switzerland and I remember it being full of model railway shops so I would have probably abandoned the lethal injection idea and come back with a load of trains, track and little tiny naked people playing volleyball, instead.

Wargames played 

Isandlwana at the Shed (actually in Eric's kitchen, not the Shed)

A cracking start (actually I hate people who say 'a cracking start'- I am becoming offended by my own use of sixties style cliches) to the wargames year was provided by the peerless Eric the Shed and his epic all day Saturday anniversary Zulu Wars games; Isandlwana in the morning and Rorke's Drift in the afternoon, on the 22nd January, the anniversary of both battles.. After that, though, there was nothing.  I did not get down to the Shed again.   Partly this was caused by the fact that my eyesight problems have damaged my night vision and driving at night is now difficult. I hope to risk it when the evenings get a bit lighter.


Unlike Eric the Shed, I am useless at scenic items and I made no further progress on the plastic ACW buildings I started last year.  I did build and start painting the Renedra mud brick house (a truly horrible model to put together which needed trowel fulls of plastic filler). Unfortunately, I have now forgotten which colour I started to use on it, so work came to an abrupt stop.  To build an Afghan/Egyptian/Sudanese village I also picked up a number of other ready made and kit models at various shows.  I have just ordered a couple of vacuform models of houses, too, which will take me back to my Bellona days in the seventies.

I bought the very last model of Grand Manner's fortified house, which I may deploy for some medieval Hundred Years War Lion Rampant games. It is really a Scottish or Borders fort but the conical turrets will make it look more French, as will the pale ochre paint I am planning to use.  The Old Bat called it my Polly Pocket castle and said it would look better pink.  The less said about pink walls from her the better, at present.  Grand Manner, my favourite resin scenery manufacturer, are only going to be selling painted models from now on, which is disappointing.  It will be interesting to see if this gamble pays off for them.  Higher margins but less sales?

Rocks under way

More successfully, I bought a number of aquarium type rocks and started to repaint them for Lost World or Savage Core Adventures.  With more on the way I hope to have enough soon for some attempt at a scenic board for pulp games.  Next I need to stick on some 'follidge', as the annoying Terrain Tutor calls it.

To do this I bravely invested in a hot glue gun and made exactly one piece of scenery by sticking an aquarium plant on a large washer.  I haven't touched it since, though.  The Terrain Tutor did have a good tip in suggesting coating plastic plants with Games Workshop wash which  removed the shiny plastic look very well.  I now have a huge plastic crate full of plastic follidge, which I aim to start working on now it is the spring, appropriately. probably while the Old Bat watches Gardeners' World; the TV programme I detest the most.  Get a proper hobby - not grow your own dump fill!



I did attend Salute, as usual, which I didn't really enjoy for the first time, although I did enjoy the Wargames Bloggers Meet (above- I am on the far left - picture from Wargaming Girl's blog).  I've just got my ticket for this year, though!  Eric the Shed kindly gave me a lift to Colours, which I hadn't attended for a few years and I bought some scenics (the advantage of going by car not public transport).  I didn't attend the other of the three shows I usually do, Warfare in Reading, as I was on my way back from El Salvador

Lead pile and Kickstarters

Lead pile reduction didn't go so well this year and I bought over 150 figures but given I painted 78 figures the net increase could have been worse.  Some figure arrivals came through Kickstarters etc, such as the Peninsular Wars figures with the Forager rules, some more of Dark Fables Egyptian ladies and the early twentieth century Germans from Unfeasibly Miniatures.  I also got some Foundry and North Star Darkest Africa, Artizan and Perry Northwest Frontier, Perry ACW, Victrix EIR, Lucid Eye Savage Core, North Star Muskets and Tomahawks highlanders, Manufaktura slave girls and Crooked Dice female cultists, Biggest figure was Antediluvian's Retrosaurus which is also my favourite of 2017. Apart from the NW Frontier figures I didn't paint any of these because of my eye problems but hope to move some along this year.  I did sign up to the Drowned Earth Kickstater but cancelled it when I found out it really wasn't suitable for solo play.

Wargames Rules

As I said I might in my previous review, I did buy Chosen Men and The Pikeman's Lament.  Pikeman's Lament looks good (although I am still not entirely convinced about small bodies of pikemen in skirmishes) but Chosen Men was just terrible, as it couldn't work out whether it was a one to one game or not.  I sold it on, which is why it isn't in this picture.  As a result of stating my unhappiness with the latter, I was steered towards the Forager Kickstarter.  Death in the Dark Continent was a new glossier edition of some rules I had already played and, indeed, owned but I like to get rid of my old ring bound rules, as they look ugly on my bookshelves!  Battle Companies was also a glossy hardback of rules which first appeared in White Dwarf years ago.  The children and I had some great games using this in the past, so I was happy to get it all in one volume with added companies from The Hobbit.  I picked up the new supplement for Congo, even though I haven't played the rules yet but I enjoy Muskets and Tomahawks, which is by the same people.  The most interesting looking rules are Savage Core, which is very Lost Worldy and I have at least one solo scenario for.

Wargames Blogs and Facebook

My Punic Wars blog; the latest to get the widescreen treatment

I only posted 39 times on my main blog (this one) in 2017, which is the least since 2011.  Mainly, of course, because I wasn't painting very much.  I only posted on five of my other blogs too.  The number of visits is around the same as last year, averaging about 10,000 a month.  The most popular post, with 1082 views, was one of my paint table Saturday ones which also looked at the Spirit of Ecstasy sculpture, not coincidentally, I suspect.

I am still posting on Facebook, although not much about wargaming, admittedly, and now have 151 'friends', up from last year's 107.  I have only had to delete a few because of political content. Why do people assume that their politics is shared by everyone else and write as such? I have joined several more of the very useful Facebook groups; including the one for the interesting looking Rebels and Patriots rules.  I did see a post that seemed to indicate that more people were joining these than using blogs these days and certainly I now only tend to look at other people's blogs if they link to them from Facebook page.

Plans for the this year

I want to finish my Carthaginian war elephant crew and then, I think, concentrate on my Afghan Tribesmen so that I have both forces for the North West Frontier.  More ACW plastics, some Darkest Africa and maybe finish some units which are well on the way (like some of my Indian Mutiny troops).  Also Savage Core, both figures and scenery, will be a priority.

Musical Accompaniment

While writing this post I listened to the extended version of John Williams' The Lost World: Jurassic Park which has made me want to get my Retrosaurus on the go!

Saturday, March 03, 2018

Paint Table Saturday: Here's a howdah do!

A bit more of an action shot for Paint Table Saturday, as I get on with my Victrix Carthaginian war elephants.  I hope to finish the howdah's this weekend and in fact the main structures are done and varnished so they just need to be stuck on the elephants and the spear quivers adding.  I have also made a start on the crew.  There was a TV programme about Hannibal taking his elephants over the Alps this week. It was one of those ones billed as presenting 'exciting new evidence' which, as usual, had nothing of the kind, other than they found a valley that was full of horse poo from about the right period of time.  No actual proof of elephants, however.  It looks like his elephants didn't have howdahs but that would be boring (someone makes an undressed one I think).

The view from my study this week

Nice bright weather helps, today, and it is much warmer in my study,  We didn't get much snow, living in civilised Surrey, as all the exhaust fumes from the 4x4s keep the temperature up, compared with the more primitive parts of the country.  It was quite cold, though.  One morning the temperature in my study was just five degrees before I got the heaters on (my radiator packed up years ago and there is just too much stuff in front of it for a plumber to get access).  The roads were all clear ,although I did have to postpone my visit to the Charles I art exhibition at the Royal Academy yesterday evening.  Good job I did, as Waterloo station shut at 8.00pm. 

Helen of Troy versus the Styracosaurus - just what the BBC series needs to liven it up

On Thursday I had spent twelve hours editing a document for my father in law on mobile magnetic resonance scanners (some of it was a bit beyond me, I admit) so yesterday we went to the garden centre .  Now I hate garden centres, except my wife knows this one has an excellent selection of dinosaur models so she knew that if I went I would end up paying for her oasis.  Anyway, I got a nice Styracosaurus.  It's a bit bigger than it should be but not by much.  When I have finished the elephant and crew I am going to start on my Antediluvian miniatures retrosaurus, as the painting technique will be similar to an elephant.

I also got some more jungle type follidge in little pots so have been pulling it out of the polystyrene to go in my giant follidge box.  Three little pots and one big one of what looks like giant ferns, which will be ideal for The Lost World.  I even started to entertain thoughts of making it into a giant tree fern by attaching it to  a trunk. but then I had a mug of Lifeboat tea and came to my senses.  That would be far too close to actual modelling.

I did pick up another aquarium type rock and this one is full of little caves so it will be ideal as the habitat for the Lucid Eye simians for Savage Core.  I need to remove the plants and paint it to match my other rocks though.  I also ordered some more smaller rocks this week so will paint it when they arrive.

What is the appeal of watching winter sports for the Legatus?

I haven't managed much painting over the last few weeks because of the Winter Olympics (good job by the Koreans) and poor light.  I did spend far too much time watching ladies in skintight lycra skiing, sliding and skating (I didn't bother to watch most of the men's events, so as to save time).  I have more time to catch up on my TV backlog, now, although new series of Nashville and Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.LD start this week.  I haven't seen the second episode of Troy: Fall of a City (I wonder what happens in the end?) yet and the third is on tonight.  Tonight, the Old Bat will want to watch The Voice so I might finish assembling the Carthaginian crew for the elephants.

The reading girl (1886), Roussel

Today's wallpaper demonstrates one of the easiest things to get a model to do, while she endures the tedious process of being captured on paper or canvas, which is to let her read a book. The fact that she is concentrating on a book also distances her from the viewer. There is no opportunity to engage the viewer directly, as her gaze is elsewhere. It adds a voyeuristic quality to the picture. This painting, by French born, but London based, artist Théodore Roussel, is a marvellous composition. Irish painter William Orpen called it the finest nude painting of the time, although its realism shocked many due to its lack of classical justification for the nudity.  The art critic of The Specator wrote:."Our imagination fails to conceive any adequate reason for a picture of this sort. It is realism of the worst kind, the artist’s eye seeing only the vulgar outside of his model, and reproducing that callously and brutally. No human being, we should imagine, could take any pleasure in such a picture as this; it is a degradation of Art."  It's actually a wonderful painting with Hetty's pale body glowing against the almost black background. Only the kimono (a reflection of Roussel's interest in Japanese art) gives any colour to the painting.  Roussel's friend Whistler called it "an extraordinary picture" ,

Hetty Pettigrew (1889) by Sambourne

The model in this painting is nineteen year old Hetty (also variously known as Bessie, Harriet or Nettie) Pettigrew (1867-1953) who. with her sisters Lily (b. 1870 and Rose (b. 1872), modelled for Whistler, Millais, Godward, Poynter. Leighton, Holman Hunt, Burne-Jones and others. Hetty was born in Portsmouth but the family were originally from the West Country. Millais said that the sisters were gypsies (although they themselves claimed aristocratic antecedents) and her sister Rose described Hetty as having a "cruel wit". They were generally considered, by those who painted them, as a bit of a handful. The  penniless Pettigrew sisters came to London in 1884 and their artist brother suggested they could make a living as models. He was right and they became the most sought after models in London, with painters offering them bribes to pose for them instead of other artists. The Pettigrew sisters commanded fees for modelling of no less than half a guinea a day, about twice what a housemaid would earn in a week.  Hetty became Roussel's mistress and bore him a child in 1900.  When Roussel's wife died in 1914, Hetty was shattered when Roussel married another woman and she never posed for him again.  Hetty was photographed, at the age of 23, by Punch illustrator and amateur photographer, Edward Linley Sambourne (1844-1910)  (Lord Snowdon's great-grandfather and furniture designer Viscount Linley's great-great-grandfather) and the photograph shows how well Roussel caught her features.

Today's music is another purchase this week and adds to my pulp playlist.  It is the soundtrack to The Phantom (1996) which I rather enjoyed but, like The Shadow (1994) and The Rocketeer (1991), it failed to kick start the pulp genre in Hollywood.  Composed by David Newman (son of Hollywood golden age composer Alfred Newman) it hits all the requisite adventure buttons and will become a pulp figure painting favourite, no doubt.