Historical Fantasy at Foyles

La Belle Dame San Merci - Sir Frank Dicksee

After the radio show I managed to find Juliet in time for us to have lunch and see a bit of Bristol before the event. Juliet asked to see an art gallery, so I took her up Park Street to the City Museum and introduced her to the work of the Bristol School, in particular Rolinda Sharples. That gallery is something that Mary Robinette Kowal needs to visit, and it is full of contemporary paintings of people in 18th Century clothing.

The Bristol School stuff is OK, and does have a couple of over-the-top apocalyptic pieces reminiscent of John Martin (and which may pre-date him, I need to check). However, the stand-out piece in the collection is one of my favorite bits of Pre-Raphaelite art, La Belle Dame Sans Merci, by Sir Frank Dicksee. As this post is mainly about historical fantasy, I have chosen that to illustrate it. (Doesn’t look a bit like Nyx, though.)

We were spared further traffic chaos, and both Helen Hollick and Jack Wolf turned up at the store on time. Helen was resplendent in a pirate costume to advertise her current series of books. We had an excellent discussion. It hardly needed me there to moderate it. There was a decent crowd too. You never quite know with these things, but I think Foyles will have been pleased. We were delighted to see a bunch of the local steampunk group turn up in costume.

Juliet has written a blog post about the discussion here, and there’s no point in my re-hashing that. I did record it, but I haven’t listened to the recording yet and even if it is OK I have no idea when I’ll get the time to edit it. The other thing I took away from the event is that I really need to read Lucienne’s book, To The Fair Land, if only to see what she has made of that strange Terra Australis. I wonder if her characters find that large island where all of the inhabitants have two heads? (That’s an Australian joke, for which Tansy will probably kill me.)

I wish I had been able to hang around and talk to people, but I had an hour to get to an event in Bath, so I headed out immediately the panel was over. Thanks again to all for a great evening.