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Making the work

From diptych to installation

The Wilton Diptych was the key.

I would use it as my model but turn it into a large scale photographic installation.

I would transform its young king into a young businessman. I would photograph him at the centre of his power, the Bank of England in the city. But I would show him wearing the attributes of another power, nature, symbolized by the stag motif on his tie and the stag brooch on his lapel. Both are based on the costume worn by King Richard in the diptych – his red cloak is patterned with hart motifs woven in gold, and on his chest is pinned a brooch of a white hart with golden antlers.

Like the king, my businessman would also be worshipping a higher power. But this power would not be Mary, the virgin queen of heaven with her child Jesus in her arms. Instead it would be the power of nature itself, represented as a young woman discovered in a forest glade. Reclining on the ground in the pose of King Richard’s white hart, she wears its antlers, transformed from a royal emblem into a symbol of sexuality, fertility and the power to give life itself. Perfectly at ease, her gaze meets that of the viewer – she knows very well just where the source of her power lies.

Back in the city, the businessman kneels before the antlered woman, now dressed in a deep blue gown, its colour echoing that of Mary’s blue robe. They are posed before a wall of gold, the colour of money, indeed, like the wealth stored a few feet from them inside the Bank of England, but also the colour of glory, a glimpse of heaven on earth. Now humbly barefoot, the businessman kneels in worship.

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