In this artists in the spotlight we are focusing on Roland from Canada. He is the author of several books including 'The Turbulent Crown: The Story of the Tudor Queens', but he also makes the most beautiful portrait miniatures and coronation books.
When did you start making art?
"I've always been interested in drawing since I was young, and now I combine that with my interest in Tudor history."
Where does your interest in the Tudors come from? When did that start?
"I became interested in the Tudors after a trip my family took to England. The visit, to be honest, didn't make that much of an impression on me, but later, I came across a booklet of Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum that we picked up. Inside was a photo of the waxworks of Henry VIII and his six wives. I was fascinated by this picture, and began reading up on these characters. I've been hooked since!"
What inspired you to make art related to the Tudors?
"I love 16th century portrait miniatures. Since I can't have one, I started making my own reproductions. I also love illuminated manuscripts, so I did an illuminated book on Anne Boleyn's coronation. I transcribed a contemporary text from 1533, and I added illustrations. It was done on calfskin vellum and with genuine gold leaf. It was then bound in leather with Anne's white falcon emblem stamped upon the front and back covers."
Do you have a favourite Tudor monarch? Who and why?
"Anne Boleyn is my favorite. I love the movie 'Anne of the Thousand Days'. Every aspect of her life is so fascinating - from her spectacular rise to the top, and then her tragic fall from grace. Also, as an art historian, I am very interested in her portraiture."
What is your favourite piece of art you have made?
"I'm very happy with my Anne Boleyn Coronation Book. In terms of my writing, I'm happy to have been published by 'MadeGlobal', and also with an article I wrote for the academic journal 'Parergon', entitled 'Anne of the Wicked Ways', in which I addressed perceptions of Anne Boleyn as a witch over time."
How long does it take you to make your art?
"Depending on the complexity, a portrait miniature of Queen Elizabeth in all her splendor, for instance, can take days. The coronation book took about two years."
Coronation book of Anne Boleyn
How do you make your art? What is the process?
"When attempting a miniature, I practice the old techniques as were used then by Hilliard, Holbein, etc. I paint on calfskin vellum, use watercolors and gouache, and add genuine shell gold when needed."
Are you currently working on anything related to the Tudors?
"I'm currently working on a coronation book for Elizabeth I."
More artists in the spotlight
Click here to read about and see Siria's stunning Tudor drawings!