Flodden stories to be transformed into 500th anniversary art project

Iona Leishman - The King at his Fireside by Rob McDougall
Iona Leishman - The King at his Fireside by Rob McDougall

ARTIST Iona Leishman is appealing for help to uncover traditions and stories surrounding the battle of Flodden.

The painter intends to create new works of art as part of the 500th anniversary commemoration of the battle which cost 10,000 Scottish lives and deeply affected the history of the borderlands.

Iona grew interested in the battle and its legacy during her time as Stirling Castle’s artist in residence in 2011.

She said: “The echoes of the reign of James IV, and his tragic death at Flodden, can still be heard at Stirling Castle, which was one of his finest residences.

“With this year being the 500th anniversary of the battle I want to create some new paintings to help give a sense of the scale of the tragedy and the shadow it cast over Scotland and the borderlands.

She went on: “I have heard a number of tales about the battle which are really intriguing and would very much like to discover more – if people could help me by telling me the stories and traditions which they know about it would be an enormous help.”

Later this year she intends to spend time in the Borders and Northumberland to find out more about Flodden and how it is remembered today.

Iona has created a series of paintings which throw a fresh light on great and famous people, places and events of the past.

These include striking paintings of Edinburgh Castle, Linlithgow Palace and of the infant Mary Queen of Scots. Among the best known is ‘The King at his Fireside’, depicting James V who came to the throne as a small child after the death of his father at Flodden, which was purchased by Historic Scotland and now hangs in the Princes’ Tower at Stirling Castle.

On February 23 and 24 Iona will be running a special course in Stirling Castle where people can spend a weekend painting and drawing – taking in the palace built by James V and the King’s Old Building, constructed by James IV in the 1490s.

If anyone has stories or information about Flodden they can contact Iona by email at iona@ionaleishman.co.uk.