Monday, 19 February 2007

Henry VIII

When M and I were married, he came with a ready-made family…animal family that is. In addition to his horse, dog and cat, there was Henry and his wives. Henry was a Bantam cock, a proud, plump little fellow with feathered pantaloons that offset his unique walk to perfection. Somewhere along the way, he had acquired a peculiar gait favouring one or the other leg as if he had gout. M had named him Henry VIII after his portly appearance and the six fine, plump wives that came with him. This little group kept themselves busy and well fed by keeping the garden insect free and when dusk came, would put themselves to bed in the branches of a tall pine tree.

Henry was the inspiration for this painting as I wanted to paint a Rooster and Henry is the only one I have known personally. Although it has not been trimmed, I decided to put the picture up as it is finished otherwise.

Henry-The-Eighth-Rooster-Loch-FyneApart from being a national symbol of France, the rooster is associated with good luck in some cultures.

Bantams get their name from Bantam Island in what was then the Dutch East Indies. Sailors on their long voyages used the native poultry from these islands for eggs and meat because their small size made them easier to keep on board a ship. Eventually the name “bantam” came to mean any small breed of chicken and their little eggs made them popular with European peasants as all large eggs were to go to the Lord of the Manor as part of the rent. Just for comparison, it takes about three bantam eggs to equal one large chicken egg.


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