Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper
Battle of Hastings Jill Tattersall

Night Sky October 14th 1066 Jill Tattersall

Reading The Heavens

Reading The Heavens, The Night Sky October 1066 is Jill Tattersall’s exhibition of her paintings of night skies at the Memorial Halls in Battle, showing until 18 October. HOT’s Chandra Masoliver went to see it and was impressed by the beauty of the paintings; the magical blues, black, silver, gold and white she uses – and the precision of the image of the night sky as it was on the eve of the battle of Hastings.

JiIl Tattersall first taught medieval French literature, and she found that research on maps and travel in those early French texts made her think a lot about how people have seen – and set out to depict – their world in different times and cultures. She became fascinated by creation myths and theories, night skies, cave paintings and particularly the places where science and art meet. She notes that the divide between astronomy and astrology is recent, people have always seen stories in the skies, so when Halley’s comet appeared at Easter in 1066 it was clearly seen as an omen.

“After the Conquest, French ( or Anglo-Norman dialect) soon became the language of the wealthy, educated and powerful in England”, says Jill.” Some well-known early French works are really English! So my interest in the events of 1066 and the Bayeux Tapestry goes back a long way.”

She notes that poems, stories and chronicles – not to mention ribald satires and fables – were increasingly written down in the vernacular so those who could read could understand them, since by 1066 ordinary people did not know much Latin.

Night Sky, 14 October 1066 (see above)Paints, ink, pigments and silver and gold leaf on canvas.
This painting was made specially for Battle and the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings. What did both sides see on the eve of the struggle? What were the omens? The borders are inspired by sections of the Bayeux Tapestry which was made soon after the Norman Conquest to tell the story – from William’s point of view. Halley’s comet appeared around Easter that year; you can see it in the top left-hand corner.

Magna Carta June 15th 1215

Magna Carta June 19 1215

Magna Carta: Night Sky, 19 June 1215Paints, ink, pigments, plaster and silver leaf on canvas.
What would you see if you’d looked up into the night sky on the day Magna Carta was sealed, 800 years ago? This, approximately! This painting was originally made for Lincoln, which owns one of the original four copies. Underlying it, you can just glimpse the medieval-style-three-continent earth: the so-called T-O Map.


I am the Shaper :Handmade paper, paints, inks, pigments and silver leaf.
A riddle from the Anglo-Saxon Exeter Riddle Book. I love this early book of riddles based on an earlier Latin tradition, on the lines ‘I am this….this… I do this…what am I?’
‘I am the Shaper: higher than heaven, brighter than the sun, stronger than steel, sharper than salt, loved more than all this light, brighter than a fleece.’ What am I?
Answer: Creation.

There are several other large paintings, including Night Sky, Aquarius – and 8 small paintings on reclaimed wood.

The paintings in this exhibition are from Jill’s ‘Origins’ series: she works in mixed media on canvas, wood, and hand made paper, using paints, inks, dyes, and pigments, gold and silver leaf, reclaimed elements and plaster to create the vivid, dreamlike colours she achieves. I am only sorry that this exhibition has not yet been shown in Hastings, where I believe it rightfully belongs.

Jill Tattersall lives and works in Hove at her Studio, The Wolf at the Door. She has shown and sold work in the UK and all over the world. More info at Jill Tattersall’s website.


If you’re enjoying HOT and would like us to continue providing fair and balanced reporting on local matters please consider making a donation. Click here to open our PayPal donation link. Thank you for your continued support!

Posted 17:03 Wednesday, Oct 12, 2016 In: Arts News

Also in: Arts News

More HOT Stuff

    HOT is run by volunteers but has overheads for hosting and web development. Support HOT!


    Advertise your business or your event on HOT for as little as £20 per month
    Find out more…


    If you like HOT and want to keep it sustainable, please Donate via PayPal, it’s easy!


    Do you want to write, proofread, edit listings or help sell advertising? then contact us


    Get our regular digest emails

  • Subscribe to HOT