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On the book front, I am rather excited about GRANT ME THE CARVING OF MY NAME, an upcoming anthology of fiction about Richard III , which should be out right in time to make a fabulous Christmas present.  Release date is scheduled for December 2 and all proceeds from sales will go to the Scoliosis Society UK. Stories are from many well-known names in Ricardian circles and range  from the serious to the humorous. Editor is Alex Marchant, author of  THE ORDER OF THE WHITE BOAR series and the cover is a fabulous piece by Finnish artist Riikka Katajisto.

List of contributors are as follows:

Narrelle M. Harris
Wendy Johnson
Riikka Katajisto
Susan Kokomo Lamb (one-half of Larner & Lamb!)
Joanne R. Larner (the other half of Larner & Lamb!)
Matthew Lewis
Máire Martello
Frances Quinn
J. P. Reedman
Marla Skidmore
Richard Unwin
Jennifer C. Wilson

So.. something  good to read on those long cold winter nights that lie just around the corner!

grant me the carving of my name anthology

Please click this link for more information



Art copyright Riikka Katajisto


A “The Legendary Ten Seconds” Christmas

Murrey-and-Blue by The Legendary Ten Seconds to be released on 1st November 2017 which is the anniversary of when Richard, later Richard III, was created the Duke of Gloucester in 1461.


A concept album of songs by The Legendary Ten Seconds about the Wars of the Roses and England in the late fifteenth century.


Featuring the following songs:-


  • The Boars Head, a song inspired by the chapter in a book by Toni Mount about a medieval Christmas.
  • John Judde, who died at a battle at St Albans, another song inspired from Toni Mount’s book about life in medieval London.
  • The Medieval Free Company, inspired by a display of archery and medieval life of a Wars of the Roses reenactment group at Buckland Abbey.
  • Plantagenet Pavane, a stately dance usually in slow duple time but in true Legendary Ten Seconds style this instrumental is played in triple time.
  • Francis Cranley, a song about the main character in a Ricardian novel called The Woodville Connection written by Kathy Martin.
  • The Woodville Household, a song for the fifteenth century reenactment group who portray the retinue of Sir Anthony Woodville.
  • The Month of May, a fictional exchange of letters written during 1483.
  • John Nesfield’s Retinue, this instrumental is for the retinue of John Nesfield.
  • The Seventh of August, Henry Tudor lands at Mill Bay in August 1485 with his French mercenaries. A song inspired by a book written by Chris Skidmore.
  • The Dublin King, a song about Lambert Simnel and the battle of Stoke in 1487,

inspired after reading a book of the same name by John Ashdown-Hill.

  • Lambeth MS 474, an instrumental for the book of hours of Richard III
  • Shining Knight, written by Riikka Katajisto and Ian Churchward for all the Ricardian ladies who have fallen in love with Richard III of which there are very many.
  • Court of King Richard III, a new 2017 recording of the song which was originally featured on the Tant le desiree album. The version of this song features new bass guitar and singing.
  • White Surrey August 1485, another new 2017 recording of the song which was

originally featured on the Tant le desiree album which features a mix of new recordings and also old recordings of the original version of this popular song.


Album artwork painted by G Harman of Red fox illustrations.


Ian Churchward vocals, guitars and mandola.


Lord Zarquon keyboards, bass and drums.


David Clifford bass guitar on John Judde, The Medieval Free Company, Court of King Richard III and White Surrey August 1485.


Rob Bright guitar on John Judde, John Nesfield’s Retinue and The Seventh of August.


Pippa West vocals on The Boars Head, The Medieval Free Company, Francis Cranley and The Month of May.


Elaine Churchward vocals on The Seventh of August.


Camilla Joyce vocals on the 2017 versions of Court of King Richard III and White Surrey.


John Bessant lap steel guitar on The Dublin King and Lambeth MS 474.


All songs written by Ian Churchward except Shining Knight written by Riikka Katajisto and Ian Churchward.


All songs arranged by Lord Zarquon.


Recorded in Torbay at Rock Lee and Rainbow Starshine studios for Richard The Third Records.



Dearly beloved I greet you this day

So much has happened in the month of May

The stench from the street assaults my nose

How I do long for the scent of a rose


The news of the queen is very disturbing

Remaining in sanctuary so we are learning

The date of the coronation is set

One Sunday in June it’s not happened yet


Dearly beloved I greet you good day

So much has happened since the month of May

Of true honesty there’s nought to be had

And the stench from the Thames it is terribly bad


The news of Lord Hastings is very disturbing

Of his execution this we are learning

The date of the coronation draws near

Of its cancellation I really do fear

Snapshots of a King

riikkaIt was my privilege to interview Riikka Nikko, one of the youngest and most gifted artists on the Ricardian scene today.  Her work, Ricardian and otherwise, can be found in newspapers, magazines, book covers and throughout social media and the internet.  In particular, her depictions of King Richard the Third express an emotional charge that is as exciting as it is dramatically appealing.  The king is often arrayed in glorious raiment of scarlet, ebony and plush royal blue, his golden collar slung across his shoulders, his beloved crown clasped in his gauntleted hands .  A  handsome, rugged prince straight out of a children’s fairy tale.

Riikka was born in 1988 in a village called Kauhava which is located in the South-Ostrobothnian region of western Finland.  As soon as she was out of high school, she applied to the Nordic Art School in the town of Kokkola.  There, she received a multifaceted education that was primarily due to the excellent teaching staff that came from all around the globe.  After Kokkola, she applied to the Kankaanpää Art School.  This institution, which is designed to train and educate professional artists, has a campus which features a spectacular modern glass façade and from where she learned to master all possible forms of art.  She studied there from 2010 to 2014.  Riikka recently agreed to an interview with the Murrey and Blue:

richard portrait by riikka You seem very young to be such a successful artist.

Making art has always been my goal in life.  When I was little and my mother gave me a pen and pencil I knew right away what to do with them.  Nobody ever needed to tell me to draw something if I was bored.  I was always creating something new.  No matter how much my family or teachers had tried to talk me out of it, they just made me want to reach that goal even more aggressively.  It was like waving a red cloth in my face when people would doubt my determination.  I believe in hard work and strong discipline because luck has not much of a foothold in this field.  To put it simply:  I’m just too stubborn to give up my dream – like most of the Finns.  My mother once said to me:  “If you don’t work hard to achieve something, you will have nothing.”  I just keep on trying no matter what.

How did King Richard the Third come into the picture?

Well, it was in 1999, my parents were going through a divorce and we moved away from home with my mother.  At that time I was something like ten or eleven years old.  Basically, at that point, the world that I knew crumbled to ashes and earth trembled under my feet.  I had to adjust to my new surroundings which were very hostile to newcomers.  From Day One, it was made clear that I’d never fit into a group since I had no desire to be like the rest of my classmates.  Then on one dark autumn evening, Rowan Atkinson’s “Black Adder” was on television.  When the camera focused on King Richard the Third, portrayed by Peter Cook, it was love at first sight.  Since my father had abandoned me, a strong male figure was missing from my life.  In King Richard, all that what I missed came together:  bravery, emotional strength, loyalty, fairness, grace and above all:  understanding.  I saw him as a kindred spirit who was as much mocked and left alone as I was.

It’s amazing how so many people – all across the world – feel drawn to this young man who has been gone for over five hundred years.  Has any other historical personage affected you this way?

In my life, King Richard rules pretty much alone!  But there is room for all those people who were connected to him in one way or another.

richard holding crown riikkaWhere can we see other examples of your work (aside from Ricardian art)?

Besides that, I have made some book covers for Finnish authors as well as my own projects like some fan videos on YouTube.  Here are some links:

Can you tell us something about your art and what media you employ?

One could say that they are so-called “snapshots” from passing moments – which is very much true.  But there is something more than just that since as an artist I tend to put in some suggestive hints about my current mood.  Most of all, my work is the very oxygen to me so that I can breathe and express myself.  I like to use oil colours since they stay better under my command but if I do something smaller I will use aquarelles* since they fit better for more detailed work.  For my own entertainment, I use digital picture-making where, of course, all physical materials cease to exist.

Do you have a studio and where can we buy your work?

No, I don’t have one.  Everything is done on the kitchen table or living room writing desk.  You can buy my work by emailing me so we can make a deal!  I gladly take orders.  Here is my address:

Thanks for taking the time to talk to us.  I think you have a great future!

richard saying goodnight

*A type of watercolor.

The Art of Frances Quinn

janetS6306091frances and janetFor over five hundred years, Richard the Third has been the subject of much good and bad art.  Perhaps the most famous image is the National Portrait Gallery portrait which hangs in a prominent spot (after years of being shunted into a busy stairwell at the entryway) and has for many years intrigued casual visitors as well as historians, novelists and artists.  The sensitive portrait is so at odds with the “evil uncle” myth that it is no wonder that it has spawned everything from detective novels to an entire society devoted to finding out the true story of the last English king to die in battle.  With the discovery of his remains and the amazing reconstruction of his head and face, many talented artists (including the Finnish graphic artist, Riikka Nikko) have taken to drawing and painting his handsome face.

One of the most prolific Ricardian artists on the scene today is Frances Quinn, a Dublin-based artist whose works can be seen as the cover art of novels (particularly the work of Janet Reedman) and has won a place in British historian John Ashdown-Hill’s new book “The Mythology of Richard the Third.”  I had the chance to interview Frances and find out a little bit more about the woman behind the lovely portraits of King Richard as well as her beautiful images of horses, dogs, boars and stags – particularly her rendition of Richard’s possibly mythical stallion, White Surrey.

Frances, can you give us some background on your art education and something about your life in Ireland?

I’ve had no art training at all; I’m entirely self-taught.  Having said that, the artistic streak runs in my mother’s side of the family.  I have a cousin and an uncle who are artists as well.  I live on the outskirts of Dublin in what used to be a country village until the developers got hold of it.  I left school at seventeen and as I couldn’t afford to go to art college, I went to work in the bookmaking business.  I now work part-time, in order to spend more time at my art.

How would you describe your work?

My style of art is semi-realistic; I suppose it’s more of an illustrative style than strictly ‘art.’  I use mostly gouache and watercolours but I also use coloured pencil and occasionally water based oils – but they take too long to dry to my liking!

frances quinn

How did you get involved in illustrating books?

I used to do illustrations for fanzines in the 80s and 90s, so it was a natural progression to move to books.  I’ve done several covers and John Ashdown-Hill has used one of my paintings in his latest book on the mythology of Richard the Third.  John was here in Ireland last year to give a talk and the Irish Richard the Third group presented him with one of my paintings.  He must have liked it as he asked if he could use the painting of Richard and White Surrey.

I can see why he liked it.  Can you tell us why and when you became interested in Richard the Third?  Is there another historical figure that interests you as much as he does?

I’ve always been interested in Richard the Third.  Something about him fascinated me and after I read “The Daughter of Time” in the early 80s, I tried to find out as much as I could about him.  About the only decent book available then was Paul M. Kendall’s biography “Richard the Third.”  The only other historical figure that I was interested in was Tutankhammun!  I think artists as drawn to subjects that have a touch of the mythic about them; Richard has so much of the “sacrificial” mythos characteristics, he’s a perfect study for any  artist or writer.

Do you have a studio?

I don’t have a specific studio but my front room doubles as my ‘aetelier’ – which sounds very grand.  Actually, it’s just a room of art supplies, books and bits of taxidermy.

How can we buy your work?

If anyone’s interested in buying my art, they can contact me either on my Facebook page “The Art of Frances Quinn” or email me at

Thanks, Frances.  I’ll let you get back to work.

frances richard and white surrey

J.P. Reedman’s novels and short stories can be found on

Top right:  left to right, Frances Quinn and Janet Reedman

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