Tower of London Education Center

Posted by Amelia Swhizzagers On 9:26 AM
For the month of February, I was locked up in the Tower of London! Fortunately I made it out with my head intact and a wonderful project to show for it. I was commissioned by the Education Center to do eight large papercuts for their teaching room. Here they are:

The Menagerie


This one is, by far, the most elaborate of the set. I researched out what animals were in the Menagerie, what years they were there and the stories about them. Then I had to figure out how they all looked and did a lot of research on the internet to find out what a hyena's hindquarters looked like. It was great fun.

King Bran and the Ravens


There is a legend that the head of King Bran is buried under the White Tower and that is the reason why so many ravens are present (Bran means raven). Apparently if the ravens never leave the confines of the Tower, the kingdom will never fall.

Colonel "I Drink Up Your Crown Jewels" Blood


The only time the Crown Jewels have successfully been stolen was back in 1671 when Blood thieved the jewels from Martin Tower where they were being kept. He was caught and pardoned and given some money and a place to live. Sort of posh treatment for someone who made off with the riches of England, eh?

The Beheading of Anne Boleyn


Anne Boleyn spent her last minutes thinking she was going to be pardoned. Okay, I don't really know that, but that's what the Yeoman Warders say when you take the tour at the Tower of London. They say that she was praying as her head was chopped off and when they lifted it up for all to see, her lips were still moving. She is buried in the chapel behind the execution site.

Ranulph Flambard


Flambard
was one of the lucky ones to escape from the Tower. One night, he got all the guards around him drunk and used the ropes surrounding the flagons of wine to form a rope from which to escape from his high cell in the White Tower. Unfortunately the rope was too short, fortunately he landed in a giant cesspool beneath him.

Gruffydd ap Llywelyn Fawr


In an instance where patience is a virtue, Gruffydd ap Llywelyn is the perfect example. His wife had petitioned for him to get out of the Tower and he was about to be set free. He wanted to get out sooner and fashioned a rope out of sheets to help him escape. The sheets weren't tied together tight enough and so they snapped and he fell to his death. No one could recognize who he was at first because he landed on his head and it impacted it down into his body.

Jean Gerard


Gerard was another escapist from within the confines of the Tower. He was able to shimmy his way out with the help of some friends via a rope from the Cradle Tower. His hands were so swollen from being shackled whilst therein that he fell on his way out, but managed to escape anyway.

The Peasants' Revolt


The peasants are revolting! 1381 was a tough time for Londoners. Their taxes had been raised three years in a row and the Black Death had reduced the population significantly. One day, as the young boy Richard II rode out to negotiate with the people in town, the gates were left open to the tower and the peasants stormed in. The guards did nothing to stop them and so treason was suspected.

These are the people I worked with in completing this project. They were oh so very helpful. From left to right: Dan, Alex, me, Dorothy and Canev. In order for me—who had just barely figured out that Tudor style houses are in reference to the Tudor age—to finish this job, I had to have a lot of help. They were wonderful. Also very informative was Brigit from the library and Sutherland who offered moral support 100% of the time. A big thanks to Alex who offered me the opportunity to do these papercuts and had the patience to help me see it through.

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