coffee and the siege of lucknow

This morning I cycled down the road to the National Maritime Museum to get coffee and clear my head. It’s been a bit claustrophobic at home in my workspace, especially when the construction workers outside turn on this earth flattening machine that makes everything rumble and sets my teeth on edge. I started sketching this statue because I thought it was funny, how the guy’s cape from the back made him look like he had Marilyn Monroe hips.

When I came around to read the placard, the guy had an interesting history, being brave and getting caught up in some very dodgy stuff in the ‘Indian Mutiny‘. (Gotta love those post-colonial quotation marks sprinkled so lavishly around the building.) In particular, Peel was involved in the Seige of Lucknow. Here’s a bizarre tidbit on Wikipedia. It puts the phrase ‘bite the bullet’ into a very different light:
The flashpoint of the rebellion was the introduction of the Enfield rifle. The cartridges for this weapon were believed to be greased with a mixture of beef and pork fat, which would defile both Hindu and Muslim Indian soldiers. On May 1 the 7th Oudh Irregular Infantry refused to bite the cartridge and on May 3 they were disarmed by other regiments.

I did get some work done in the cafe, but it’s too easy to get sucked into that place and emerging half a working day later… But next time I must make an effort to sketch something more than ten feet away from the table where I’m having my coffee.

Edit And I just discovered Russian artist telefreak, whose lettering is the best thing ever.

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