Lisa's stunning trip through the Sands of Time

PUBLISHED: 16:08 23 April 2008 | UPDATED: 14:59 07 September 2010

When Shakespeare dramatised the abdication of Richard II, he referred to the citizens of London throwing ashes out of their windows as he passed below. In the Royal Shakespeare Company s production of the play in The Histories series now at the Roundhouse

When Shakespeare dramatised the abdication of Richard II, he referred to the citizens of London throwing ashes out of their windows as he passed below.

In the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of the play in The Histories series now at the Roundhouse in Chalk Farm, the scene ends with the king remaining on stage as a stream of sand cascades over him.

Lisa Wright's painting Sands Of Time (pictured) is based on the moment when the deposed king stands penitent during this symbolic humiliation.

It is one of 10 large dramatic paintings in the series The Histories which are part of the outcome of a two-year collaboration between Wright and the RSC, and she has presented this picture to the company's collection.

"The sand swirls of white paint and the shadow are almost as strong an element as the figure," comments RSC associate designer Tom Piper.

He first saw Wright's work as he cycled past the Beardsmore Gallery in Kentish Town on route to the Roundhouse when the RSC was last there in 2003.

Piper was intrigued by the expressive qualities of her depictions of children on display and felt that her concern for the whole figure rather than details of facial features made her the artist he sought to realise a long-held ambition.

He wondered if it was possible to create work with "its own meaning and beauty", which went beyond documentation and portraiture.

Piper wanted it to feed off the RSC's working process and The Histories series but require no special knowledge of either to be appreciated.

Wright's monumental paintings of figures in silhouette - sometimes including special effects like sand or swirling feathers along with minimalist props - seem to have realised Piper's dream. "The works capture the spirit of the characters and the situations she has chosen to portray and have a poetry of their own that speaks independently of the productions that inspired them," he says.

Viewings of the large paintings at the Roundhouse (for those without theatre tickets) take place this Friday from 6pm to 7pm and on May 1 from 5.30pm to 6.30pm, by arrangement with the Beardsmore Gallery on

020-7485 0923 or email info@beardsmore gallery.com. Smaller paintings and works on paper are at the Beardsmore at 22-24 Prince of Wales Road, NW5, until May 24. Tuesday to Friday 10am to 5pm, Saturday noon to 5pm.

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