Butterflies in Shakespeare’s Sheep Lane

The above limited edition print, one of one hundred, will be given away freely to anyone attending the Stratford-Upon-Avon Business Show on 16th Spetember 2015. But just what is the story behind the work?

A2 Promo Poster v2

The print was created to showcase some of the historical aspects of Stratford-upon-Avon.

The statue of William Shakespeare, located next to river in the Bancroft Gardens, is depicted deep in the River Avon. He is sinking into the depths of the Avon along with symbolism from many of his great works. Yorick’s skull, the dead court jester whose skull is exhumed by the gravedigger in Act 5, Scene 1, of the play Hamlet, can be seen next to his plinth.

Canst thou, O partial sleep, give thy repose
To the wet sea-boy in an hour so rude,
And in the calmest and most stillest night,
With all appliances and means to boot,
Deny it to a king? Then happy low, lie down!
Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.

~ King Henry – Henry The Fourth, Part 2 Act 3, scene 1, 26–31

A rusted crown can be seen nestling on huge oak beams reflecting both the Stratford Tudor architecture and the weight of King Henry’s crown in Shakespeare’s Henry IV. Whilst in the background the Royal Standard of Scotland sinks into the murky depths and we shall just forever refer to ‘it’ as the Scottish Play.

Above the waterline we see one of the traditional Edwardian launches commonly seen cruising the Avon packed full of visitors from all around the globe.

The Royal Shakespeare Theatre’s 36-metre (118 ft) observation tower thrusts skyward from behind a bevy of swans, or herd if you prefer.

Located in the heart of England and near to the Coswolds, a major sheep producing area, Stratford-upon-Avon became one of the main centres for processing, marketing and distributing sheep and wool. Thus Sheep Street, now the restaurant centre of town and location of the Town Hall, was named. And so at the heart of our image you will find our sheep.

Bursting from behind the sheep is a kaleidoscope of butterflies. Stratford’s Butterfly Farm is located just over the River Avon foot bridge, opposite the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and so has developed into quite a major attraction in its own right.

On a final note, Stratford-upon-Avon hosts many fabulous attractions and we hope to see you there on Wednesday 16th September. If anyone would like to request the Royal Leamington Spa print* we do have a very limited number left so if you let us know in advance we will take one along for you to collect at the Stratford Business show.

*Both prints are A2 in size.

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