The photo shoot I discussed in my last post was a somewhat rushed affair. I did not have time to get alot of the kit right, I also did not have time to truly apply myself to the physicality of the impression.
I had been planning a shoot of some description for some time and had an idea of getting myself into the physical shape of a medieval Gael in addition to putting on the clothing. In fact this is one of those things that bugs me most about re-enactor impressions. Often we an see stunning attention to detail and no expense spared on kit, yet all hanging on a frame that would have been rare to non-existent in history.
|Tough looking Irish tenants.|
The girl on the right looks just like my mum.
Fortunately we can use photos from the 19th century of both Scotland and Ireland to get an impression of
Walter Raleigh,failed planter and the friend of Edmund Spencer (who hated the native Irish with genocidal passion) gifted the potato to Ireland saying it would solve the Irish problem. No one in the British state has ever really cared about gifting the native Irish with a nutritious food so we should assume the "solution" might well be more like a 20th century "solution:
" by the sworde; for all those evilles must first be cutt awaye with a stronge hande, before any good cann bee planted; like as the corrupt branches and unwholsome lawes are first to bee pruned, and the fowle mosse clensed or scraped awaye, before the tree cann bringe forth any good fruicte. (Spencer)
I had originally thought that I am too bulky for historical standards though going through the images of Irish crofters I'm not too sure this is the case. Breugels pictures of low country peasants also show similar "lusty" physiques. Images of historical Gaels show pretty robust looking characters as well as the lithe,
Unlike the modern world of the puny and fat we would find historical communities full of strong, lean individuals. The incredible changes to body composition over the past thirty years are without parallel and completely extraordinary in the wider context of humanity.
With a healthy dose of R1b and and I1 genetics I can assume that the general colouration and facial structure are about right though in honesty I don't think I look terribly "Celtic/Gaelic" at all. It is however a look I can pull off more than say, a conquistador. The hair and beard are completely fine for Highland Scots up to the 18th Century when beards became less fashionable. Even for the 17th century I would prefer to see a more manicured type of beard. The Irish famously wore a hair style called a glib which I have no intention of getting, though long hair is definitely portrayed too. While many medieval impressions feature wild hair and beards, such a look was quite unusual in history, in fact much of the medieval period was clean shaven.
|Medieval tough guys.|
Given another photo shoot I may well try to get the gaunt, hunted look and would do well to get much more dirt involved.......much more dirt!