Wið færstice

The Anglo-Saxon period of British history is really interesting, and I find one of the particularly interesting things about it is the few tantalising remnants of old beliefs that have now almost vanished.

I decided I’d like to practice a sort of portrait / still life type painting, and so* I painted an old lady preparing to practice the healing charm Wið færstice ‘against a sudden stabbing pain’. It’s a bit of a mish-mash of ideas : her clothes and beads and knife are from Anglo-saxon Wessex, I think, but the bottle, candle and the glass globe full of melted butter are clearly more or less modern. I think the cat could be from any period. There’s no dating cats. She also has feverfew, red deadnettle and some plantain plants, though you can’t see them very clearly through the steam.

*I’m aware this is a non sequitur but I’m hoping if I type it really fast you won’t notice