A papier-mache 'wall' inspired by Hadrian's Cavalry

Art Project: The Corbridge Wall at Corbridge Roman Town

In 2016 and 2017 nine museums and archaeological sites took part in Hadrian's Cavalry art project. Lead artist Karen MacDougall kept a diary of the experience. These are her memories about building a different type of 'wall' at Corbridge Roman Town.

Project: The Corbridge Wall - Corbridge Roman Town

"I visited Corbridge Roman Town with curators Frances McIntosh and Kevin Booth. It was inspiring to walk on the actual stone streets the Romans had walked on. I saw some lovely examples of Roman horses in artefacts. The Corbridge Lanx is also an excellent example of metalwork. I suggested making a relief panel of a horse inspired by images of horses from stone, pottery and glass using papier-mâché. This was to be created by Corbridge First School who would also try metal embossing, linking it to the Corbridge Lanx.

Looking and drawing

On a fantastic museum visit with Frances the children were encouraged to look, discover patterns and first-hand evidence proving the Roman Cavalry were really here 2000 years ago. Back in the classroom, we drew our horses. It took several different approaches. However eventually everyone had drawn a good likeness of a horse ready for the papier-mâché stage.

Papier-mâché plus phalerae

Richardson’s timber merchants in Penrith kindly donated the base boards for the project. Armed with a bag of wood shavings, a box of artmaché powder and 15 litres of PVA the fun began!

We made phalerae - decorated metal foil circles mounted onto wooden discs. We marked these with different styli, inspired by the patterns and motifs from our museum visit. The afternoon was extremely sticky as pupils created the horses on their ‘stones’. In our final session we painted the stones and mounted the phalerae using lots of metallic paint and a glue gun.

Throughout my time in school we made individual portfolios as part of Discovery Arts Award. I gave a presentation about my work as an artist, including a sneaky peek at the other Cavalry projects. Each child's ‘stone’ was mounted onto a ‘wall’ which I installed to sit beside the real Roman stones."

- By artist Karen MacDougall

Karen's haiku reflecting on the project

Horses carved in relief

Memorial of Flavinus shows

The cavalry were here.

More art projects

Take a look at the full list at Diary of a Hadrian's Cavalry Artist.

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