Begin, my flute, with me Maenalian lays.Virgil, Eclogue VIII
Nysa to Mopsus given! what may not then
We lovers look for? soon shall we see mate
Griffins with mares, and in the coming age
Shy deer and hounds together come to drink
With the head and wings of an eagle, forequarters of a lion, and hindquarters and tail of a horse, the hippogryph is (perhaps surprisingly) not a creature from myth or heraldry, but a somewhat more modern creation. Rather, the Italian poet Ludovico Ariosto was the first to describe the hippogriff, in his 1516 epic poem Orlando Furioso.
Ariosto was also the first person to use the term “humanism”, or at least umanesimo, so the hippogryph is in very good company. I don’t have much more to say about 16th Century poetry so let’s jump straight into some pictures of what I think was the original Citadel hippogryph (griffins and their cousins have, of course, become a fairly common type of monstrous creature in the modern catalogue). I’ve slightly over-varnished it, but I was really rather pleased with the shading on the legs and torso, and feel like the bright yellow beak brings some interest.
And the left-facing profile and (very blurry) rear view, below, showing off a flash of colour on the wing. I seem to remember messing up some similar wings back in the ’90s, so I was a bit intimidated by this one – but they’ve been easy to paint, it’s basically just dry brushing, and I think overall very successful. There’s a better aerial shot towards the bottom of the post.
Unless I’m very much mistaken this was incorrectly labelled as a ‘griffin’ on both its Combat Card and in the 1991 Red Catalogue – was part of their ‘Giant Monsters’ (formerly C29 ‘Monsters’) range. I’ve previously painted a few of these; enough that it’s not unrealistic for me to hope to complete a set of giant monsters in the near future. At least, as long as eBay prices don’t spiral again – I’m still missing the Jabberwock (one of my all time favourite creatures) and coatl. I’ve got an undercoated chimaera and elsewhere on this blog you’ll find:
They’re not exactly a consistent set, given that I’m using the giant arthropods in my xenofauna project, but I’ve tried to use more-or-less the same approach to basing the hippogryph as I did for the manticore at least.
I think that’s all for this week, ‘cos I’m travelling back to London tomorrow, where normal (weekly, monthly, or annual) updates will resume. I do have a couple more posts in the pipeline at least, I just need to grab a couple of extra photos first.