© John Blake Galloway  Bellum – Knight’s Daisy Chain Mail Handkerchief

John Blake Galloway

Knight’s Daisy Chain Mail Handkerchief

Bellum (Latin)  War (English)   Bellis perennis (Latin) Daisy (English)

There’s an instant fascination with this work – a contradiction in a knight’s chain mail handkerchief, and chain mail made of daisies.   Facts and symbolism are perfectly fused in this beautiful art work.

The artist was in the army for 13 years – the KOSB Infantry and then the RAMC as a radiographer – a background connected to war and healing.

John – in his own words: “Many battles were fought in fields where daisies grew. Making daisy chains when we are children is synonymous with purity and innocence and turning them into chain mail which relates to ‘pushing up the daisies’ appealed to me.

 Daisies have many medicinal properties one of which is slowing down the bleeding process so it made sense to use them to symbolise the battlefield where much blood was spilt – blood contains Iron, chain mail is made of Iron, and daisies can be used to stem the flow of blood.

 I have always thought it strange that knights in illustrations are shown covered from head to toe in armour and chain mail but have a soft, silky colourful handkerchief flowing behind them. A popular design on handkerchiefs throughout the ages has been flowers and in particular daisies as again they probably symbolise innocence and childhood. When I was young and cut myself it was always a handkerchief that was tied around the cut to stop it bleeding. Similarly daisies have healing properties and have been used in the past to slow down bleeding.”

John Blake Galloway was born in Glasgow.  Bellum – Knight’s Daisy Chain Mail Handkerchief was shown in the exhibition `Order’, Dunbar, 2017.

Dunbar is a place rich in military history and its hills where battles were fought still rich in daisies.