071613 Local Author and Craftsman to Team up at Bayswater this Saturday (515 w/2COL pic Brian of Tuftonboro)
Published DateGILFORD — Long-time Gilford summer resident Leo J. Rogers, a retired New Jersey banker and educator, has had a life-time interest in medieval knights and castles, and has been collecting knights for more than thirty years.
Two knights, one known as Sir Brian of Tuftonboro, and the other, Henry VIII, carved by Tuftonboro artisan Brian Stockman, noted for his wood and ivory carvings, are among four created by New Hampshire craftsmen who have found their way into Rogers' just-published book, Lives and Times of Medieval Knights – Chronicles of a Motley Collection.
Rogers will be on hand at the Bayswater Book Co., 12 Main St., Center Harbor, to talk about his book and sign copies on Saturday, July 20, from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. Brian Stockman will join Rogers to answer questions about his knight creations and his work and general.
Rogers' collection, some 75 pieces, includes figures from two inches to four feet tall, marionettes, old, original, hand-colored etchings, folk-art metal and wood replicas – an overall "motley crew," as he calls them, acquired here at home and in his travels around the world.
Much to his wife Carole's chagrin, Rogers' knights are displayed in their rather modest dining room in New Jersey, now called the Great Hall, because that was the room in medieval castles where knights gathered for food, drink, and general revelry.
Stockman's Sir Brian is an eighteen-inch bas relief knight carved in astonishing detail from a Tuftonboro cherry log. The knight holds his beautifully-carved sword and shield, and sports an enormous plume on his helmet. King Henry VIII, a two-and-a half inch ivory sculpture of Henry as a twenty-four year-old knight, was carved by Stockman in 1983.
The two other New Hampshire craftsmen who provided the four knights are Tim Campbell, folk artist from Keene, and Jane Kaufman, a potter, from Durham. Rogers first encountered all of them during summer visits to Wolfeboro where he saw samples of their work and, in the cases of Campbell and Stockman, commissioned them to create knights for his collection.
Lives and Times of Medieval Knights – Chronicles of a Motley Collection is much more than a book about one man's collection. It provides a window into the turbulent times of medieval knights – their place in society, their courtly customs, their armor and weapons, and their constant thirst for armed conflict, either in the jousting tournaments or the countless wars and skirmishes that marked the medieval period.
Devon Kurtz, education director of the renowned Higgins Armory Museum in Worcester, MA, calls Lives and Times of Medieval Knights "a great read," full of "tales of knights from long ago and the adventures the author experiences in bringing them home."
Lives and Times of Medieval Knights – Chronicles of a Motley Collection, (160 pages, 50 photographs, two labeled illustrations of knights' and horses' armor, $22) is available at the Higgins Armory Museum store in Worcester, MA., at Bayswater Book Co., Center Harbor, and at the Innisfree book shop in Meredith. It is also available on the Internet at www.medievalknightsbook.com, and from the author at Box 7346, Gilford, NH 03247. Checks for $24, which includes $2 postage. should be made payable to the author.
Sir Brain of Tuftonboro. (Courtesy photo)