Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Twitter Ye Not - Lady Godiva

Twitter Ye Not - Lady Godiva

A regular piece for the Daily Mail Weekend magazine about how figures in history might have twittered or tweeted or whatever, had they the chance, inclination and technology.

According to popular legend, it was on the 10th July in 1040 that Lady Godiva rode naked through the streets of Coventry, in protest at her husband’s oppressive taxation of his tenants. We imagine the Twitter feed of that weekend.

I have shown Godiva on her horse moving unseen (almost!) through the streets of Coventry city. Legend has her horse being white (you know, purity and all that) but I've taken artistic license and made it darker to contrast with her pearly pale flesh. Godiva was a real-life Saxon noblewoman called Godgyfu or Godgifu, married to the Danish Lord Leofric, Earl of Mercia, who had been given land by King Canute (Knut) of wave-stopping attempt fame.

Behind the shutter of his hovel sits the tailor Tom, spying on the noble Lady through a small hole he has bored, and ever-after known as 'Peeping Tom'. I have drawn about him several symbols and tools of his trade - needle & thread, a french curve and some cloth shears.

Our Tom adopts the position in which, from time immemorial, tailors have worked - with one leg up and bowed and supported upon the other knee. The Latin word for Tailor is Sartorius (hence the adjective 'sartorial' - something complete strangers shout at me as I cycle about the city in my finery!). It is also the name for the diagonal muscle running from the outside hip to the inside knee, and in tension in this particular occupational position!

Lady Godiva is also Cockney rhyming slang for a 'fiver' or five pound note.


Heather Woollove said...

Peeping Tom, Sartorius...sartorial...hmmm...thanks for a wonderfully informative post!
(Love me some word origins!!) XXO-

Paul Bommer said...

Thank you Heather!
Glad you learnt something!