I imagine John Blanke as a maverick. A spark in the court, a musical experimenter, respected and cherished amongst his tight coterie of peers. He’d be a loyal, funny, mischievous friend. A persuasive negotiator, he would have enjoyed and shared the fruits of his labours. A courageous and resilient human being, who knew how to see where he had landed, literally, and use his wits, charm and talent to make a successful life as a member of King Henry’s household. I like to imagine he had kids; over the past six years I’ve been creating a series of paintings of black Elizabethans in various groupings and settings. Any one of my powerful, dignified, elegant young characters could be a child of John Blanke.