Gold logo for Alchemy, Artefacts Reimagined.

Chieftain series

Inspired by the Bush Barrow lozenge from Wiltshire Museum.

Inspiration behind the artwork

Ann-Marie James’ inspiration for the Chieftain series of artworks was the Bush Barrow lozenge at Wiltshire Museum.

This lozenge is the finest example of Bronze Age gold craftsmanship ever found. Made from sheet gold, only one millimetre thick, it is incised with intricate patterns, suggesting that whoever made it had a sophisticated knowledge of geometry.

Find out more about the Bush Barrow lozenge here.

Ann-Marie said:

 “What interested me about the lozenge was the precision of its incised lines – this detailed geometry seemed mysterious given that it was made in the Bronze Age. The abstract nature of my paintings reflect this ambiguity, bringing an artefact from the past, in altered form, into the present.”

Artist's techniques

Ann-Marie began with a line drawing of the lozenge from which she produced a silkscreen. Using this, she began to build each painting, and through layers of print, drawing, paint and medium, the repetition of the printed lozenge gave way to a complex abstract composition.

Precise drawing intersected with splashes of ink and marks Ann-Marie made with her fingers and other implements. These paintings also include a final layer of drawing that has been gilded using 24ct gold leaf.

The Bush Barrow lozenge against a black backdrop with size marker underneath.
Bush Barrow lozenge
Paint pot and brush with early designs for Chieftain artwork.
Work in progress on the Chieftain series.
Chieftain artwork from Alchemy exhibition, gilded in 24ct gold.
Chieftain 1 by Ann-Marie James, 2019. Acrylic and 24ct gold leaf on board, 160 x 110 cm.
View of the gallery at Poole Museum featuring the Alchemy exhibition..
Alchemy at Poole Museum - Chieftain series on the walls and Bacchus on the floor.

Video of Ann-Marie James at work on the Chieftain series