The Invasions of The British Isles
Adam Dant2021 56 x 76 cm
Hand tinted lithograph on 300gsm HP Velin Arches 100% cotton rag
56 x 76cm
Edition of 10
Signed and dated by the artist
The British Isles have not always been so difficult to invade. 8500 years ago when what we now call Britain was still part of the continent of Europe, marauding hordes could just march unimpeded across what was once known as ‘Doggerland’ to claim whatever they wanted.
The founding in around 43AD of the ‘Classis Brittanica’ charged with defending the English Channel marks in effect the birth of The Royal Navy.
In stories of the defence of the English crown numerous cast outs, malcontents and pretenders appear on this map as, religious and family conflict and contested lines of succession see nations across the channel hosting would be usurpers until they were able to muster enough support and firepower to attempt a landing at the coastal home of some like-minded malcontents and launch a full scale ‘failed invasion’.
The French naval force that mounted the last unsuccessful invasion surrendered in the face of what they assumed were legions of British troops on the shoreline. The troops turned out to be thousands of local Welsh Women of Fishguard dressed in their traditional scarlet tunics and tall black felt hats who had turned out hoping to watch a good scrap.
The 1667 raid on The Medway was more successful and one of the Royal Navy’s worst defeats in home waters. Deeply embarrassing for Charles ll the catastrophic conflagration at Chatham docks was famously recorded by Samuel Pepys in his diary as fearful wealthy Londoners fled town.
Invasions are often favoured by the perfect set of circumstances but they are by no means always calculated or strategic. The scourge of west London’s picnickers, the green parakeet, despite often being described as an invader is simply a mere unwitting migrant in search of suitable new climes carried to the British Isles by chance, much in the same fashion as the vapourising laser death ray enabled space ships of the opportunistic alien invaders of the future.