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170708 | Armourer Terry English and photographer John Mason make calendar with women as historical figures | Cornwall Live

Armourer Terry English and photographer John Mason make calendar with women as historical figures

By WBgdavies | Posted: July 08, 2017

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It is not often you see a Samurai warrior lurking in the bamboo at a Cornwall public gardens, but that is just what happened at Trebah this week.

The presence of a model dressed head to toe in an incredible costume was part of a photo shoot by John Mason and Terry English for a new calendar.

But this is not just any calendar, it features creations by one of the world's leading armourer who lives in Angarrack, Hayle, shot in infrared to give them an unusual look.

It is the result of an idea born two decades ago which never quite got off the ground for renowned armourer and prop designer Terry.

The shoot in progress. Pics and video by Sally Adams

It features women dressed as some of the most notable male characters from history, plus a few strong women, and asks "what if" they had all been women and what difference that might have made.

"I tried to do this calendar twice, but it didn't work out and I shelved the idea for 20 years," Terry said. "I met John at one of my shows and he showed me his photos in infrared and I thought wow."

The pair have been working on the project for two years, grabbing what time they an between other work to do the photo shoots, most of which have taken place in Cornwall, but also in Portugal and Madeira.

As well as a calendar, which is expected to be for 2018, Terry hopes to produce a behind the scenes book, with the stories behind the costumes as well as the photoshoots.

And those costumes include ones from the film 1986 film Aliens and the armour worn by Milla Jovovich for the 1999 Hollywood film Joan of Arc. Other costumes work by the likes of Rowan Atkinson for television adverts are being used to portray other characters.

Among those who will feature are Genghis Khan, Boadicea and the Japanese Samari - in a costume originally made for Alexis Sayle for an advert.

"The photos are stunning. They are magical. John has an amazing eye for photography and sees the big picture and I see the detail. It is nice to see my work being used differently.

"The photos are so different, they are quite mind-blowing. I am hoping it will be successful," said Terry.

Terry, who owns English Arms and Armour and has been armourer to the Queen, has suited up Hollywood stars for decades, including the body armour worn by Bill Paxton's Hicks in Aliens, the mask from The Man In The Iron Mask starring Leonardo DiCaprio and armour for a 10ft troll in Harry Potter films – not to mention Arnold Schwarzenegger's Mr Freeze armour in Batman & Robin.

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He made 106 pieces for the 1981 film Excalibur, starring Patrick Stewart, Helen Mirren and the late Nigel Terry, who played King Arthur in the 1981 film and lived in St Ives in his later years until his death last year.

He was also behind the glittering suit of armour worn by Zeus, King of the Gods and ruler of Mount Olympus played by Liam Neeson along with other costumes in the remake of the fantasy epic Clash of the Titans.

In a career spanning four decades, Terry has designed and made arms and armour for dozens of films, dressing a host of illustrious names, including Richard Gere and Sean Connery.

The globetrotting Londoner moved to Cornwall in 1983 to escape the rat race and has a workspace which is a treasure trove littered with armour and weapons, complete with a bust of Schwarzenegger and a life-size model of Russell Crowe.

A former theatrical costumier, who became an expert on armour after restoring and repairing the stock of suits, one of his more unlikely early jobs was designing the badges for the saucy 60s comedy, On the Buses.

His eclectic body of work also includes Terry Gilliam's Jabberwocky, a shoot he recalls as a crazy mix of black soot, mud, tar, wind and rain, as well as the chilling adaptation of Ray Bradbury's sci-fi novel, Fahrenheit 451.

A personal favourite is clearly Excalibur, John Boorman's gritty tale of King Arthur's legendary sword, which will mark its 30th anniversary next year.

His latest creations are some horse armour and two elaborate fantasy helmets which feature in Transformers: The Last Knight, the latest in the movie blockbuster franchise.



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The shoot in progress. Pics and video by Sally Adams

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