Art in Focus

Phillip Hermogenes Calderon, the artist who painted Queen of the Tournament was an English painter of Spanish and French descent.  He studied art in London and Paris.

Calderon exhibited his first painting at the Royal Academy in 1853 and thereafter became a regular exhibitor.  He was elected to the Royal Academy in 1867.

He was one of the founder members of the St John’s Wood Clique.  These artists specialised in historical or biblical scenes depicted in a romantic or dramatic light.

In this painting the knight on his knee has won his battle and then chosen a queen to crown him. This explains the faces of the women behind her who perhaps wished he had chosen them!


Exploring the Painting

Have a good look at this painting and think about the following questions:

  • What do you think is happening here?
  • What kind of room do you think these people are in?
  • How are they all related?
  • What time period do you think this scene is set in?
  • Does it look like it’s from a myth or bible story?
  • Do you think all of these people are from the same social standing?


  • Make a crown – follow the craft video and make a crown of your own!
  • In a group of three take photographs of each other in pairs crowning one another. Feel free to share these to our social media channels!

Make a Paper Crown

Creative Writing

Pretend you’re a stage director and that the people in the painting are stage actors. Think about the following and write a set of stage directions for the queen, the knight, the ladies behind the queen, the men behind the knight and the crowd in the background.

  • What story would you set for the cast as a whole?
  • What would you tell the queen that she should be thinking about?
  • What would you tell the ladies behind the queen to talk about?
  • Where have the crowd come from?
  • How should the men behind the knight be holding their bodies? Are they knights too?
  • Where should the casts eyes be?

Also have a think about practical things like how you would create perspective on a stage and how you would make sure everyone could be seen!