Abstract“No noble thing can be Drawn without risk” investigates the role of drawing in teaching the arts of war, surveying examples of ‘fighting books’, manuals of instruction and technique, in the Royal Armouries Museums collections. The paper addresses drawing as language in these manuscripts rather than the efficacy of the fighting techniques illustrated therein. This perspective forms a new approach in military research, which has concentrated upon the developments of technology, and their implications in the field of battle. The title is a twist upon Michel De Montaigne’s famous phrase, and points to the notion of risk which is explored in this paper. Examples of fighting books are drawn from an international, but mainly European range, including MS i.33 the ‘fechtbuch’, Alte Armatur und Ringkunst (Talhoffer 1467) and the Codex Wallerstein. Burge draws upon the drawing scholarship of Deanna Petherbridge in order to explore the language of line within the form of the illustrated fighting book. Further the highly codified system of contemporary martial arts teaching is referenced to examine the concept of risk. “No noble thing can be Drawn without risk” finds that there is an inverse correlation between the risk of certain moves to the safety of their instruction and that, paradoxically, drawing functions to both transmit moral worth, the noble thing, and demonstrate the intensity of the hazard. At the same time, graffitti marks in the fechtbuch i.33 and the brutality of illustrations W.E. Fairbairns books return us to the human cost of war and the loss of a child's innocence.
Burge, Catherine (2015) No noble thing may be drawn without risk. In: Drawing connections: risk and revolution. IDRI. ISBN UNSPECIFIED (In Press)