Girl could play Sir Walter Raleigh in ‘Boyhood’ re-enactment

PUBLISHED: 14:32 16 August 2018 | UPDATED: 14:32 16 August 2018

Budleigh Salterton Art Club and Fairlynch Museum are looking for youngsters to take part in a re-enactment of John Millias' famous 'Boyhood of Raleigh' painting. Picture: Rob Coombe for Matt Austin Images.

Budleigh Salterton Art Club and Fairlynch Museum are looking for youngsters to take part in a re-enactment of John Millias' famous 'Boyhood of Raleigh' painting. Picture: Rob Coombe for Matt Austin Images.


A girl could play the part of a young Sir Walter Raleigh in a re-enactment of a painting depicting a scene from the adventurer’s childhood despite concerns that the artist would be ‘spinning in his grave’.

The chairman of Budleigh Salterton Art Club, John Washington, says they are looking for girls and boys to play the parts of Sir Walter and his half-brother Humphrey Gilbert in a recreation of the John Millais’ painting ‘The Boyhood of Raleigh’.

John, who himself will play the part of the 19th century artist, says they welcome anyone – boy or girl – wanting to play their part, adding: “One of my friends told me that Millais would be ‘spinning in his grave’.

“However, we had three pairs of children performing at the previous re-enactment in May – including a couple of girls – and they all really enjoyed finding out about Raleigh and Millais.

“It would be a shame to exclude anyone from a fun event like this.”

The art club and Fairlynch Museum - where the painting is on loan from the Tate Gallery, in London - are organising the re-enactment as part of events to mark 400 years since Sir Walter died. The painting, created in 1870, shows Sir Walter and Humphrey Gilbert by the Raleigh Wall on Budleigh seafront and a sailor with his arm outstretched.

Youngsters between the ages of seven and 15 – both boys and girls - are now being sought to recreate the painting on Monday, August 27, between 2pm and 4pm.

They will be joined by other volunteer actors bringing an adult Sir Walter and the sailor to life.

John added: “Elizabethan costume is available and all that’s needed is to sit still for 20 minutes or so and show what a good actor you are. It helps to look at the painting first.”

The original painting forms part of Fairlynch Museum’s Raleigh 400 Exhibition.

There is still free admission to the museum until it closes for the winter in October, but there is a £3 charge for the Sir Walter Raleigh exhibition.

Anyone interested in taking part in the re-enactment should ring Michael Downes on 01395 446407 or email

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