Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Classical busts and wash drawings

click photo to enlarge
I was talking with a farmer a while ago and during the course of the conversation I observed that I knew more about medieval ploughing than I did about the modern methods. It was only when I reflected on that conversation some time later that I realised there are quite a few things from the past that I know about in some detail, but when it comes to the modern equivalent I am rather less well informed.

One such example that came to mind recently is the training of architects. It was this Georgian classical bust on the stairwell of the Maister House in Hull that prompted the thought. The work is one of two pieces on brackets that flank a large statue of "Ceres" by John Cheere. The smaller works may be his too. However, I didn't check their provenance because the lighting of this bust, when I reviewed my photograph on the camera screen, immediately made me think of the ink wash and watercolour drawings of the architectural students of the Ecole des Beaux Arts. More particularly I thought of "An Antique Relief" by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, painted c.1886 when he was a student at the Glasgow School of Art. The ability to draw well and render accurately used to be part of the training of architects. It was need not just to sketch basic ideas, to depict their vision before it was constructed, but also to communicate large and small details to the builders so they could turn ideas into reality. I imagine drawing must play a part still in architectural training but technology in the form of the computer probably figures just as large.

So, to make the bust look more like an eighteenth or nineteenth century architect's ink wash I converted my photograph to black and white and slightly increased the contrast.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Nikon D5300
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 35mm (52mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f4
Shutter Speed: 1/60 sec
Exposure Compensation: -0.33 EV
Image Stabilisation: On