You will see from the previous post I visited the ruins of the ‘fake’ Gothic mansion of Duckett’s Grove over the weekend. In a way, some Victorians did to their mansions what Peter Jackson and other modern film makers did in feature films such as ‘Lord of the Rings’ – they created fantasy worlds. Having survived the violent war years these families, in the relatively peaceful years of the 19th century, employed architects (in this case Thomas A. Cobden) to rework their former castles and fortified houses to resemble fairylike castles of a more romantic age. Unfortunately, this fantastic building was destroyed by fire in 1933 and was a ruin until recent attempts at restoration. Scattered around the site are what remains of the various Victorian ‘follies’. One interesting feature, in the overgrown woods, is a miniature turreted entrance which passed over a river, now long gone. I intend to paint an oil painting based on this feature.
The photograph shows the remains of an idea, a concept which must have been part of a garden setting. Probably not a formal layout but a woodland feature. The abandoned look and state of dilapidation will make an interesting painting. I will try and give it a slight 18th century treatment, resisting the dark, almost gloomy atmosphere.
From a purely technical point of view there are a few basics which will have to be worked out before I start the painting. The composition, especially the position of the horizon line, how much of the scene to include and the shape of the final painting will have to be considered.
I find ‘thumbnail’ sketches are the best way of resolving these issues. By constructing the scene as pure line work, every bit of the scene will be analysed.
As a result of the initial sketches I think a little bit of restoration of the buildings will be needed and the river made to flow again.
More in the future…