Castle Museum Visit & Lecture

Following suggestions from the last crit I had and my own volition, I decided to again visit the Norwich Castle Museum and generate some studies from the taxidermy there. They also currently have a really interesting and peculiar exhibition on, ‘Curiosity’, which I thought was definitely worth a look.

I always enjoy spending time in the museum, I’ve spent endless hours sitting down with my sketchbook, getting thoroughly in the way of everybody, drawing the dioramas and taxidermy in the natural history wing so it was nice to get back in there and draw. Especially nice that its actually aiding a project this time!

I found quite a few ‘ugly beasts’ which fit perfectly into my project. The strange, more unknown and niche creatures. I tried to keep a good range of materials to hand to get the studies done; I worked with charcoal, watercolour, graphite and coloured pencil for these drawings, playing with the line thicknesses and values to try to get a handle on the texture and feel of the animals rather than the initial appearance of them. I feel it went well! Really happy with the drawings I produced.

I also had the opportunity to get some studies from Belfast museum earlier in the summer holidays, below are some images from that sketchbook…

I need to go back to some museums and galleries to collect some more primary research/sketches/studies. I’ve taken plenty of photos and made a few studies but I definitely need to start collecting in bulk. More quick drawings thumbnails, doodles, gesture sketches etc… I need to collect more colour studies while in the museums as well, I’m finding that my work is going down some pretty unfruitful routes in terms of the palettes I’m choosing, so I need to investigate colour more.

I also had the opportunity to attend a lecture in the museum; Art, Collecting and Poetic Knowledge. The lecture was sparked from the Curiosity exhibition currently in the museum. It explored the act of collecting and how artists throughout the years have interpreted this act into their own work, using the format is different ways to communicate different meanings/concepts.
I took numerous things from the lecture that I didn’t expect to, namely the idea that a bestiary is a collection. This initially seemed common sense; its a collective of elements bound together in a way that keeps them separate from other elements. Or, the dictionary definition(s):

a group of things or people: a rambling collection of houses.
• a group of accumulated items of a particular kind: a record collection.

With this justification in mind, I can take the project’s format into different directions. I have been entertaining the idea of creating something, alongside the book, which could provide a more tangible and three dimensional elements to the projects outcome(s). Bearing in mind the idea of a collection and considering the various examples of artists work that the lecturer displayed at the talk, I can now consider creating a ‘collection’ of these beasts in a ‘cabinet of curiosities’ style of display.

I’ll be researching this idea further and looking more into the bare concept of a ‘collection’ and how it can influence the development of BA7 and BA8.


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