Art and Archaeology
I thought it a good idea to set up a blog to keep others informed of what is going on in my world, especially as far as art and archaeology are concerned. So here is a bit more information about me!
I am a student at university, hoping to do an MA in archaeological illustration next year (I have just sent off an application form). Most subjects mix well with art, not least history and archaeology. The illustration of artefacts is very important to assist archaeologists in understanding the minutest of details, and creating a picture that is clearer and can sometimes be understood more easily than a photograph. I am especially interested in the reconstruction of artefacts and the people who used them. Landscapes and environments also fascinate me - I have been studying Southwark in London for a long time from a historical and archaeological point of view. The wealth and abundance of archaeology in London is spectacular, as can be seen on the Museum of London Archaeology site.
Southwark is of particular interest to me because I think it is often overlooked as an area to intentionally visit, and is perhaps only passed through by people on their way to work or to other places. It isn't a very beautiful part of London, but it holds so many fascinating people, places and objects together within such a small area. It is an atmospheric mix of tall dark converted warehouses, bridges, markets, abandoned wharfs, tidal inlets and council estates, not to mention the railway lines that cut and disect nearly every street, splitting apart communities, and adding a subterranean feel to the area.
Sadly, Chambers Wharf and cold stores on Bermondsey Wall, built in the 1930s, were recently knocked down. I went to take some photos of them for an art project, and saw that there was a huge space where they had been - the only sign that they had ever been there were some piles of rubble behind boarding. The wharfs gave a somewhat derelict feel to the area, but they were very impressive buildings, and during their life they provided so much employment for the surrounding communities. They were even used for shelter during the Second World War. I included them in A Walk South of the River - my walk through Southwark. As far as I know they are to be replaced with flats. But of course urban regeneration is necessary and inevitable for the survival of Southwark, and the wharfs didn't really have a place in today's society.
I always think it would be great to be able to step back in time and to have the working docks and warehouses to draw and paint on location - think of all the smells and sights, sounds and colours! But then these areas were notoriously unpleasant in the 19th century - at least with all the nice surrounding flats and offices of today, Southwark feels much safer! If you want a reconstruction of what these riverside areas were like, visit Sailortown at the Museum in Docklands - it is meant to be a representation of 19th century Wapping High Street. How accurate it actually is remains to be seen, but it smells pretty bad!