Powell-Cotton Museum drawings from 2011


powell cotton museum, birchington, A4, sketchbook, drawing EASTLAND, 2011powell cotton museum, EASTLAND, SKETCHBOOK DRAWING, 2011powell cotton museum, quex park, EASTLAND, 2011, A4 sketchbook drawingHere are some old drawings from 2011. They were done in the Powell-Cotton Museum (a marvellous old museum at Quex Park, Birchington, on the Isle of Thanet).

I love this museum. The Powell-Cotton is almost a museum of a museum in the way it displays its treasures. Objects are arranged in groups according to type (weapons, a wall of Abyssinian Christian religious paintings, walls lined with skulls of horned animals, collections of ceramic objects, local historical finds, and the museum’s famous dioramas of animals). It has the feel of a museum from a hundred years ago and its old-fashioned-ness is part of its charm. It’s the kind of museum which doesn’t tell you how to think about the things on display; you are free to discover wonderful things for your self. These particular drawings are of a couple of the exhibits displayed in the big primate diorama (a chimpanzee and a gorilla mother and child).

These drawings are from a page (from 2011) which I’ve since deleted.


2 thoughts on “Powell-Cotton Museum drawings from 2011”

  1. These are great. You’ve somehow made plain the mixture of life and death, comedy and pathos inherent in a stuffed animal. How would you have tackled them now? Colour? On Dark wood?

    1. They are certainly very odd museum objects. The animal skins have been stretched over wooden frames (they don’t contain the animals’ bones) and so they have a weird uncanny quality of being real and unreal at the same time. I remember was quite open-minded about what it was that I was actually drawing but I couldn’t help but wonder if I was glimpsing something of the animals as they appeared when they were alive. It’s actually quite dark in the diorama rooms and so it was hard to see what I was drawing (a plus and a minus).

      I would have drawn them differently now because I think my drawing has got more sophisticated since I did these. I was aware at the time that I was playing with ideas of these objects being, at one and the same time, representations of living animals as well as being things made from their dead remains – I would try to make more of that.

      It’s a very odd museum and it freaks some people out.

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