Review of Drawing Architecture by Paul Hogarth…
In Paul Hogarth’s 1973 Drawing Architecture we see the artist continuing where he left off with his instructional books which began in 1964 with Creative Pencil Drawing and continued with Creative Ink Drawing (1968) and Drawing People (1971) First published in the UK by Pitman & Sons and by Watson-Guptill in the USA, this 190 page book is still as relevant today as it was in the seventies.
Paul Hogarth was a master of reportage art in particular, he brilliantly combined both architecture and people into his illustrations to set the scene in countries such as Cold War Europe, China, Africa, America, Ireland and the Soviet Union from the late fifties onwards. These ‘how to’ books contain pieces from previous books and commissions for magazines and other authors such as Graham Greene, Brendan Behan and Robert Graves.
Each illustration is accompanied with text giving the background to its origin as well as details of pens, pencils, paints and paper used. The chapters are broken into basic instructions through to separate types of architecture from bridges to castles, commercial and art noveau, to ecclesiastical and Victorian. Hogarth used a number of mediums in his work and each are detailed here, from pencil to charcoal, markers, paint brushes and inks.
For example, opposite is Hogarth’s drawing of the Pagoda of Huang-Shan, in Hankow, China from 1954. Taken from his third book, Looking at China published in 1956, Hogarth drew this on Chinese bamboo paper with both soft and medium Hardmuth charcoal leads. Hogarth enjoyed drawing pagodas, saying his drawings of these were much more stylized and decorative. He was clearly taken with opulence of temples from all Eastern religions and what I love about this piece is the foreground, it gives the pagoda an added sense of greatness and his addition of workers at the foot of the drawing offer perspective as well as awe.
Hogarth loved to travel but England was his birthplace and the start of his artistic career, he taught painting in London and this 1966 graphite drawing of Tower Bridge from his book London a la Mode with Malcolm Muggeridge showcases the chapter on bridges perfectly. In a sign of the times, he describes getting up early so he could ‘catch the surging flow of traffic into central London’. Fast forward to 2019 and that traffic flow is a constant! I always felt that this period was one of Hogarth’s most interesting and his guide to London showed him in a real free and expressive flow and a tremendous foil to Muggeridge’s Victorian attitudes.
Another bridge featured is this, the Halfpenny Bridge in Dublin. Drawn in 1964 and after his wonderful two books with the author Brendan Behan in both Ireland and New York, it captures Hogarth’s style perfectly.
It is a busy scene, it shows the importance of the bridge in people’s everyday lives whilst the background buildings offer us an invaluable record of the place over fifty years ago, The bridge becomes almost secondary and I love how people are drawn going about their daily commute. Remember too that Hogarth did most of his work in situ and so this is as good a capture of 1960s Ireland as one could hope for. There are still copies of his books with Behan and well worth searching out. Behan was a real character, usually drunk but wrote beautifully and these two collaborations show what we now miss and really, what a thing of beauty a book by a great artist and author is. I would urge anyone to look up Hogarth’s collaborations, he understood the authors and his accompanying art captured the essence of the novels perfectly. One only has to look at his work for Penguin and Graham Greene to understand that.
Hogarth loved France as much as he loved water colours and the two often combined, in 1992 he produced a stunning year round portfolio of Provence as a special edition to Peter Mayle’s best-selling A Year in Provence. Opposite is piece from the Daily Telegraph Magazine in 1971, from an article called “Three Glorious Days of Burgundian Bacchanalia” in which Hogarth indulged in his other great passion; gourmet food and fine wine. Hogarth was a connoisseur and loved dining in the great Michelin restaurants of Europe and he also worked alongside the famous Roux Brothers for their cookbooks in the eighties which accompanied the popular television series.
This then, is a really lovely book and whilst not easy to find is worth the effort. There is plenty for those who wish to learn more about art and for those who simply enjoy looking and reading. Hogarth was a one-off and his memory should be kept alive. For more information on his life and bibliography please click here.
Categories: Paul Hogarth, The Reading Room
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