Archaeological illustrations

My art degree is in Ceramics and with a lifelong interest in archaeology and ancient history, it was an easy step to become an archaeological illustrator.

While teaching ceramics in London schools, I spent  the summer vacations working on  excavations; my first experience as an illustrator on an archaeology site was  at Can Hasan, Turkey.  The following two summers I worked at a Bishop’s Palace site in Genoa, Italy, drawing pottery and Venetian glassware. Then in 1976 I had the opportunity to go to Belize to work at Cuello with Dr Norman Hammond and at Stann Creek with Dr Elizabeth Grahm.

I was immediately drawn to every aspect of the country of Belize, with its tropical climate, wonderful wildlife, and ancient ruins.

I gave up fulltime teaching in 1980 and joined the Lamanai Archaeological Project. I have worked as the project illustrator ever since.

The excavations, which were then directed by Dr David Pendergast, produced a large number of vessels, many of which, after some restoration, were complete. Illustrations of ceramics and other artefacts are done in pen and ink and conform to certain standards and conventions   so as to be suitable for publication.

Special drawing pens have to be used to get a consistent line, and there is a device for drawing accurate parallel lines which is how colour is denoted, an orange slip has lines diagonally across the vessel and red slip has lines going in the other direction. Unslipped surfaces are denoted by stippling, as are the forms of sculptural objects.

Flints are drawn with mapping pens to get a sweeping tapered line to show how the chipped surface is configured. There are over 1000 pots and small finds at Lamanai which have been illustrated and have now been digitized, to enable them to be accessed by researchers.

The question is sometimes raised as to why pottery vessels are still being drawn in these days of digital photography and other methods of recording. Although some of these new methods are very useful and can be quicker, there is no substitute for an artist/archaeologist looking at the profile and general form of the vessel, and patterns or carved designs on the surface; these can be very hard to see if the artefact is eroded, if there are is only a partial vessel available with sections missing, or even perhaps if the light is not very good for taking photographs, a very likely occurrence if working in the field.

I  also illustrated artefacts of other materials, which also have their own conventions and style of drawing, although there is a bit more leeway. These included objects made of stone –flints and jade, bone, a carved stelae, and friezes and masks from the excavated temples.

Using architectural reconstruction drawings by Stan Loten and Claude Belanger, project architects at Lamanai, I have painted many watercolour renderings of the building phases through time of the major structures – the Temples, the Spanish Churches and the elite residential and administrative complex. My illustration work at Lamanai continues, under the current director, Dr Elizabeth Graham of University College London.

Shown here are a few of the drawings of artefacts from Lamanai and Marco Gonzalez (Belize).


Ceramic

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Architecture

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Stucco Decoration

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Stela

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Portable Objects

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Interested in buying prints or replicas

Most images can be produced to customer specification; please send details of the space in which you intend to place the artwork, or budgetary guidelines, along with any other information you feel will help.

I can provide prices for work on canvas, watercolour paper and prints.

The prices shown below are only intended as a guide as there are various options available for most of my work.

Oil Paintings: Prints can be purchased on canvas from £70, watercolour or art paper from £20. Paintings can be produced up to 23″x 33″. Original canvases can also be purchased.

Ceramic Replicas and Sculptures: All ceramics are handmade to order. From £60.00

Lamanai Pictures: Prints can be purchased and produced up to 16½”x 23″.

Lamanai Rubbings: Stela 9
Multi -coloured – as shown – $350 US
One colour – dark blue or terracotta – $250 US