Hand sketching remains a very important part of the engineers skill set. Its a quick and easy way to communicate complex building details and concepts. Now that we can scan and e-mail sketches it means that little of the detail is lost when compared with the awful quality of faxed sketches in the recent past. The people of Dublin and its surrounds have a great opportunity to see some wonderfully detailed hand sketches at an exhibition in the Phoenix Park this month.
This year is the 350th Anniversary of the establishment of Dublin’s Phoenix Park. It is one of the largest city parks in Europe, being 707 hectares in area. To put that in perspective it is twice the size of New York’s Central Park. As a result of its size there is a large number of historic buildings in and around the park.
To mark the anniversary, the Office of Public Works have commissioned the artist Sheelagh Duff to produce hand sketches of these historic buildings. The completed portfolio amounted to more than 120 sketches in all. Sheelagh spent two years completing them, dividing her time between the Phoenix Park itself (for measuring the buildings and doing initial sketches) and her studio (to apply the fine finishing touches). A large selection of the sketches, 60 in all, are on display in the gallery of the visitors building in the Phoenix Park until the end of November. There is also a book catalogue of the sketches on sale for €4.50. The artist is on hand to discuss her work and I had a lovely chat with her last weekend when we visited with friends. I recommend a visit.
Below are a selection of sketches from the exhibition. The actual originals are of much superior quality but I hope the pictures below still convey the detail and class of the sketches. You can click on the images to enlarge, and remember all these sketches are hand drawn and not even a ruler was used, yes, I had to ask.