Monday, 11 March 2013

The Group Project; Week Two

Pudding Lane Productions Group Photo on the British Library visit

In week two the groups, including ours, had the opportunity to visit the British Library for the day. During the visit we were given a fantastic tour of the building learning about the history of the building and how it operates today in a modern society. One of the things I was most fascinated by was the Kings Library tower at the heart of the library. Immediately upon entering the building the tall glass tower which houses books collected by King George III made a huge impression on me and during the tour I had plenty of questions to ask and was fascinated by the pure volume of books kept within the tower, the age of the material and the potentially infinite value of what I found in front of me.

Our group were then given the pleasure to be led to the 'Map Room' within the library to look at originals of the digital copies of various historical maps courtesy of Stella Wisdom (British Library) and Tom Harper (Curator of Antiquarian Mapping). It was a fantastic opportunity to be able to see a selection of maps and other reference material first hand and right up close. The whole group spent a good length of time pouring over the maps and it was a great opportunity to discuss more ideas of what we would all like to achieve from the project. The group/ team were coming up with lots of new inspiring ideas and it was awesome to be able to demonstrate these ideas using the actual maps in front of us.

As we discussed I noticed that one of the larger maps in the room was actually of a much later date than we were hoping to recreate in the project but the smaller map at the corner of the table which was London after the Great Fire by John Leake, 1667 which seemed like the closest we were going to to get to the date of the time we were hoping to construct which we agreed was going to be 'the latest point in time before the great fire'. This was decided as we all wanted to accurately recreate the London streets of the time with no effect of damage or destruction from the fire. It was agreed that this is the map we would work from throughout the project so that we could ensure that there would be a consistency throughout from the whole group.

One of the things I was mostly interested in when surveying the maps was the actual scale of things, something I would take upon myself to look into further in the next week in order to begin to give the group a real idea of things such as the width's of the individual streets to further enhance the accuracy of the project. To quote from the group blog, during our discussions at the British Library, we had gathered some general ideas about what we wanted to create for the project; a gloomy, depressed City of London at the latest point before the Great Fire started, ridden with plague and filth in a sheet of mist and smog. The plan for the following week then was to begin elaborate on our initial ideas and concepts with more in depth concepting and mood boards so that we could begin to establish more definite and detailed plans for a consistent art style. I myself was given the daunting task of concepting for our main focal area, Pudding Lane for week three!

Below are a selection of Photographs I took during the visit to the British Library.

The Kings Library Tower

The Kings Library Tower

These images also show some of the photographs I was able to take of the maps showing great detail.

London after the Great Fire by John Leake 1667, copperplate engraving (the map we wil be using throughout our project)

Key on the map of London after the Great Fire by John Leake 1667

A little more information on the map we decided to use as the main reference point during the construction of our 17th Century London Streets (as shown in the photographs above), taken from the Crytek Off the Map student handbook;
London after the Great Fire by John Leake, 1667, Cpperplate engraving. A map of London drawn after the Great Fire of London (1666) had destroyed most of the land within the city walls. The area which has been destroyed is shown as shaded, with the buildings still standing in profile around the edge. A large percentage of the buildings of London were made of wood, and therefore would not have stood a chance. This map shows the plan for the rebuilding of London, superimposed on top of the shaded area. It also has dotted lines showing the boundaries of the various jurisdictions because, with everything razed to the ground, who could have known where one boundary stopped and another started? St Paul's Cathedral, in the middle, would not be rebuilt for another 50 years.

Below is a clearer image taken from the internet of the whole map;

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