Monday, 10 November 2008

Colours of the Cut

Wow, its been so long since we last posted! And not for lack of happennings either; the fact that its been a hectic few weeks, with a lot of moving about has contributed to the lack of blogging. There will (hopefully) be a few blog in quick succession now we both have internet access for a few hours - in the Cambriridge University Library.

Firstly though I'd like to say a huge thank you to all the readers of the blog who sent me birthday presents! The most recent arrival (late due to it being difficult to source) was a book that Jim of nb Warrior had recommeded that I read: Colours of The Cut, by Edward Paget-Tomlinson. I have, ever since getting into the world of the canals, been excited and inspired by the beautiful signwriting of the old working-boats, and of the new boats that draw on this tradition in contemporary signwriting. It was given to me by James' paternal grandparents, avid blog-readers - so THANK YOU!

Colours of the Cut is compiled from a series of short articles written by E P-T, for Waterways World in the '80s and '90s. Meticulously researched and beatifully illustrated in simple gouache paintings, they together form a compendium of signwriting examples found on a myriad of canal carrying companies' working boats of the early C20th. Many of these boats no longer survive in their original liveries if they survive at all, so the use of old black-and white photographs was vital - it may see like a contradiction in tems but often these are the only record of how the boats were coloured. Amazingly, it is possible to get a good idea of the colours, by using careful analysis, comparison, and written descriptions.

It is my plan, when I can afford it, to redo the signwriting on the Duck, in a way that will certainly be influenced by the old working boats' liveries! It will be a challenge, but I can't wait. Eventually, I'd love to do signwriting full time - with my passion for type and font design, combined with my love for the world of the canals and their traditions, it would be my ideal job!
When I can afford some paints and brushes, I'll also get to work practicing my roses and castles!

1 comment:

  1. I must have spent a good couple of months in the pages of that excellent book. The illustration for the post 1920s Fellows Morton and Clayton livery was the inspiration for Syncopation
    although the idea for the tuscan script came from Tony Lewery books.