3D Model: 17th-Century Gatehouse, Burton Agnes

The stately home of Burton Agnes Hall and its grounds are one of the favourite places from my childhood, particularly with myself having ancestors from the village, Burton Agnes. The gatehouse is particularly striking as a work of architecture so I had a go at interpreting my own photographs of the gatehouse to create a 3D model in Blender.

Burton Agnes Gatehouse by Hannah Rice
Untextured model. Copyright: Hannah Rice

The building was constructed in c.1610 by the English architect Robert Smythson, well known for his work during the Elizabethan era such as Hardwick Hall and Wollaton Hall. It features many architectural forms which are typical of this period, including the battlements and ogee-shaped roofing. Have a look at Historic England’s entry in the National Heritage List for England for this gatehouse.

I intentionally omitted the walls which extend from the gatehouse as I wanted to focus on the gatehouse structure itself, and similarly I also removed visitor signage. The model did not take as long to model as expected due to the symmetrical nature of the architecture-the mirror modifier tool was very useful!

Quad view of Burton Agnes gatehouse by Hannah Rice
Quad View of the gatehouse. Copyright: Hannah Rice

The Pilgrim Rabbit, St Mary’s Church, Beverley

The “Pilgrim Rabbit” is one of my favourite medieval carvings and is located at the sacristy entrance within St Mary’s Parish Church, Beverley, East Yorkshire.

St Mary's Church, Beverley photograph by Hannah Rice
St Mary’s Church, Beverley. Photo copyright: Hannah Rice

The corbel carving, c.1330, is claimed to be the inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s White Rabbit who leads Alice down the hole into Wonderland. But could the Pilgrim Rabbit be a hare? There are also visual similarities with Carroll’s other character The March Hare, otherwise known as Haigha / The Messenger.

In Through the Looking Glass (Carroll, 1871) Haigha is the personal messenger to the White King and is visually alike to the Pilgrim Rabbit in this accompanying illustration by John Tenniel:

The King and the Messenger by John Tenniel. Illustration for the seventh chapter. 1865
The King and the Messenger by John Tenniel. Illustration for the seventh chapter. 1865

From a visit to St Mary’s Church in Beverley, I created a model of the Pilgrim Rabbit (see above Sketchfab model embed) using photogrammetry techniques – quite a change from my usual poly-by-poly modelling in Blender.

Pilgrim Rabbit Photogrammetry in Autodesk 123DCatch
Pilgrim Rabbit Photogrammetry in Autodesk 123DCatch

To do this I took a series of photographs of the sculpture, around 25, gaining as much coverage as I could from all angles. I then imported these photographs  into Autodesk 123D Catch to create a mesh, and uploaded the obj file along with the texture file to Sketchfab. The model turned out better than I expected, particularly as the area above the rabbit was quite difficult for me to photograph with the sculpture being above head height.

Visualising Hull’s Beverley Gate- Part 2

It has been a Blender-filled Easter weekend where I set myself the challenge to 3D model my own interpretation of Hull’s Beverley Gate in the 17th century- see my first post!

After many hours of tweaking settings, I’m now at the stage where I’m happy enough to share it…

Beverley Gate in Hull digital 3d model by Hannah Rice
Beverley Gate in 1642 digital interpretation. Copyright: Hannah Rice
Beverley Gate in Hull, 1642, digital 3d model by Hannah Rice
Plain model of Beverley Gate scene. Copyright: Hannah Rice

There is always much room for improvement in the modelling process. As an architectural historian my focus is mainly on the building fabric, plan and style but my scenes are devoid from human population for the ‘uncanny valley’ reason. Charles I being refused entry into the city by the Hothams would provide more of a historical context to the scene but it will add many more hours of modelling and research.

The interpretation was created using archival and local studies material held at the East Riding Archives and the Hull History Centre. A publication which provided particularly helpful information was “Beverley gate, the birthplace of the English Civil War” (1990) by  David Evans and Bryan Sitch, featuring a line drawing interpretation which this 3D model is mostly based on- including the Dutch architectural influence, gables and structural form of the two guard chambers.

Beverley Gate in 1642 Hull digital interpretation 3d by Hannah Rice
Where Charles I was refused entry into Hull. Copyright: Hannah Rice
Beverley Gate (Hull) in 1642 3d model by Hannah Rice,
Digital diorama view of Beverley Gate. Copyright: Hannah Rice


Visualising Hull’s Beverley Gate- Part 1

Beverley Gate (Hull), 3D work in progress by Hannah Rice
Beverley Gate (Hull), 3D work in progress by Hannah Rice

With Hull’s UK City of Culture celebrations nearing in 2017 I thought it would be fitting to digitally recreate one of the city’s most historic landmarks- Beverley Gate.

Beverley Gate Remains
Beverley Gate Remains in 2010 (Photo by Chris Coulson, Creative Commons Atribution-Share Alike 3.0 )

At present, the gate’s structural remains can be seen at the west end of Whitefriargate, Hull. For years the remains have been a much overlooked heritage asset, however thanks to a public opinion campaign and talks of regeneration the structural remains are now a designated National Monument (see Beverley Gate listing on Historic England) .

Beverley Gate has a fascinating story and is one of high historical significance. On the 23rd April 1642, the gate was the location where Hull’s Governor, John Hotham, and his son (also named John Hotham) refused Charles I entry into the city- as a result being one of the catalystic moments of the English Civil War (and the subsequent executions of the Hotham father and son). It is a well-known story and gives the site national importance.

Using Blender, my latest visualisation of Beverley Gate will be based on both artist impressions, archival and secondary source material, held at the Hull History Centre, Hull Museums and the East Riding Archives. I’m aiming to digitally model the gate as it was in 1642- this means it will be a complete architectural structure and not the romanticised version which you can see in George Arnald’s lovely painting “Charles I Demanding Entrance at the Beverley Gate, Hull“, c1819- though I’d love to model this version too!

So far I have modelled the main gate structure, drawbridge and surrounding landscape. The next step will be texturing, finishing touches and hopefully being able to upload the model onto my Sketchfab account- more posts to follow!

New models uploaded to Sketchfab

Archives in 3D Workshop

For those interested in learning (from scratch!) how to 3D model historical buildings from architectural plans:



3D Reconstruction: Hotham House in Beverley, Yorkshire

Hotham House, Beverley, East Yorkshire by Hannah Rice. Model overlay on Architectural Design by Colen Campbell, 1715
Hotham House, Beverley, East Yorkshire by Hannah Rice. Orthographic model overlay on the original Architectural Design by Colen Campbell in Vitruvius Britannicus, 1715. Copyright: Hannah Rice.

As the Hotham house in Beverley, East Yorkshire was demolished  over 200 years ago I thought I would carry out some 3D visualisation work on what the building may have looked like in the 18th Century based on the 1715 architectural design.

You may have heard of Sir John Hotham (1st Baronet), who in 1642 refused Charles I of England entry to Kingston Upon Hull, and as a result, contributing to the beginnings of the English Civil War. Over half a century later a member of his extended family, Charles Hotham (4th Baronet), built a grand classical house down Eastgate in the nearby town of Beverley. It was designed by the renowned Georgian architect Colen Campbell who is credited as the founder of the style.

Location of Hotham's house in Eastgate Beverley
Eastgate today where Hotham’s house would have been located in C18th Beverley

Hotham purchased and demolished several properties down the East side of Eastgate to build his new home (East Riding Archives DDBC/16/67).  Built between 1716-1721, the  neo-Palladian house was intended to be a family home yet the house remained empty after Charles’ death in January 1723 and was demolished after 50 years.

Creating the Model in Blender: I modelled the front facade of the Hotham house with as much accuracy to Colen Campbell’s elevation drawing in his published work Vitruvius Britannicus (1715). As with most visualisation works, some interpretation had to be made when thinking about the window styles, doorway and material colour.

Balustrade of Hotham House Beverley, 3D modelling by Hannah Rice
Modelling the balustrade.

Campbell does not make clear which building materials were used. Records show that Hotham purchased local red bricks for the building (Hull University Archives, DDHO/15/4) yet Campbell’s design is absent of brickwork. I decided to texture the facade with a stucco-material as this possibly would have been applied on top of the brick surface. Stucco is also a key characteristic of classical architecture.

Texturing Hotham House, Beverley, 3D model by Hannah Rice
Texturing Hotham House

The symmetrical nature of neo-Palladian architecture meant that Blender’s mirror modifier tool came in handy, saving a lot of modelling time! It would have been useful if Campbell had drawn side elevations, so to interpret the scale of the side facades I used the accompanying ground plan to model an appropriate measurement based on proportions.

Hotham house, Beverley untextured 3D model by Hannah Rice
Hotham house Beverley untextured 3D model, perspective view
Hotham House Eastgate Beverley 3D model by Hannah Rice
Perspective view of Charles Hotham’s house down Eastgate, Beverley. Copyright: Hannah Rice

William Burrow’s 1747 map of Beverley shows the Eastgate location of the house fronted by a possible semicircular courtyard. Modelling the surrounding gardens and wider environment would be the next challenge to progress this model. This brings to light new questions relating to what the surrounding 18th-century Beverley landscape looked like, research into the garden design of the house and whether to populate the visualisation with people.

Hotham House Eastgate Beverley 3d model by Hannah Rice
Copyright: Hannah Rice