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:

 

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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

Pixel Pasts: A Resource for Exploring Cultural Heritage in Videogame Worlds

Pixel Pasts Homepage ScreenshotMy Pixel Pasts project has been in development for over a year now but I am very pleased to announce that I have made the website live!

The project is an online database which acts as a catalogue of real-world art, architecture, places and people recreated in videogame environments. The aim of the catalogue is to be a starting search point for those wanting to begin their research in historical visualisation in games. The catalogue is ever-growing, and one day will include images. If you want to suggest any database entries please let me know via the Pixel Pasts website!

Visitors will be able to search via game title, developer, publisher, historical asset name and type (architecture, art, person, place etc), period, style and location. In addition to the general search bar I am currently working on a more advanced search tool for the “Discover” page.

There will also be an articles feature if anyone interested in videogames and historical visualisation would like to contribute?

There is still a long way to go and lots of coding tweaks to make, however the basic functions of the database are in place- please bear with me whilst I make the site more user friendly!

The idea for the project came about back in early 2014 when I was writing my MSc dissertation on the pedagogic potential of using videogame technologies for exploring architectural history. One thing which would have made my research a lot easier would have been a catalogue of historical buildings recreated in videogames, both accurately or implied by the Developers. So then I started developing Pixel Pasts as a response to both my own research need and a love for historical visualisation in videogames.

My thanks in particular go out to Simon Stamp of Block for his coding expertise and assistance with the database. Look out for updates and I hope that the site will be of use to those interested in historical visualisation.

www.pixelpasts.com   —  Twitter: @PixelPasts