The North Bar (Beverley, East Riding of Yorkshire, UK) is a Grade 1 listed, medieval gatehouse or “Bar”. The Bar was constructed in 1409 from locally sourced red brick and features ribbed vaulting and a buttressed façade. The north façade features the coat of arms of the Warton family.
The buildings adjoining the North Bar are intentionally left untextured to distinguish the medieval gatehouse from its surroundings, including the Bar House (17th-century) on the right-hand side of the North view (the default view for this model) . This model was created using polygon modelling in Blender.
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.
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!
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.
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:
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.
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.
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…
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.
My 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.