7. Drawing the Line


    Pencil drawing is an excellent method for producing good, accurate renderings of church monuments, especially while in the church. This is what the etchers, such as Charles Stothard and Thomas Hollis, used to do all those years ago in order to produce preliminary drawings for their finished work. I use a series of pencils from hard to soft with which it is possible to produce clear lines and good shading. Highlights can be added by using a plastic eraser to lighten the shaded area. But pencil drawings, no matter how fine they may look, do not reproduce particularly well on the internet. Compare the drawing on the left of the lady at Wear Gifford, on the banks of the River Torridge in Devon, which I drew in the church around twenty years ago with the pen and ink drawing on the right, which I produced at home more than forty years ago. However having seen Charles Stothard's original pen drawings, I think I shall have to sharpen my rechnique!

    Pen and ink drawings are ideal for drawing monumental effigies and reproduce very well indeed; they can even be made to look rather like etchings. I executed this drawing of Prince William of Hatfield, young son of King Edward III, by copying an etching by Charles Stothard. The lady in Wear Gifford is under a very low arch and behind the choir stalls and so is difficult to draw and not easy to photograph well from a good angle. William of Hatfield is in an even more difficult position in York Minster so how Mr. Stothard produced his original drawing is  quite amazing. 

 My drawing was executed by using a series of Rotring pens (which used to be used by architects) on a special paper called CS10, which was manufactured by papermaker Frisk. The pens have a tubular nib, which is best used perpendicular to the paper, and  can be used with Indian Ink so give very fine and sharp results indeed. The pens are still available although they are becoming increasingly expensive, perhaps because architects and others are now using computers more and more for their work. They can also be infuriating: the pens, especially the fine ones used in the drawing, are apt to block from time to time. Shaking them often unblocks them but there is a danger of a blot of ink ending up on a nearly finished drawing or, perhaps even worse, on the carpet. Be careful not to lose your temper with the pen: violent shaking can result in the nib hitting the desk and then you might as well throw the pen in the bin, as well as ending up with a damaged top to the desk.

  Frisk CS10 paper, unlike the confounded yet wonderful pens, was truly magic. It had a hard surface which sort of went right through to the back so that you could correct a mistake, remove a blot and, especially useful, gently scratch the line with a scalpel to make it less black which makes the drawing, as may be seen, resemble an etching. If you removed an error there would still be a usable drawing surface below. The surface itself takes a fine line without it bleeding: some papers are almost like drawing on blotting paper in this respect. I used to scratch out with a number 15 Swann-Morton blade, then use an ink eraser or stick and finally polish the paper with a pencil eraser.

  Alas, Frisk ceased production of CS10 paper years ago, so long ago that I have not been able to find a photograph of the drawing pad on the internet. They continued making drawing boards for a few years but that manufacture too is now no longer carried out. I do have a few - very few - sheets left but after that? I have never found a replacement to CS 10; art dealers have sold me what they tell me was an equivalent but it never was and would not do what the old magic paper used to do.

Swann-Morton scalpel handle and detachable blade. You can buy 'disposable' all in one scalpels but they are nowhere near as robust. With these  the handle is tough and will last for ever; the blades are carbon-steel and very sharp but will blunt. But you have to inset and remove the blade manually, so great care must be taken. I hold the blade in its foil container to do this and use it as a cover all the time. Some people use forceps but they just do not have the control, in my own view.


Intaglio Printing

     The earliest illustrations of church monuments were produced by intaglio printing; these are also the most beautiful. This, of course, was well before the invention of photography and the first stage involved drawing by pencil the monument in the church, sometimes a very difficult task in itself and I greatly admire the artists who undertook this skillful work. The image is then transferred onto a metal plate by creating a number of lines or dots cut into this plate, the various tones being created by varying the depth of the line and by cross hatching. There are other methods and one of these will be briefly mentioned below. The plate is then inked and passed though a press to produce a print. The plate is then cleaned, reinked and another print made, although eventually the plate will begin to show signs of wear. Different artists may be involved in the different processes of this work.

    Can you see a problem here? The image on the plate has to be drawn in reverse otherwise the resulting print will itself be reversed. However there are ways around this problem, obviously, but I will not describe the minutia here. Three methods of producing the plate will be described below.

    The prints made by intaglio printing are often loosely - although incorrectly - called etchings; this latter term, in fact,  refers to just one of several processes by which  prints can be made. Etching, engraving and aquatint will be described here but there are others such as dry point and mezzotint; readers of  ghost story writer M. R. James will be familiar with the last term. There are intaglio processes on other materials, such as woodcuts and wood engravings but these will not be described here.


   In this process
the lines are cut directly into the metal plate (a steel plate, in the example shown on the right)  by using a tool called a burin (left). The depth of the line is controlled simply by engraving it more deeply but the direction of the line is changed by rotating the plate not the direction of the burin.. A burin as shown, as may be deduced, has a wooden handle which is held in the palm of the hand; a number of different blades are available. This is very skillful work and a very lengthy process, taking days, weeks or even months to complete a plate. Woe betide you should you make a mistake: you just do not! However the results are truly magnificent: look at the engraving of King Henry IV and his Queen, Joan of Navarre, from Canterbury Cathedral on the right. Here the drawing was executed by architect Edward Blore, which was a major achievement in itself and if you are familiar with this monument you will, like I am, be baffled by how on earth he managed to do it! As is sometimes the case the another hand carried out the engraving: here it was John Henry Le Keux. I certainly admire the skill and dedication of these Victorian gentlemen.

   I have never attempted engraving and, because I  do not have the skill to do so,  the time to develop that skill, nor a master to teach me, I almost certainly never will. I have tried to use a burin on softer copper plate which was easy enough, but to execute a full detailed plate is certainly another matter.

   The plate then has to be printed and this process will be described below in the etching section. Etching was introduced because the process is speedier and more forgiving than engraving.


     The term etching strictly refers to the process of cutting the very fine lines in a metal plate by a chemical process, rather than cutting them directly with a burin, as is done in engraving.  As mentioned above the finished  image, often called simply an etching, is strictly a print. The plates are made of copper, zinc or occasionally other metals and the chemicals used - called the etchant - are nitric acid, ferric cholide and or, again, occasionally other chemicals. I use copper because of its beautiful colour and because it was used by etchers in the past; ferric chloride because it is a powder one dissolves in water and this can be easily sent through the pos. Suppliers and the post office are probably more reluctant to send concentrated nitric acid by a similar method!

      The first stage is to clean and degrease the copper plate otherwise the ground will not stick.  The ground is a waxy like substance which is melted onto the plate while it lies on a hot bed which is heated by gas or electricity. Then this layer of this ground is  rolled so that it is absolutely even. The ground is to prevent the etchant biting into the plate: you will soon be 'scratching' through the ground (a process called needling), so exposing the underlying copper and this is the first stage in creating the actual image. The back of the plate may already be covered in a resistant layer but, if not, a liquid ground or varnish must painted on to prevent the etchant  from biting the copper on the back of the plate.

   Next you smoke the ground by holding the still warm grounded plate over smoking tapers or a candle. (shown below, left) This is great fun and makes you feel you are using a centuries old technique, which of course you are, and not tapping on a keyboard, as I am doing at the moment. The purpose of this is to give the ground a blackened appearance so that it is easier (more visible) to draw on and so needle the plate.  Oh, and don't forget to turn off your smoke alarm: Rembrandt and Stothard didn't have one!
    Then the drawing is transferred to the plate by the following process: you first make a tracing of, for example, your pencil drawing of an effigy. This need only be an outline tracing as only the general proportions need to be copied. You then turn the tracing paper over and lay it on the grounded plate with a sheet of trace down paper between them (white or yellow, is best), remembering to place it the correct way up. You then draw with a pencil over the lines you made on the tracing paper (but on the other side!). Trace down paper resembles old fashioned carbon paper in allowing images or text to be copied onto the paper, in this case the grounded plate, below so you will find there is an outline, white or yellow, of the reversed drawing on the ground over the copper. This reversed drawing will print the correct way in due course.

   Now we have a problem: the reversed drawing on the ground is mainly in outline but you need to fill in the detail and shading from your non-reversed drawing. So now you can cheat and  return to the 21st century but only for a while: scan your drawing into the computer, reverse it and then print the reversed image. Computers, scanners, and printers do have their use, after all, but if you are  tired of things not working and screen messages you cannot understand, work through a mirror as did the etchers of old!

   Now we are ready to needle the plate: scratching though the ground to expose the underlying copper, being guided by the lines made by the trace down paper and the reversed image you somehow prepared. Try to just go through the ground and not cut into the soft copper, or errors will be more difficult to correct. Here you draw the image outline and detail with all the shading by a variety of cross hatching; you cannot at this stage alter the depth of the line (this will come later) but you can make it wide or narrow. An etching needle is shown below right, but there are other designs available.
   When ready
the plate is immersed in the etchant - usually nitric acid or ferric chloride - for a measured length of time - several minutes - and then removed. It is then  washed and examined. If you want the lines deeper to give a stronger line on the forthcoming print the other lines are stopped out by painting a liquid varnish over these lines. The plate is then returned to the etchant bath and again left for several minutes but this time the etchant will only bite into the lines which have not been stopped out. This process may be repeated several times, etching deeper and deeper lines. This process requires a good deal of experience  to develop the necessary skill.

  Initially the copper plate is inked: the aim is to cover all of the plate with ink and especially to force the ink into all of the etched lines on the plate. Etching ink is very thick and this work is carried out with the copper plate placed on a heated bed. Black ink is shown here but other colours are available. You can also produce coloured prints with different coloured inks but this technique is beyond the scope of this short article and certainly well beyond my skill! This is very messy work!  

  Next you wipe the ink off again! Well, not all of it just that which is on the surface of the plate and not in the etched lines. This is a difficult procedure as if any ink is left on the surface you will end up with a dirty looking background (that is, if you want it white, as in the etching of effigies) when you come to produce the first print: and then you will have to wipe all of the ink off the plate and start all over again. There are various techniques for removing all the surplus ink from the plate, one of which is to wipe it with the side of your hand, rather like brushing crumbs off the table for someone else to Hoover up!

Inking the Plate Wiping the Plate

    Now you are ready to print the plate: the copper plate is laid on the bed of the etching press, which is a special rotary press rather like an old fashioned mangle, protecting the bed and blankets with clean paper to avoid any ink marks. This is then covered by the dampened printing paper, then by a protective paper layer and a series of thick blankets to even the pressure from the rollers. You turn the wheel and the bed with the plate and the paper passes between two rollers.  This can be quite hard work but the large and very heavy  press in operation in the photograph is geared to make the work easier.  Etching paper is quite thick and needs soaking in water for a period before printing can be done.

   The plate, paper
and protective layers on the bed of the press thus travel to the other side of the rollers and now is the moment of truth. In the penultimate photograph below our etcher has thrown back the blankets, which passed through the rollers with everything else and is just about lift the protective layer from the paper underneath. You can see the image showing through the damp paper. In the final photograph, she lifts the damp paper  away from the copper plate and there is the image. Success! Note that the image covers the whole plate so this does not need to be wiped completely clear of ink as when trying to achieve a white background such as in etchings of effigies.

   If you are not happy with the result, or if you want another print...or another, you clear off all the remaining ink from the plate and start again.

An Etching Press Turning the Wheel
The Work Appears at the Other End
Lifting the Protective Paper Which Keeps the Blankets Clean
You Can See the Back of the Work Thru This Paper
Lifting the paper back and showing the printed image.
The copper plate is below

  If you think about it - you are printing from a metal plate with ink in fine lines, not a raised surface and you are using damp paper:  it shouldn't really work or at least not so as to produce such fine effects: but it does!

Other Methods  

  There are other ways
of producing plates for intaglio printing which you are much less likely to come across and these may be found on the internet in articles about intaglio printing, if you are interested. I will mention just one other method here, not because I have or have ever seen original prints produced by this method, but because it is a technique that I have used myself on two or three occasions; this is called aquatint. This method, although related to etching,  produces prints which resemble pencil drawings rather than those produced by  etching, which resemble pen and ink drawings. It is difficult to see at this magnification but compare the image on the left, which was produced by aquatint, with that on the right, which was produced by etching. On the left the tones are solid blocks of shading while on the right the difference in tone is produced mainly by cross hatching but also by different depths of the incised line. This latter process,  produced by using different times in the etching bath, is actually similarly used in aquatint although for whole blocks rather than individual lines. Aquatint can be combined with etching to produce a line and wash effect: this was used on the print on the left.

  The method of aquatint is, in outline, thus: again you begin with a clean, grease free copper plate but this time instead of covering the plate with a melted, solid ground, it is covered with powdered rosin, a solid form of resin obtained from pine and other plants; rosin is also used by violinists and ballet dancers. The aim is to spread this rosin powder evenly and completely over the copper plate. This is difficult to do well but there are aquatint boxes to carry out this process so as to achieve the desired result; these can be operated by turning a handle manually so spreading the powder but there are also mechanically driven ones. These boxes are expensive to buy: my limited aquatint work was carried out in a professional studio.

 It is possible to spread the rosin powder by a simpler and considerably cheaper method. The rosin powder is placed in a silk bag and simply shaken over the plate; I have never used this process but it rather sounds like one of those procedures which is considerably easier said than done. It does have one advantage in skilled hands: with the box the rosin is evenly spread but with a silk bag, it is possibly to vary to amount of rosin over different areas of the plate. This may produce interesting (and possibly unpredictable) effects but my interest is to simply produce a record rather than any artistic effect.

 This spreading of rosin powder
will simply dust the plate but the rosin will not adher to it, so the plate has to be taken (with great care: eject the cat, turn off the fan, and close all doors and windows!) to the heated bed which is used for melting the ground in etching. The plate is then warmed until the white rosin dust begins to melt and turns yellow; it is then removed before the rosin completely liquifies and spreads over the whole plate. This result  will produce nothing! What you are trying to achieve are dots of rosin spread evenly over and fixed to the plate. The desired apperance are tiny islands of rosin grains with bare metal between them. If you now etch the plate in the acid bath the result will be tiny tiny raised islands of unetched metal, which have been protected by the rosin, surrounded by a sea of etched and so very slighly lower bare metal.

  If you now ink
the plate as before, the ink will remain in the 'sea' while the 'islands' with be bare uninked metal, and the printed result a uniform gray area depending on how long you have left the plate in the etching bath. Actually it will not really be uniform at all but rather like a  photograph in reverse: the 'islands' all white (the  paper) and the 'sea', which holds the ink like the etched or engraved line, a shade of gray. But like a photograph, unless a very grainy one, it will look a flat gray. Not very exciting but now if you use stop out varnish as in the etching process, the stopped out areas will appear white and the other areas, depending on how long they are in contact with the etchant, will turn out to be increasingly darker shades of gray. The aquatint on the left was begun with a line etching for the outlines and the aquatint used later for the shading.
  Note that
several of the etchings you may find in the works of Stothard and T & G Hollis appear coloured; although coloured etchings can be produced by a technique using different coloured inks, these are not the method used in those works. Rather they are hand coloured etchings, each print being hand coloured after they were printed. Actual coloured etching  is beyond the scope of this article and quite beyond me as well.

The Artists

    Charles Alfred Stothard (1786-1821) was the son of the painter Thomas Stothard RA by his wife, Rebecca Watkins; incidentally Thomas was the son of a publican and was born in the Black Horse Inn, Long Acre, London. In 1807 C. A. Stothard was admitted as a student of the Royal Academy and in 1811 exhibited his first historical painting. In the same year he published the first part of what was to be the twelve part work, The Monumental Effigies of Great Britain. Charles himself executed the pencil drawings of  all the monuments in the various churches and subsequently reproduced the majority of them as etchings. The artwork was accompanied by information about the monuments themselves and those they represented. Charles Stothard died before the work was completed so the etchings in the last two parts were executed from his drawings by other artists. All the parts were bound in a hefty book with an introduction, including a life of the artist by Alfred John Kempe, his brother in law, in 1832.

   In 1809
Charles Stothard made the acquaintance of Alfred John Kemp, a fellow antiquarian, who would later assist with the text of Monumental Effigies. Alfred Kemp was the son of a bullion porter at the mint and had a sister Anna Eliza to whom Charles became devoted.
   In 1815
the artist was employed by Daniel Lysons to produce drawings for the latter's topographical work, Magna Britannia, and he journeyed throughout England to carry out this work. While he was away Mr. Lysons procured Charles the post of historical draughtsman to the Society of Antiquaries in London. In 1816  he was employed by that society to make drawings of the of the Bayeux Tapestry. At this time the tapestry (actually not a tapestry at all but rather an embroidery) was stored in a roll on a drum which was unwound for visitors; today the display is more convenient for visitors!

   The artist made three journeys to post-revolutionary France, these being in 1816, 1817, and 1818, where he sought the effigies of the early Plantagenets. It had been assumed that these effigies had been destroyed during the French Revolution, when there had been a wave of destruction of monasteries and churches, rather similar to that during the Dissolution of the Monasteries in England in the 16th century. The burial place of four of the early Plantagenets was at Fontevraud Abbey (Maine-et-Loire) and here Charles discovered the effigies of Henry II; his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine; their son, Richard the Lion Heart; and their daughter-in- law; Isabelle of Angoulême, the wife of their son, King John. The Abbey had been turned into a prison by Napoleon but the artist discovered the effigies preserved in a 'cellar' there. I am uncertain what is meant by 'cellar': this may refer to the Romanesque Kitchen (similar to the one at Glastonbury, England) or to one of the underground passages with which the Abbey abounds. He also travelled to L'Epau Abbey near Le Mans (Sarthe) where Berengaria of Navarre, wife of Richard the Lion Heart, had been buried. This abbey had been converted into farm buildings but Charles Stothard discovered Berengaria's effigy there too; this must have been during the 1816 visit, as he records that he returned the following year to make a drawing. At Le Mans itself  he made a drawing of the enameled plaque that had originally hung over the tomb of Geoffrey Plantagenet in Le Mans Cathedral; I do not know where he found this monument but it is now preserved in the new museum in that city, Le Carré Plantagenêt. He also visited Caen (Normandy) to record the tombstone of Queen Matilda, wife of William the Conqueror, which presumably was, and still is, preserved in the Church of the Trinity there. All of these drawings were converted into etchings by Charles Stothard himself and may be seen The Monumental Effigies of Great Britain. In 1816 the artist also visited Paris where he made a drawing of the effigy of Bernard du Guesculin, then at the Museé des Monuments. This effigy was originally at St Denis and has now been restored to that cathedral. The story of the destruction and recovery of the monuments is described in the Paris page of this website. In 1817 he visited Chartres Cathedral  (Eure-et-Loire) and recorded two of the standing figures on the south door, and on the same trip he  visited Compiègne (Oise) and recorded a medieval effigy there; I have not been able to locate this effigy to date.

Many French monuments had been destroyed but many had not. Perhaps the French were more careful with their cultural heritage than were the English, and especially the Scots, but, more likely, people had become more sensitive to their heritage during the three hundred years between these two waves, as well as valuing things for their historical and artistic worth rather than destroying them for what they assumed they represented. So we can thank Charles Stothard for discovering these effigies and  to at least have contributed to their preservation, and the fact we may see them today. It is to be regretted that his own monument at Bere Ferrers  has not received the same care,  the inscription being now virtually obliterated.

In 1818 Charles  married Anna Eliza Kemp and his new wife accompanied him on a final (1818) visit to France; his wife wrote a detailed account of their journey, and so began her career as a writer. They first journeyed through Normandy and visited the church of  Our Lady and St Laurent at Eu (Seine-Maritime), where they descended down a ladder into the unlit crypt through a hole in the pavement of the nave. The monuments were originally in the body of the church but only the effigies survived destruction, being thrown into the crypt. The artist recorded three of these monuments there, although there are now several more, all restored and which may  be seen in the crypt, now lit and accessible via a staircase.

   The Stothards  visited Rouen, Paris and then Bayeux (Calvados) where the artist completed the drawings he had begun earlier, of the famous tapestry, aproject that he had taken him three years.

   They left Normandy and travelled into Brittany, seeking two effigies of the Dukes of Brittany at Ploermel (Morbihan), which had been moved to an Ursulines Convent. Charles executed three drawings of these two effigies; they were later moved in 1821 to St Armel's Church, where there are now two further effigies. Next they visited Josselin (Morbihan) where they found the effigies of Oliver de Clisson and his wife Marguerite de Rohan, which were badly damaged with several fragments in a garden. The artist executed a drawing of these effigies, which are still in the Basilique Notre-Dame-de-Roncier in the town. The next place visited was Vannes where, in the ruins of the Church of the Cordeliers, the couple discovered two broken effigies, one being of Arthur Duke of Brittany -1 (c. 1330) and Charles duly recorded them. The effigy of Arthur is said to have been repaired and on display but to date I have been unable to locate it.

   He did not only draw monumental effigies but other sculpture and views of the environment as has been indicated above. At some point the couple must have visited St Maurice's Catherdral at Angers (Maine-et-Loire) where Charles recorded the figures around the doorway.

   These drawings of French effigies were intended to be included in a further book, a companion volume to The Monumental Effigies of Great Britain, although some of the etchings in that latter book did include effigies he had recorded in France: these were relevant, being of members of the Norman and Angevin houses of England's ruling families. This unfortunately was never to be, although Anna Eliza did keep his drawings in an album or albums. These were dispersed at some later time, possibly following her death. Two albums of drawings of monumental effigies came up for auction several years ago and were published in the Journal of the Church Monuments Society. (Vol.XIII 1998). I do not have access to the original drawings but I will add my own pencil drawings of them to this site in due course.

   In 1819 the drawings of the Tapestry were completed and presented to the Society of Antiquaries together with a paper on the dating of this magnificent work. Later that year the drawings were published and Charles Stothard elected a Fellow of the Society. In 1820 the artist worked on the ninth part of The Monumental Effigies and in the autumn of that year the couple visited the Netherlands.

  In 1821 Daniel Lysons commissioned Charles Stothard to visit Devon to make drawings for the Devon volume of Magna Britannia, so he left London on May 16th, rather reluctantly without his wife who was now in the later stages of pregnancy. He worked at Linton, Coombe Martin and Ilfracombe, travelling mostly by foot; he reached Atherington - where he made drawings of the excellent double monument on May 24th. He spent the night of the 25th - a Friday - at Hatherleigh, where his journal ends.

   He arrived at Bere Ferrers on the Sunday afternoon, so had spend all of Saturday travelling, a distance of some thirty miles. He met the Rector -2, Mr. Henry Hobart, in the churchyard of the parish church, St Andrews. I know the route well and it is quite possible that Charles Stothard, who was young and clearly very fit, could have walked all the way. The Rector give permission to the artist for his project which was to draw the stained glass window at the east of the chancel, even borrowing a ladder from a local gardener and arranging for it to be set up in St Andrew's for Charles to begin work on Monday morning; furthermore he invited the artist to stay at the rectory  for as long as he needed to complete his work.

  Charles Stothard began his work as planned at ten o'clock the following morning. The Rector  arranged for his curate, a Mr. Servante, to accompany the artist to the church and remain with the artist a short time to make sure he had everything he required. At two o'clock in the afternoon Mr. Servante visited the church to see how the work was progressing: the ladder at this time was in its original position, to the north of the altar but the artist indicated he would soon be moving the ladder to the opposite side. The Rector was visited by the local doctor and he was asked by Mr Hobart to call into the church to see how the work was progressing and to remind the artist that dinner at the rectory was taken at five in the afternoon.

  However, the artist was destined never to return to the rectory as the doctor found him lying on the floor, unconscious but still alive. It was discovered that the ladder had sustained a broken rung and that the artist had fallen and struck his head on the slab with the effigies of a knight and lady which was nearby. Within three minutes of the doctor's arrival Charles Stothard died.

  Mr. Hobart attempted to trace Charles Stothard's family, and  found an envelope in the artist's pocket on which was written the name and address of a London publisher, to whom he wrote a letter explaining what had happened. Bere Ferrers is a remote village by road and must have been even more so 200 years ago, so Mr. Hobart explained in this letter to initially go to Plymouth and take a boat up the River Tavy to 'Beer Church Town', as it was delightfully known then. The publisher replied two days later to say the artist's father, Thomas Stothard, had left for Plymouth that morning.

  The inquest found no suspicious circumstances and it must be added that the gardener, a heavily built man, from whom the ladder was borrowed, stated that he had been using it regularly. The artist was buried on the 4th June that year: his grave stone and further information is shown below.

Above left: St Andrew's in Bere Ferrers where Charles Stothard was accidentally killed. Above right: The brass plaque marking the place where he died. Near right: The stained glass window he was drawing when he fell. Center right: The chancel at Bere Ferrers. The plaque can just be made out in front of the monument. Centre left: Charles Sothard's grave stone in the church yard below the window he was drawing. The stone is very eroded and now virtually illegible, from the wind, rain and spray from the River Tavy. The stone is now resting on the ground and clamped to the church wall. There are no official burial records but various notes indicate this this is the site of his burial. I presume a path has been excavated around the church. Far left: Etching of the monument in the chancel.

   Anna Eliza Stothard, Charles's widow, gave birth to a daughter, Blanche, on 29th June 1821, just a month after her husband's death. Sadly the little girl died at six months of age on the 2nd of February the following year. Anna Eliza and her brother, Alfred Kempe, to whom I have alluded above, completed the work on Monumental Effigies, now using other artists to prepare and print the plates from the drawings that Charles had executed. These artists included Charles's brother, Robert Stothard, and Edward Blore, the architect, who has been mentioned on these pages. The etchings of the double monument at Atherington, which Charles Stothard had drawn on his Bere Ferrers trip, was etched by one C. J. Smith.

   I find it curious to relate that Anna Eliza Stothard married Rev. Edward Bray, the Vicar of Tavistock, the year following her husband's death. We cannot know the exact circumstances of this, we never shall, but she mentions in a letter, very peculiar events. During this second marriage she continued and developed her writing career, which included topographical works, biographies, novels and romances. She returned to London after her second husband's death and died at the grand age of 93.

 -1 I assume that this effigy is of Arthur II, Duke of Brittany, who died in 1312. The is confirmed by comparing the drawing, by an unknown artist, on the right to Charles Stothard's drawing of Duke Arthur; although the work shown is nowhere near as finely executed, they are similar enough to be considered to represent the same man. As mentioned, although this effigy, seems to have been badly damaged when the Stothards visited, it is said to have been restored ,although I have been unable to locate it. Unfortunately I do not have access to the original Stothard drawings.

-2 The rector of Bere Ferrers is given the curious title of archpriest. In earliest times the archpriest was the head of the priests of a diocese and an archdeacon was the head of the deacons; the meanings of these terms and the function of their offices has changed over the years with an archdeacon now having jurisdiction over an archdeaconary, a subdivision of a diocese. An archpriest is now just a curious - and rare - title, although there are associated privilages. An archpriest had a supervisory roll - but not jurisdiction - over a number of priests, with the archpriest being the priest of the principle parish, in other words with a similar funtion to the modern rural or area dean. The number of archpriests diminished over the years, especially following the Reformation, until now there appear to be only two, at Bere Ferrers and at Haccombe, also in Devon. The title of archpriest was confirmed as late as 1913. In theory the archpriest is not under the authority of the bishop but only acknowleges the Archbishop of Canterbury although, in actual practice, the usual procedure of the church heiarchy is followed. The title archpriest does not follow the incumbent should he move to another parish, but remains with the parish.

      I was given a course in etching by my wife as a birthday present, at a studio near Gunnislake in Devon which, by a curious coincidence, was about six miles from Bere Ferrers.


    George Hollis (1793-1842) & Thomas Hollis (1818-43) Father and son who began work on what was to be a continuation of Charles Stothard's Monumental Effigies of Great Britain in 1839, following the premature death of the latter. For example, Charles Stothard never executed an etching of Richard II and Anne of Bohemia, in Westminster Abbey, but these are included in the Hollis collection; whether Charles Stothard had intended to do so, or perhaps he made the preliminary drawings only, I do not know.  George is described as an engraver and his son, Thomas, as a painter and draughtsman. Initially Thomas executed the drawings while his father made the etching plates. George died in 1842 so then Thomas continued the work alone, executing the original drawings as well as making the plates. Unfotunately Thomas died  of tuberculosis the following year  at the early age of twenty-five so the work was never completed. I am afraid I have no images or or further information about this father and son.

   Their work was published in a similar form to that of Charles Stothard but there is no accompanying text.

Some Further Thoughts
Terms, Use, Misuse, Abuse

  The word 'print' appears to mean several different, but loosely related, things, as well as meaning different things to different people. In one sense - the one used here - it means the reproduction of an image often by mechanical, chemical, or electronic means; sometimes mass production.

  It took many years of apprentice to a master artist and training before Jan Van Eyck would be able to paint his masterpiece The Marriage of Arnolfini (I use this as an example, it being my all time favourite), and then immense skill and a long time to actually produce  it. It is a one off, not only intended to be but really could not be anything else. But I do have a copy on the wall I can see from here but it took many centuries for photography and printing to arrive and reach the standard of my print. The painting is considered art but the reproduction of it is considered to be technology - still very skillful technology - but technology nevertheless. The print was also relatively cheap because it can be as is mass produced.
 Intaglio printing is different in that all the stages are regarded as art, both the initial drawing, needling the plate, etching the plate, and printing from it, although the latter stages may be regarded as more technical, and may be carried out by different hands. Of course I am rendering a church monument in my work not, in the strict sense, being 'creative' if 'art' is defined by that work. A series of print may be run off from a single plate - but this is a relatively slow process and hardly mass production. The plates will eventually wear so that later prints become increasingly unsatisfactory so that the run will come to an end. Are these prints 'originals' like a painting is a curious question? They are considered to be so, unlike mass produced prints of a painting

 Sometimes an artist will announce a 'limited' print run and consquently these prints are much more expensive and one can also proudly be the owner of No 6 (or whatever), signed by the artist too! The artist defaces the plate after this limited print run so that no further prints are possible. I personally consider this practice artificial and a somewhat  somewhat dubious one to increase the price of the prints, but it is nevertheless quite accepted. However the next example seems even more dubious.

  Not very long ago you could easily download images from the internet; there appears to be no legal restriction on this or they would hardly be there. You can also print them and produced quite a good result as long as the image is not too small and you have a good quality printer. Images are compressed and reduced in size when the are uploaded onto the internet and this will also affect the quality of the result. I do not know the law regarding this printing: if the image is out of copyright - remember Charles Stothard died 200 years ago - there is presumably no problem but if the image is still covered by copyright this may well be a different matter. I presume printing one for your own use is acceptable or a 'blind eye' approach is employed but actually selling one is almost certainly a breach of laws relating to intellectual property rights.

  Recently a new phenonomen has appeared: you will find copies of Stothard etchings or other artworks over printed with the logo or other defacements by an image library so that printing it will not produce a satisfactory image; unless of course you care to spend a time on Photoshop and even the the result may be not quite satisfactory. However if you search further you will find an unmarked copy which you can download. Remember some of these are out of copyright. I looked for a photograph of a certain person - I can no longer remember who - and there it was with the dafacements mentioned above. However two or three images along there was the same image without the defacements; not quite the same image, however, as it was reversed. Do the image libraries obtain public domain images, modify them slightly, deface them, take out a copyright and put them for sale on the internet. Surely not. 

A Conclusion
The Pencil is Mighter than the Camera

   Many will disagree with me but I believe accurate drawings or etchings of church monuments give a far better representation than the best of photographs. And I believe there are two principal reasons for this.

   Church monuments are difficult to photograph. A little thought will guide the photographer, of course: how am I going to visually convey the appearance of this monument to someone who has never seen it? A visual 'description' is far better than a tedious and wordy written one. Better than a thousand words, as is often said. But how to do it is a challenge.

  The main problem is photographing effigies themselves, which are often tucked under arches, sometimes very tight ones, or way high up on tomb chests. A bird's eye view of the effigy is an ideal view, especially when it is supplement with side views and details of any interesting points. Skillful photographers with sophisticated equipment can often achieve remarkable results, although this is sometimes not possible at all or leads to distortion from the use of ultra wide angle lenses. Very skillful artists - like Charles Stothard himself - are capable of rendering such high placed effigies, bird's eye view and all, as if by magic or a ladder.

  The other reason is that the camera does not see exactly what you see. It cannot by explained by in photography or physics, especially optics, why this should be so: rather when you look at an effigy your brain processes what you see. Particularly if you have an experienced eye, your brain will actually enhance the image by augmenting the worn, damaged parts and diminishing the graffitti and other such marks that have appeared over the years. For example in Pickering, North Yorkshire, there are two alabaster military effigies, one just a trunk and the other whole but very worn. There is a pattern of chess rooks around the bascinet of the former, while the other has a scarcely visible chess rook on his jupon. You have to examine the effgy carefully to notice this rook and you may not see it at all in a photograph but a drawing the artist can enhance this rebus (Roucliff family) and make it quite clear.

  Compare the accurate etchings of Stothard to photographs of the same monument, and this will be seen clearly.

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