Sunday, October 07, 2018

Visiting Rodney Peppe

I've mentioned my love of automata on here before, and so when nearby Compton Verney art gallery announced a "Marvelous Mechanical Museum" exhibition of them, I rushed there in the last week before the 6-month show finished. Well, I'd been busy...

Anyway, the show was good. OK, a bit "high art" in places, but there were plenty of interesting machines on display. I had the advantage of seeing the Emmett train a few years ago so the big reveal at the end of the show was a bit lost on me, but I don't think it's his best work anyway.

The real surprise was an exhibition of work by Rodney Peppe - author, illustrator and model maker. I'd never heard of him, but was slightly familiar with some of his work.

Peppe it seems, like to build models to help him draw the illustrations for his books, and exceptionally fine and imaginative models they are. Some even work, hence the inclusion in a gallery with an automata show.

The models really interested me, but to my great frustration, photography in the gallery was banned.

Not a problem I thought, I'll buy the book. Except when I got to the shop, the book turned out to be a bit rubbish. Put together by someone really interested in the subject's graphic design and illustration work, the models didn't really get a look in.

The terrific boat from the Huxley Pig series appears, badly photographed, in the appendixes at the end along with a couple of other models. Tiny images, chucked in as an afterthought. This is annoying, as the tugboat looked to me to be a very pretty potential modelling project.

To see what I mean, scroll down through the photos in this blog. Not a great picture, but still better than the one in the book!

I'll have to keep an eye out for another exhibition - it seems this is a touring show. I'd like another look as I'm a big fan of oddball models and anyone who builds houses in old boots is doing something interesting.

All is not lost though as there are several books by Peppe, none of which were available from the museum shop, so I'll be trying to track them down for sensible prices in the future. 

1 comment:

James Finister said...

I love the automata group on facebook