Monday, November 2, 2009

OLD BOOKS: Sydney Jones' 64-Page Treatise on How to Draw Houses

I have always been a huge fan of good architectural photography, whether it's Charles Latham's classic house images from Country Life or sharp new work from photographers like Andy Marshall at fotofacade.com. Nevertheless, there is something marvelously evocative about superb architectural drawings as well, and I have always been a big admirer of the work of Sydney R. Jones, who's illustrations for books such as P.H. Ditchfield's The Manor Houses of England as well as many other classics, like Old Houses in Holland, The Village Homes of England, and Thames Triumphant resonate so perfectly within these old volumes.

As a result, I was thrilled to add this tiny volume of just 64 pages to my book collection - How to Draw Houses, which was written and illustrated by Jones and published by The Studio in 1946.

Brief and appropriately illustrated by the author, the little book touches on the proper pencils and papers to use, as well as subjects such as proportion, perspective, light and shade, construction details, composition, textures and even thoughts about the illustration of interiors. Jones explains his overall purpose at the outset of the book:
"Because house and home mean so much to the majority of people, it is not surprising that boys and girls, grown-ups, and quite young children also, often, say, " I wish I could draw my house ". This is a very natural remark to make. But before the wish may end in good results, it is necessary to know how to proceed. John Ruskin once said, and with great truth, that almost anyone could learn to draw by really trying to do so. I therefore hope to show the methods of drawing houses, in order that anyone who wishes to try may succeed in drawing his or her own house, and the homes of other people too."

To see more of Jones' work, I'd suggest visiting the online Internet Archive, where a full copy of The Manor Houses of England (no longer in copyright) is available as a PDF here, as well as a number of other fine period books on architecture.
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