Drawing Domesticity / by Leo Crane

Architecture Drawing Day at the Royal Institute of British Architects

This season at the Royal Institute of British Architects, artist Pablo Bronstein examines the British fascination with ‘Georgian’ architecture, revealing long-cherished ideals about social aspiration, identity and representation. For Architecture Drawing Day 2017, this was our starting point for a fond look at 18th-century domestic traditions that remain aspirationally fashionable today.

Models Dominic Blake and Roy Joseph Butler set the stage for tea drinking, listening to music, fashionable dress and reading (Jane Austen, naturally), all of which became popularised in the homes of the new middle classes over two centuries ago. The events were hosted by artist Leo Crane.

We began in the stunning Florence Hall with a family-friendly session. Dominic and Roy posed in front of the famous limestone piers carved with scenes of architecture through the ages with views of the terrace beyond. People of all ages dropped in to draw the 20-minute tableaux in a range of materials from the RIBA Learning team’s well equipped store. Children sprawled on the floor or took chairs next to their parents, producing all sorts of expressive and impressive renderings of the scene in front of them.

In the evening, we moved upstairs to the top-floor Wren room with expansive views over London’s sparkling skyline. For this adult session, Dominic and Roy took to the stage nude, with a soundtrack inspired by Marie Antoinette and other Sophia Coppola films. After a number of quick poses introduced by Leo, they brought back the props for four 20-minute poses. Again, people used the full range of materials to create a vibrant and exciting body of work.

It was inspiring to see such a wide range of people, from professional artists and architects, to A-level students and a few bold beginners (although you wouldn’t know it to look at their work). Everyone was generous in sharing their drawings and responding to the work of others, a friendly and inclusive atmosphere, which we took with us to a nearby bar afterwards.


Join us for the final two Starkers events of 2017:

You can find out more about RIBA's public workshops here.