Rob Gorrell - Folk Artist

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What would Hogarth Think?

Rob GorrellComment

I am going to be giving a presentation on colonial lanterns at this year's Tinsmithing Covergence, to be held at Sauder Village Ohio.

While doing some research for the talk I noticed that nearly all of the lanterns depicted in the etchings and paintings from the 18th century that I came across, were round.  There are numerous existing lanterns attributed to the 18th century, but it looks like, from this very un-statistical study, that round was the way to go.

In talking with other tinsmiths about this it was pointed out that it is easier to make a round lantern with the tools used in the 18th century than to make a square lantern. So maybe that is all there is to it.

Here is an example from Hogarth:

Here is an example from Diderot:

There are numerous examples on the Sifting the Past Blog showing round lanterns. In fact, of the 18 paintings from the 1700s showing lanterns, only one was not round.

Another thing I noticed is that in the different Hogarth prints that the round lanterns appeared to have narrow dividers compared to other round lanterns I have studied.  So last weekend I set in and came up with a design influenced my the various period examples.

It is really a hybrid of a couple other lantern designs I have worked on, except that this lantern is about an inch more in diameter that my other round design interpretations.

Here is another view. Compare this to the Hogarth image above.

Now I am the first to point out that there is a large amount of speculation and "artistic license" taken with this design. But in my defense, Hogarth did not exactly show me much detail. 

Who knows, maybe Hogarth thought, "you've seen one lantern......"

If you make it to the Convergence, and if you are a tinner you really should, stop by and let's talk lanterns.

 

My version of a round 18th century lantern.

Rob GorrellComment

I have been spending a lot of my shop time learning to develop patterns for tin lanterns based on photographs of original lanterns held in museum collections.  I have not had the opportunity to get my hands on the actual lanterns to see all of the details. However, the museum documentation often gives good details for dimensions of the lanterns.  So armed with photographs, rulers, dividers and overall dimensions I try to work out a new pattern to make the lantern.

The red lantern shown here is my interpretation of the original 18th century lantern held in the collections of the Musuem of Fine Arts, Boston. I have reprinted the image below with permission from the museum.

Photograph (c) Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

In my lantern I used composite mica panels in place of the horn panes. Learning to make the horn panes is still on my to do list for now.

It was an interesting process to develop this pattern as the lantern body is made differently from other lanterns I have worked on. In most other round lanterns I have studied the body is made in one or two pieces with the pane areas cut out.  In the BFA lantern the top and bottom round sections, and the three vertical dividersare made seperately and then soldered together. I can see advantages to both methods and am undecided at the moment as to which I prefer.

This lantern is painted with a barn red water-based finish.

This lantern can be ordered in the shop section of this site.

Trying out my new cart at the Fort Frederick Market Fair.

Rob GorrellComment

A few times each year Historic sites around the country sponsor Market Fairs. These fairs are gatherings for artisans from across the Living History community to present their wares, and for like minded folks to come and shop. Think colonial shopping mall in a field.

My favorite is the Fort Frederick Market Fair held each April at Fort Frederick Md. We have attended for several years and have always had a good experience.  This is where you go to get the "good stuff".

This year we decided that I should try my hand at being a "Street Merchant", meaning that I could roam about selling my wares instead of having a tent or booth in one spot.  I don't sit still very well so it seemed like a good fit.

The cart was well received by the people at that event and there were several cases of severe cart envy among the participants.  Ed Schweinfurth made the cart about 10 years ago and recently passed it on to me. Ed is a good friend and I am very grateful for the chance to use this wonderful cart.  Ed patterned the cart closely after similar carts used at Colonial Williamsburg.

Sales were good at the event and the crowds were large. Shelley and I had a great time and hope that the event was a success for everyone.

 

 

Starting on a new Tramp Art Sewing Box.

Rob GorrellComment

I have been wanting to make a new sewing box for a little while now and have finally started working up the design.  The last sewing box I made was this one.

This time I decided to do a box with a simple geometric design of triangles, then a lid similar to the green box.  To get started I drew a simple pattern for the box sides.  After numbering the parts I realized that I only needed two of the pieces, duh.

From here I cut out all the parts for the first layer. To make the pattern for the next layer up I drew lines about 1/4" in on the pattern and cut it down to the lines. Generally the top layer is made the same amount smaller along each edge as the thickness of the layer below.  Here are some more of the parts cut out.

One thing for sure. I need to get different lighting in the shop for photography.

The top is all cut out, notched and ready to paint. Each layer will be painted and finished before being applied to the lid.

Next I will finish notching the triangles for the sides and start painting pieces.  Hopefully I can post some progress in a few days.