Buckingham Covers - First Day Covers

Chris Draper

 

I began my training at Southend Art School where, under the guidance of my Tutor Robert Knee, I forged an interest in painting and architecture. I had been fascinated by the paintings of Claude Laurraine and Turner since visiting the National Gallery, especially the relationship between the story being portrayed and the built environment. The traditional forms of classical architecture seemed to sit harmoniously between the natural world and society. During this point I was introduced to the complex grammar of the classical language and began to study it intently. It was at this time, in the early 1990's, that His Royal Highness, Prince of Wales gave his Carbuncle speech to members of the RIBA. This was followed by his book 'A Vision of Britain' that formulated a holistic approach to design and traditional form, within the city and world around us. In 1993 I began studying at the newly established Prince of Wales's Institute of Architecture. Its aim was to promote through education an understanding of those traditional values that were lacking in mainstream architectural schools and the industry. Despite its focus on traditional languages of architecture, its curriculum was in fact very similar to that of the Bauhaus from the early 20th Century. The course was very practical and covered painting, photography, brick laying, sculpture, Iron work, classical language, life drawing, and construction etc. It also highlighted the importance of understanding traditional architectural forms and the practitioners who were forming the nucleus of what is loosely grouped as new classical. On completion of the course, I was lucky enough to work over the summer holiday for one of the leading exponents of this architectural movement; Robert Adam.

My architectural education continued at the University of Portsmouth. The school had established an extremely good reputation for academic quality, but also an unusually pluralistic approach to design. Professor Peter Hodson ran the only "classical design" course in any architectural school in the UK. Despite this, the course ran a highly critical approach to design whether traditional or futuristic. This developed a much deeper understanding of the complexity of architectural form in relation to the contemporary world around us and its referencing of the past.

Whilst studying, I continued to draw extensively and have a belief that close observation of the world around leads to a greater connection with the environment. The school in Portsmouth encouraged this approach as a fundamental part of training. I helped to run this part of the course and taught drawing classes on the annual field trip to Rome.

After completing my formal education, I went on to work for several architectural practices. These ranged in style from the contemporary with 'Patel Taylor' to the Traditional with 'Adam Architecture', 'Alex Oliver and Ross Sharpe Architects'. Although diametrically opposed in terms of architectural form all the practices had an under lying premiss of human scale, craftsmanship and the tactile quality of materials.

I made the decision to focus on Illustration 5 years ago and have enjoyed every commission since. I have a broad range of clients whose work covers both traditional and contemporary architecture, garden designers, developers and private clients. I continue to enjoy painting all kinds of subjects, especially aircraft and aviation subjects. They offer a totally different set of challenges to that of architecture. I have recently joined the Guild of Aviation artists and have commissions for a number of paintings from several collectors in the UK Holland and the US. I have an ongoing relationship with 815 NAS based at Yeovilton where I have painted nose art on their Lynx Helicopters.

Collectables Signed By Chris Draper