Architecture Research England

London architecture sketches.
Door handles, doors – and a cottage.
A window and a house corner in Sissinghurst.
A cottage that made it into the graphic novel.
Another cottage and a window (complete with it’s shutting system).
Chimneys.
Shop window frame details and windows, doors and support beams for little roofs over entrances.
Windows and toppings of fence posts.
Windows, wooden support beams again and chimneys.
Windows, a window shutter, rain pipes and a cloth study.
Roofing tiles, a fence and window details (also shop windows). Oh, and a rain pipe fixture.
A cottage, highlightening the gable decoration fashion.

The depiction of accurate English architecture from the time when H.G. Wells wrote THE WAR OF THE WORLDS was very important to me in the preparation and process of the graphic novel. I had always wanted that when you read the adaption, you can get the feeling that it really was England at the time where the action takes place. Why? Because I see that as an essential part of the magic of this story: Wells himself came from the south of England, and knew all the places where the story takes place like the back of his hand (and you can feel that when you read the novel, he is very precise in giving information about the different locations). In order to save the captivating feeling from the book into the adaptation, a precise orientation towards this fundamental quality was important, and that also includes allowing it to play in the epoch in which it is set. (The latter being also important, by the way, in order to better understand Wells’ intention with the book – critique of colonial politics – but maybe more on that later).

But how do you correctly portray rural England at the end of the 19th century as an artist, over 100 years later? Well, books help, of course, and the English have wonderful books on life in the Victorian Age, in which everyday domestic life also plays a large role. But you won’t find everything that is needed in it either. Likewise, you don’t necessarily find it on the Internet (at least not everything). Let’s assume that I wanted to show a close-up on how one of the characters opens one of these typical English sliding windows and that I also wanted to show the opening of the shutter. To do this, you have to know and understand how these windows are built – but you don’t necessarily find adequate image material on the Internet right away – not at least at the time when I was doing research for the graphic novel.

So there was only one trip to England and research on site. Thank God I was able to do this on another trip in 2014, so I sketched obsessively in Canterbury, London and the surrounding area (a few of the sketches can be seen above). And that’s where I found them, my windows, as you can see.

Blog: The War of the Worlds
Thilos Notes
Blog: 20.000 Leagues under the Sea
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