Artist Stephen Farthing RA had a solo show, The Back Story, at the RA in 2010. He was the Rootstein Hopkins Professor of Drawing at the University of the Arts London from 2004-2017.
This drawing demonstrates just how skilled Laura Knight was at looking at something and then making, not a copy of it, but an interpretation of what was going on.
1. Laura Knight's study of a model
As a drawing, the important thing is that Dance imagined it all, but then he put in this big shadow that runs through the middle of the drawing, which gives it a physical credibility.
2. George Dance's dreaming Van Diemen
Drawing doesn’t have to be some big demonstration of skill, it can be drawn onto any convenient surface as an aid to memory, or literally as a way of amusing oneself.
3. Richard Doyle's exhibition catalogue
This drawing was made as part of the preparation for a large picture called ‘The Field of the Cloth of Gold’. It’s looking not only at the shape of an individual’s head but how a crowd of heads might form.
4. John Gilbert's drawings of heads
Here we have a draughtsman staring at a bone and trying to draw it as accurately as he can. It has little or nothing to do with the imagination or art, it’s somebody practising the craft of drawing.
5. Gerard van der Gucht's fifth lowest rib
This is about trying to understand how these bones work together to produce the mechanical effect that allows walking, trotting, running and galloping.
6. George Stubbs's measured drawing
It’s a rather carefully, beautifully made drawing that’s made by combining the imagination with a knowledge of the way things really are.
7. Angelica Kauffman's Rhodope
If you start to look at drawings not as a series of lines on paper but as a meeting of a series of lines and a white metaphysical space, I think you get a better idea of what a drawing is.
8. Henry Hugh Armstead's floating female figures
This drawing has been so heavily drawn that it has ceased to be a drawing, because the paper is no longer playing an active part in our understanding of the drawing, it is merely a support.
9. Thomas Banks's portrait of John Malin
I suspect it’s not really a painting. I think it’s a drawing. What is a drawing? It’s an idea. Drawings are full of ideas, they’re not necessarily full of resolutions.