Monday, November 10, 2008

Bible Artist's Models

I've received some interesting emails recently that I thought I'd share with you.
Philip Hanna contacted me from Kentucky in the U.S. to tell me that his mother, an Armenian lady, now 86 years of age, has a very interesting friend. Philip's mom grew up in Palestine and her close friend Najibe (Nadia) Kattan was the model for Mary (right) in Elsie Anna Wood's Bible illustrations. Philip received a phone call from Najiba only yesterday. She now lives in Los Angeles. Phil said that whenever his mom sees EAW'S pictures of Mary, she can recognize her friend's face from many years ago. Philips parents served for many years as Presbyterian missionaries in Lebanon.

I also received an email a few weeks ago from Linda Martin in Ontario, Canada whose great grandfather was William Hicks. Hicks worked on a farm in Shoreham Kent, and was the model for Moses (left) in Harold Copping's Bible illustrations.
Linda wanted to see Copping's pictures of Moses to see what her great grandfather looked like. As I still don't own a 'Copping Bible', I forwarded her request onto Dr Sandy Brewer.
Sandy Brewer was also contacted a few weeks back by the son of Henry Wickenden. Henry Wickenden was the model for the African boy in Copping's famous painting 'The Hope of the World'. Although Wickenden was not black, he was chosen because of his thick curly hair!

When I last spoke to Bible artist Keith Neely, he had a staggering 21,479 photos which he had taken of models in Bible costume! And that was for the Old Testament alone!
I suggested that when he and his team finish the 7,600 illustrations needed for the Thomas Nelson Illustrated Bible, that he should upload the best of these reference photos onto the web, or maybe bring out a collection of them for sale on dvd! If you would like to see some samples of Keith Neely's Bible figure reference photos, click here. This is one of Keith's Bible illustrations (right) which is in a different style to the one adopted for the T.N.I.B.
Image © Keith Neely 2008

Valerie Neild from London contacted me to ask if any of our readers might have any more information on Bible Artist William Hole? Valerie is a relative of William Hole and would like to find out more about him. If you have any information, please pass it on to me and I will forward it on to Valerie. Many thanks.


deboraw said...

Graham, Very interesting. Appreciate the post. I find myself studying faces, expressions, etc. as people move and interact around me much more since I've been pondering on 'illustrations'. Maybe I should look through old photos also. Thank you. Deboraw

Bible artist said...

Studying and sketching faces is a good discipline to get into. It's a long time since I did any sketching. Living close to the 2nd largest Jewish community in the UK, you can imagine that there are some great faces to sketch! I've regularly seen a great Moses or Abraham walking along Cheetham Hill Road on a Saturday. Although not everybody likes to be sketched. I remember reading about when Elsie Anna Wood was sketching a man in Jerusalem, he was non too happy about it! So remember, it might be a good idea to ask the person first!

I remember about a couple of years ago, I was having a coffee with my eldest daughter in Waterstones bookshop on Deansgate Manchester, when I saw the perfect Peter! He looked just like I imagine the Apostle Peter would have looked like. I didn't have the courage to ask him if I could take a few photos though!

deboraw said...

I can imagine how it might be just a little touchy asking a stranger if you can take a photo. Lol. But I'm not sure if having someone staring at you (like I do when I study people's faces) wouldn't be somewhat unnerving also. I try to stick with folks I know or situations that wouldn't be obvious. I'm afraid I get myself into enough trouble without staring at But we never seem to lack for excitement. ;p) Deboraw

Bible artist said...

Yes, it's a good idea to start with people that you know! We have a chap at our church whose mother was Jewish. He has a great face that I would like to start with.

I've just added a link within this post to some of the reference photos of Keith Neely. Take a look!