Friday, August 31, 2012

The Ethiopian Eunuch

I'm presently working my way through the Acts of the Apostles. I've calculated that the whole of Acts will be completed in 130+ pictures divided into approximately 25+ sets. (That's a very rough guess!)
A few weeks ago I finished illustrating Acts 8, (the Ethiopian Eunuch). The story is retold in 6 pictures. Picture 1 shows Philip approaching the Eunuch's chariot. Picture 2 (above right) shows Philip speaking to the eunuch. Picture 3 shows them traveling and reading the Torah scroll. Picture 4 (below left) shows the chariot stopped at some water.

When I began research for this set I really struggled to find references of an Ethiopian chariot. There was nothing in my book collection, or in my local library, or on the internet! I finally decided to take a look at how other artists had tackled an ethiopian chariot. Some artists had stuck to the traditional, high fronted, Roman type chariot that was entered from the rear. I admit that, when you think of a chariot, it's hard not to think of this particular type! The problem here though is where would the eunuch sit in a Roman chariot? One artist who has used this design showed the eunuch sat on the floor at the rear of the chariot facing backwards with his legs dangling over the edge! This doesn't quite seem appropriate for an ethiopian dignitary!

I eventually came across a depiction of the Ethiopian Eunuch's chariot in a picture by Wilhelm Ebbinghaus. His version of the chariot was particularly interesting - similar to an oxcart in design, (although far more elegant), having two large wheels, forward facing seats, room for a servant stood on a platform at the rear and a driver up front. What was also interesting was that the elaborate ornamentation decorating the chariot was Egyptian in style - as was the clothing worn by the Ethiopian servants. After a little more research I discovered that, after centuries of trading together, there were strong cultural influences shared by the Nubian & Egyptian Kingdoms. I'm not quite sure who influenced who first as I've read conflicting accounts, however there's no doubt that these neighbors had much in common including architecture, (pyramids etc), and the style of dress. I decided to go with Ebbinghaus' basic design but add more of the Egyptian features that I've used in the past.

When drawing the ethiopian eunuch himself I used photographic reference of an ethiopian man as there are distinct differences in the features when comparing Ethiopians to those who inhabit other parts of the African continent. Picture 5 shows Philip baptizing the Ethiopian Eunuch and finally picture 6 shows the eunuch alone with his servants. They're all looking around surprised as Philip has been caught away.

More chariot trivia: Apparently early chariots had four wheels, more like a carriage with larger wheels to the rear. These were used for ceremonial use whereas the, more recognized, two wheeled chariots were used for racing or in battle. The Egyptian ones were very light and could to be carried over rough ground when needed. Look forward to your comments!

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Joys of Blogging!

I think all bloggers will agree that one of the great things about blogging is the friends that you make from all around the globe! I'm really thankful for all the amazing people I've met through the B.I.B. Every now and again I get sent something in the post from A blog reader - which is the icing on the cake! This last week, (actually it was a few weeks ago when I wrote this post), I've had two such parcels.The first came from Dr Sandy Brewer who sent me all her duplicate Elsie Anna Wood posters. I've never seen these posters in-the-flesh before and they really are superb! Many thanks Sandy! If you've never come across Bible artist Elsie Anna Wood before, then I would recommend the posts below:
Elsie Anna Wood.
More Elsie Anna Wood Bible Art.
A Gift Returned with Love.

The second (very large) parcel came from John and Sheila Wastie in Shrewsbury.John sent me almost the entire collection of 'The Bible Story' magazines published by Fleetway Publications Ltd in the sixties. John also included some 'Look and Learn' magazines. What was really exciting about this was that he had included the issues from 26th September 1964. This is when the Bible Story was absorbed into Look & Learn. I always wanted to see these issues to see how much of the Bible story magazine survived, and for how long it lasted.Following the amalgamation only three pages were dedicated to the Bible story. This soon dropped to two, then one, and sadly by the 26th December 1964 'The Bible story' magazine was no more! Many thanks to John for helping me fill in this gap. I explained to John by email that, although I already have the full collection of 'The Bible Story' in it's original binder, I've not been able to use them as the whole thing is so big and heavy and I don't want to risk taking any of the magazines out in case I damage them. Now that I have all the loose magazines I can easily use them for reference.John also sent me some 1968/9 issues of 'Tell Me Why' magazine that I hadn't seen before. All these magazines for children were in the same large format and all published by Fleetway and all boasted an incredibly high standard of illustration. The only other one I remember from childhood was 'Treasure' which also included a 'Stories from the Bible' section. Many thanks again to Sandy, John and Sheila.