My wife, Victoria, sent me a Facebook post by Mario A. Pita, a son of Cuban refugees who resides in Arlington, Va., and who enjoys posting artists’ work on their birthdays. The birthday of watercolorist James Holland (1799-1870) fell just as I was conceiving a series of posts on architectural drafting tools and their disappearance from the market, but so far I’m not sure any of my subjects until now (“Phiz” and “Antiquity Smith”) used drafting tools in their work. As for James Holland, the Englishman appears to have used drafting tools, but I remain unsure. Painting architecture is not the same as painting nature or humans. Either he used drafting tools to outline the buildings first, or he had good eye for a straight line and the virtuosity of a curve.
You can see, in these watercolors of Venice, the outlines of buildings that might have been drawn with the tools of the draftsman. Readers of greater knowledge of painting techniques will, I hope, reveal whether Holland drew with his eye or used tools to assist his eye, and then washed the scene with watercolors. In some of these the etchings seem to be more evident than in others as a base for the architecture. Look and enjoy! (Click to enlarge.)