Tag Archives: Burslem conservation area

Castor and Pollux – Symbols of Brotherhood and Unity

Gemini is the sign of the zodiac from 21 May to 21 June and depicts the mythical twins Castor and Pollux, the names of the brightest stars in the Gemini constellation. Twin sons of Zeus and Leda, they appeared in both Greek and Roman mythology and were worshipped as gods who helped shipwrecked sailors.

This association is linked to the natural phenomenon called St. Elmo’s fire which occurs during certain stormy weather conditions. It appears as a glow on the top of tall pointed objects, such as the masts of ships, and is often accompanied by a cracking noise. When stars appeared on the heads of Castor and Pollux during the Voyage of the Argonauts, the twins became known as the protectors of sailors. From that time, sailors believed that St. Elmo’s fire was actually Castor and Pollux coming to protect them during a storm.

The Romans also considered Castor and Pollux the gods who watched over horses and their riders. There is a lot more to read up on these two but to summarise – they stand as symbols of brotherhood and the bond that unites two people even after death.

When I completed these paintings, I wanted to add something celestial so I added tiny dots of pure gold, starry highlights above the genuine earth and mineral pigments.

These roundels can be found on the Wedgwood Institute, Burslem (below). It was funded entirely by public subscription from 1859 onward and built with the intention of making art, science and literature available to all. At the time, the estimated cost was £4,000 and the six year construction period began in 1863 with an official opening by Earl de Grey in 1869 as a library and school of art.

The facade is spectacular for all the sculpture, symbolism and stories woven in. Looking at the band of sculpted panels – these depict the working stages of pottery manufacture. They are elevated above the window arches.

Above these are the months depict the turning of the year and the continuous cycles of life. High at the top are the astrological signs of the celestial heavens which crown the arches with jewel-like mosaics.

This style of architecture is known as ‘Venetian Gothic’ and was made popular by the Victorian art critic John Ruskin. I have a book ‘John Ruskin Artist and Observer’ which gives an overview of the scale of artistic skill, passion and observation he had for life – put it on your birthday wish list – it will fire you up to sketch and draw!

Coming back to these drawings/paintings all completed using hand made paint with natural earth and mineral pigments. Here are May and June, the months which span Gemini. May ‘depicts a young woman growing mature as the plants are maturing in the ground’.

Let’s not think too far ahead but already June is ‘depicting an older man shearing a sheep’

All the original artworks for the months and zodiac signs are now available to buy from Barewall Gallery Burslem. When you buy through Barewall, you also support the livelihood of the Burslem community so more people benefit. After all, I am only painting what another artist has created a century before me!

Card sets are also available to buy in my Etsy shop. Can’t find what you need – don’t hesitate to get in touch!

As ever, thanks for your time reading!

Ronnie 🙂

Shake a leg for #sot2021

sketch of feet in Stoke on Trent
Feet up Hanley Duck

Funny how waiting in a queue is now something I enjoy. There’s always something to draw. I started with one foot, then a bit of leg then another…

Back to this month. I’ve had a great time sketching in Burslem, the mother town of the Potteries,  starting with this one of Market Place, one of the streets which I’ve already drawn formally a few years ago which you can see here.

urban sketch of the Leopard Burslem
Post Office (new-ish) and the Leopard, Burslem

Good to see the repairs on the Post Office by Horsley Huber Architects looking nicely weathered in.

I then moved down to St John’s Square to sketch the New Inn.

sketch by ronnie Cruwys of New Inn Burslem
New Inn, Market Place, Burslem.

This Bank Holiday Monday the town burst into life with its summer festival “Our Burslem Unites

Stoke Urban Sketchers got together for the event and to enjoy capturing the flavour of the day. Here are a few of mine.

sketch of Burslem School of Art from the Wedgwood Institute
Looking out from those big Wedgwood Doors

urban sketch of burslem

fun and games in Burslem
Fun and Games on the Corner of Queen Street

Burslem Unites urban sketch ronnie cruwys
Hook a Duck – a prize every time

Thanks for reading,

Ronnie

Burslem Regenerates

East end of Market Place, Burslem, south side
East end of Market Place, Burslem, south side

Just a short post this time as I am about to head off to a big family gathering. Thought you might like to see a few more drawings which I have completed and posted over on the main website www.drawingthestreet.co.uk.  I would be delighted if you would click over and have a look.

Before you head over, a few words about the Post Office on Market Place, Burslem, below. This was a project which the Burslem Regeneration Company and my former workplace, Horsley Huber Architects had a hand in reshaping together with the owner.

Although the reinstatement of the original window layout is a relatively small job in the building industry, I do have an idea of the background work that has gone on behind the scenes by all parties to make this happen, there is more than meets the eye!

That said, this building now looks so much better and you can really see the overall impact when you look at the street as a whole.

Burslem Post Office, the Leopard, Market Place
Post Office and the Leopard pub, Market Place, Burslem

Burslem Post Office before the conservation work began in June 2011
Burslem Post Office before the conservation work began in June 2011

Moving down towards the west end of Market Place, there is a narrow gap, Market Passage where there is a faded mural.

Burslem Bear Market Place
The Burslem Bear

I would never have noticed the Burslem Bear had I not drawn this! A sign of Burslem’s history…

the Burslem Bear
The Burslem Bear

Market Place, Burslem
Market Place, Burslem

That’s all for now, thanks for reading.

 

 

 

Burslem’s on the drawing board

Market Place North side small
Market Place, Burslem, North side

I have begun to draw up Market Place in Burslem. I took photographs on the most beautiful day last year and got a great welcome and a complimentary cup of coffee from the good ladies in Silver Coin Amusements, pictured below. As promised, they are on my drawing!

Silver Coin, Market Place, Burslem
Silver Coin, Market Place, Burslem

The black and white drawing above is shown so you can see work in progress. I have begun drawing the opposite side of Market Place and will add colour when both are complete.

I have also been overhauling my website -please do click on the link below to see the fledgling site.  I would welcome any feedback. Just let me know whether you can see the drawings on your computer ok – there  is so much for me to learn with all this.  I hope to get the new site and old name integrated in the next week or so. www.cargocollective.com/drawingthestreet