Paolozzi: mosaics to maquettes.

Recently Art Collections Curator, Neil Lebeter, and I made a short video interview with Professor Bob Fisher and Phd student Alex Davies of the Informatics Department. Bob and Alex have been working with the images I produced of the Eduardo Paolozzi mosaics within the DIU (for an introduction to the project click here). This cross departmental work seems particularly fitting as Paolozzi had close ties to the Informatics department. This relationship is visible in the form of several Paolozzi sculptures dotted about the Informatics building.

Using their combined expertise, Bob and Alex have been employing a number of image processing techniques on the images of the individual mosaic fragments in line with images of the original mural design, in situ at Tottenham Court Road Tube Station, London. This is to assess what percentage of the original mural we possess and how accurately it could potentially be pieced back together. The interview provides an insight into their work processes, the challenges, and uniqueness, of this particular project and the results they have found to date. It is an interesting watch!

Now having completed my side of the Paolozzi Mosaics Project I have been lucky enough to get the opportunity to digitise a large number of Paolozzi maquettes which are also part of the University of Edinburgh Art Collection. This comprises a wide range of weird and wonderful pieces. Among his maquettes we can see where he began developing his ideas for what became his piece, The Manuscript of Monte Cassino (also known as the ‘big foot’), situated outside St Mary’s RC Cathedral here in Edinburgh.

Manuscript of Monte Cassino
Manuscript of Monte Cassino


Digitising the mosaic fragments involved a more consistent photographic approach in terms of camera positioning and lighting (more info), whereas working with the maquettes has offered slightly more freedom in this regard. I have been lighting and positioning each maquette in a way that best exhibits the physical attributes of that particular object. Here are a number of the maquettes pictured below.
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We have also had Digital Heritage specialist Clara Molina Sanchez in the studio carrying out 3D work on a couple of the maquettes. This should render a high quality 3D visualisation of the objects. Clara has allowed us to show a couple of intriguing behind-the-scenes shot of her setup. We will no doubt hear more about the development of her work in the near future.

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John Bryden

Project Photographer

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