Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Hannah's Top 5 Francis Johnson Illustrations: Then and Now

Having studied architectural history at university, the opportunity for me to digitise Francis Johnson's Grand Tour diary could not have been more exciting!

Filled with detailed architectural illustrations, photographs and musings of the architect's travels across Europe, it was quite a challenge for me to choose my favourite. 

After spending much time whittling it down to 20 from over 360 pages, I eventually settled on 5 illustrations from the diary which I thought best represented the wide range of locations Johnson visited and also because of the technical skill and levels of realism involved. I also really liked his attention to detail with micro-architectural features and his artistic style of combining pencil sketches with watercolour.

From Austria to Italy, here are my top 5 Francis Johnson illustrations alongside photographs of how the buildings look today.

1. Karlskirche (Vienna, Austria)


Johnson's illustration of Karlskirche from p237.
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons, photo by Herzi Pinki.


2. Basilica of Constantine in the Roman Forum (Rome, Italy)


Johnson's illustration of the Basilica of Constantine from p75.
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons.


3. Sch├Ânborn Chapel (W├╝rzburg, Germany)


Johnson's illustration of Schonborn Chapel from p315.
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons.

4. Santa Croce cloister (Florence, Italy)



Johnson's illustration of the cloister at Santa Croce from p165.
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons.

5. Palazzo Pubblico courtyard (Siena, Italy)



Johnson's illustration of the courtyard at Palazzo Pubblico from p103.
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons.

These illustrations are only a small insight into the sights of Johnson's Grand Tour. The intention is to place the diary online so it can be viewed and enjoyed by everybody. We are looking at a number of 'page turner' type applications that can be integrated with our digital repository Hydra. There will be more news on this as and when we finalise the solution!


Hannah Rice
Transforming Archives Trainee
H.Rice@hull.ac.uk

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