Mindful of Time

Sculpture, Metalwork, Ceramics & Glass
June 3, 2016

Inspired by the themes of the forthcoming Gilbert Collection Study Day Sensing Time, illustrator and V&A member of staff Eileen Budd created a series of line drawings of clocks and watches that will be discussed by curators during the event.

Her drawings are an equally careful study of the masterpieces in the V&A’s collections, and an invitation to you to join in their exploration, pen and pencil in hand.

EB blog - box clock
Snuffbox with watch, Alexander Strachan, London, 1800, museum no. Loan:Gilbert.355-2008


A photograph of the same snuffbox | The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection, on loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London
A photograph of the same snuffbox | The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection, on loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London



EB blog - mantle clock line
Royal mantle clock, London, 1736, museum no. M.1-2016


Here are Eileen’s thoughts on their creation:

“Lines are a huge part my life.

There’s my daily commute across London; the tube lines, the pathways and pavements, stretching out across the city like pointing fingers that I dutifully follow to work.

Then there are the ones I draw.

When drawing, I pay close attention to my subject and regardless of whether it is a person or an object it’s always the lines that make them…well, them. The lines on your face tell your story and the older you get, I tell myself, the better your story becomes.

EB blog - pocket watch
Chatelaine, Philipp Ernst I Schindler, Austria, c. 1760, museum no. Loan:Gilbert.336-2008

Creating portraits of people is such a delicate balance of capturing them on the canvas and losing them completely, which happens in a second with a slightly misplaced line. Suddenly they go from well-known friends to imposters, who look similar, but have the wrong arch of the brow, or are missing that important crinkle around the eyes.

The same is true of museum objects, which, just like people, is why they are such a joy to draw.

Drawing clocks for the Sensing Time study day was a great opportunity to get to know these objects better. Each drawing was a chance to delicately reverse engineer the piece with my pen.

Following their lines let me discover subtle nuances, like tiny marks where an engraver’s hand had slipped and how this had been corrected in the pattern.  Filling my paper with the size and shape of the object, the reasoning behind the design or pattern of decoration became clearer.

Being absorbed in the process of drawing these beautiful objects was an act of mindfulness and so, it really is quite fitting, that these lines I was mindful of drawing could be taken up by someone else, to mindfully colour in.

But I confess, while creating them, I completely lost track of time. And so might you.”

EB blog - Caffieri elephant


EB blog - back of elephant clock
Table clock, Philippe Caffieri, Paris, c. 1745, museum no. 1008:1-1880

All artwork by Eileen Budd, 2016. All rights reserved.

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