Welcome to another inspiring Lanchester Sketch Club. We’re continuing online, but we hope to be able to resume (socially-distanced) soon. Last month’s Sketch Club was about Making the Impossible – Possible and we look forward to sharing your artwork online on Twitter using the #CovSketchbook or tag us @lanchester_ia or via our Facebook page.

The SketchClub is a monthly space and time to be creative and sketch anything related to a different Lanchester-inspired theme.  On the last Wednesday of every month the new theme will be revealed and this month we are Turning Circles!

The short video and pictures below will hopefully provide some inspiration and feel free to delve into the archives for some inspiration or download the worksheet.

Turning Circles

Cogs, Wheels, Gears, Steering Wheel, Tyres even Dashboard dials – the circle is one of mathematics most useful and inspiring forms that Lanchester worked with through his designs, patent and drawings and relied on for the inner workings of his amazing inventions.

LAN-7-20 Handbook illustration showing 20 hp/28 hp worm and wheel rear drive

LAN-7-20 Handbook illustration showing 20 hp/28 hp worm and wheel rear drive

 

In art, design and invention, the turning of circles has captured the imagination since our earliest concepts of the stars and heavens were observed moving across the sky. The need to capture time through mechanical devices relied on these principles and artists have tried to convey the passage of time or speed and movement.

Kinetic Art

Alexandre Calder began making his mobiles in the 1930s. His work first used motorized or hand-cranked mechanisms, but then evolved to rely only on air for movement.

Alexandre Calder's kinetic mobiles

Alexandre Calder’s kinetic mobiles

From fundamentals of flight to four-wheel-drive, Lanchester roll-call of firsts is as varied as it is long.

Futurism

This art movement began in 1909 and incorporated the film and literature of the time. One of the principle aims was to convey movement and speed in the artworks

Natalia Goncharova - The Cyclist 1913 - The Russian Museum, St Petersburg

Natalia Goncharova – The Cyclist 1913 – The Russian Museum, St Petersburg

Cinema

Aerial films of spectacular dance routines that whirl and turn were captured by the pioneering American film director and music cinematographer Busby Berkeley (1895 – 1976) These amazing feats of both dance and cinematography took turning circles to a new art and a global audience.

Spectacular dance routines captured by the pioneering American film director and music cinematographer Busby Berkeley

Spectacular dance routines captured by the pioneering American film director and music cinematographer Busby Berkeley

 

Op Art

Op art (short for optical art) is a style of visual art that uses optical illusions. Typically, they give the viewer the impression of movement, hidden images, flashing and vibrating patterns, or of swelling or warping.

 

Time magazine coined the term op art in 1964, in response to Julian Stanczak's show Optical Paintings, to mean a form of abstract art (specifically non-objective art) that uses optical illusions, though works we think of as "op art" had been produced for several years before.

Time magazine coined the term op art in 1964, in response to Julian Stanczak’s show Optical Paintings, to mean a form of abstract art (specifically non-objective art) that uses optical illusions, though works we think of as “op art” had been produced for several years before.

Astrology and astronomy

Astronomy is the oldest of the natural sciences, dating back to antiquity, with its origins in the religious, mythological, cosmological, calendrical, and astrological beliefs and practices of prehistory:

Ancient astronomers were able to differentiate between stars and planets, as stars remain relatively fixed over the centuries while planets will move an appreciable amount during a comparatively short time.

Even our on Stonehenge is believed to have been used to identify the first day of summer, the “summer solstice.” Ancient astronomers could use it to determine when the sun was rising in a certain direction.

This picture gives you an idea of how it might have looked in its prime. It is of a reconstructed Druid ceremony at Stonehenge

This picture gives you an idea of how it might have looked in its prime. It is of a reconstructed Druid ceremony at Stonehenge

An astronomical clock is one that offers more information than just the time; it can also give details such as the relative positions of the sun and moon, zodiacal constellations and even major planets! They usually represent some features of the solar system, from the basic forms of just the sun and the moon, to more complex constellation patterns and planet positions.

Some with the most amazing and intricate of faces and inner workings such as the Torrazzo of Cremona Clock

Some with the most amazing and intricate of faces and inner workings such as the Torrazzo of Cremona Clock

Lanchester’s take

Lanchester’s obsession with smoothness led to developments way ahead of his time. From the fluid flywheel that eliminated clunky clutch plates to the worm gear that changed the direction of transmission efficiently and with the minimum of vibration.

Beauty can be seen within planetary gears and the design of an epicyclic gearbox as well as providing an elegant engineering solution to vehicle propulsion.

LAN-5-5-10 - This description, from his pocket note books, for the design and construction of the original Lanchester cars, designed 1894, constructed 1895, completed and running 1896, design revised and reconstructed 1897

LAN-5-5-10 – This description, from his pocket note books, for the design and construction of the original Lanchester cars, designed 1894, constructed 1895, completed and running 1896, design revised and reconstructed 1897

LAN-6-118-5 Patent for improvements in starting mechanism for internal combustion engines employed for the propulsion of automobile road vehicles from 1912

LAN-6-118-5 Patent for improvements in starting mechanism for internal combustion engines employed for the propulsion of automobile road vehicles from 1912

 

LAN-6-50-4 A patent illustration for the improvements in gear for the transmission of power, 28 April 1900

LAN-6-50-4 A patent illustration for the improvements in gear for the transmission of power, 28 April 1900

He wasn’t afraid to have fun though and in his driving guide from 1903, he gave instructions on how a driver could skid their Lanchester into a tight parking spot using an early form of handbrake turn!

How to J-turn a Lanchester - Lanchester Legacy Vol 1 p71

How to J-turn a Lanchester – Lanchester Legacy Vol 1 p71

Using the circular form, try to convey fluid motion in a drawing, painting or making. You could look at the use of cylinders and circles in creating form where artists analysed movement on film that captures these repetitive movement of angles such as the Futurists (Dynamism of Dog On A Leash). Paintings and drawings that try to capture rays of light emitted from the sun or stars in swirling patterns such as Van Gogh’s Starry Night or the many intricate and beautiful mechanical objects, clock faces and engineered mechanisms found around your area or in the galleries , museums and archives. Look at where mechanical forms interact in public sculptures, clocks or fountains. Even cars going around the roundabout or the spokes on a bicycle. Use a free movement of the arm to draw and trace these shapes in circular form. Get creative!

Feel free to delve into the archives for some inspiration or download the worksheet.

We look forward to sharing your artwork online on Twitter using the #CovSketchbook or tag us @lanchester_ia or via our Facebook page.

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