Many of you will know Mark Draper and be familiar with his work as an Architectural Ceramist. He has been a member of Friends of 78 since the group was set up, and indeed has kept copies of all the newsletters that have been published.
His fascination with 78 Derngate started in 1966 when he began secondary school in Northampton and his bus passed by the building. He knew nothing about Charles Rennie Mackintosh then but that front door captured his imagination, a door that he would go on to recreate in model form many years later.
After attending Northampton’s Eaglehurst College, Mark studied at Kettering Technical College on an Arts Foundation programme. This was followed by a course in 3D Design at Leeds and a post graduate degree in furniture design and technology at High Wycombe.
Following a brief time as an architectural assistant in London, he set up a ceramics department at Hinwick Hall F.E. College and trained as a teacher. He moved to the Wellingborough College in 1990 with responsibility for the arts curriculum within the special education provision. When the College merged with Tresham Institute, Mark also lectured on the Interior Design course run jointly with De Montfort University, Leicester. When he lectured on the first year of De Montfort’s degree course in Interior Design, Rob Kendall gave him and his students a guided tour of 78 before the renovation work began.
Mark returned to Hinwick Hall College in 2002 where he organised collaborative projects with the Victoria and Albert Museum and was appointed by the Equality and Human Rights Commission as a judge for their national project, Young Brits at Art, 2009.
Early retirement came in 2009 and since 2011 Mark has been making clay models of favourite and, in some cases, very famous buildings at his studio at Rushton, Northamptonshire. The processes involved in creating each and every model are intricate and labour intensive. Mark visits the building to be modelled to get a feel for the place. His first hand observation informs the decision making throughout the duration of the project. Sketches and photographs accompany the visit and although, on very rare occasions, Mark has access to the original drawings, he prefers to make all his own architectural drawings.
After satisfying himself that his drawings are accurate, he then constructs a 3D card maquette. Mark has the experience of over ten years and 33 projects so, as you can imagine, he has learned a few techniques along the way. Mark keeps everything connected with his model-making including his working drawings, although some are archived with the University of Cambridge and The National Trust.
Many more stages follow – making a press mould, constructing the clay master and mould for each elevation, making the prototype, assembling the pieces, drying out the model, first and second firings. If any colour needs to be added, this is fixed on the second firing. Obviously, this is a very condensed account of the model’s construction and Mark has produced much more detailed notes on all the processes involved.
The bookends depicting the front and back elevations of 78 Derngate were made between April and June 2015. These can be purchased from the shop at 78 and as can be seen from the attached photograph are a stunning example of Mark’s work. Mark does not undertake commissions but has chosen to donate his work to diverse institutions, including the University of Cambridge and various National Trust properties.
Some of the models executed by Mark in recent years are the Triangular Lodge, Rushton, Lyveden New Bield, both in Northamptonshire and Emmanuel College and Trinity College Library, both in Cambridge. The most recent work is Cliveden and as you can see from the photograph is absolutely stunning. Mark spent 329 hours on the Cliveden project. This was an exceptionally large piece of work which was effectively nine components or models that make up the whole piece.
Now comes some really exciting news! As you probably know, the Scottish Architect, Alexander Ellis Anderson long-time resident in Northampton, did the original drawings and plans for the re-modelled interiors in 1916 for Wenman Joseph Bassett-Lowke. He also designed many other buildings in Northampton and some of you many even have had the opportunity to accompany Rob Kendall on one of his Alexander Ellis Anderson walks, taking in many of the architect’s constructions.
Mark is modelling two of the architect’s buildings: the Barratt Footshape Boot Works in Kingsthorpe Hollow and the Taylor Memorial Hall in Castilian Street. The former was completed in 1913, and carries Alexander Ellis Anderson’s distinctive rose motifs in the stained glass windows and raised pediments. The factory is now offices. The Taylor Memorial Hall c.1919 was built in memory of Second Lieutenant Ralph Patron Taylor who died in 1916 at the Battle of the Somme. Later uses include accommodation for the Y.W.C.A. and it is currently a wine bar. Four models of the Footshape Boot Works have now been donated to 78 Derngate to help raise funds for the Atrium Project with a similar number of models of the Memorial Hall following in the early part of 2021. The Barratt building is extremely impressive and Mark’s model is a true reflection of this as you can see from the photograph. Details of how these generous gifts from Mark will be marketed will be published shortly.
Mark has work in the collections of the following organisations: The National Trust, English Heritage, the University of Cambridge, the Diocese of Peterborough, Kelmarsh Hall Preservation Trust, Rothwell Preservation Trust, Northampton and Kettering Borough Councils, private collections in the U.K. and U.S.A., and of course, 78 Derngate.
Mark has exhibited at the Sir Alfred East Gallery in Kettering, Northamptonshire and staged a major exhibition at 78 Derngate in 2014. He considers it a huge honour to have been granted this exhibition, considering, in his words, “the building’s association with the world renowned Bassett-Lowke”. Well, 78 Derngate is honoured and proud to have had Mark exhibit here; Bassett-Lowke would probably have been fascinated, with his love of models and model-making, to have a local artist sharing his own take on the model world.
Who would have thought that the school boy looking out of the bus window at that iconic front door, probably pale blue then but since the restoration now its original black, would later in his career, not only be making replicas of that door and other models linked with 78 Derngate’s history, but become a Friend in every sense of the word!
A postscript from 78 Derngate’s House Manager Liz Jansson Mark’s model of the Barratt Works Building is now available to buy at 78 Derngate - price £125. Now is also a good opportunity for me to reiterate that we are OPEN and that it is the perfect time to come and pay a visit to the house, gallery, shop and dining room (as long as bookings are phoned ahead ).
'Lyveden New Bield' and '78 Derngate Bookends by Mark Draper
Dear Friends It has been a fair while since the last update. A lot has happened in that time, much of it for the worse. Clearly the pandemic has meant that we were closed for nearly 4 months, but we are now open again, albeit on a limited pre-booked schedule. During the closedown however the fund raising and work to complete the drawings on the extension has been underway. I am pleased to report that the Trustees had a virtual meeting last month and based on the monies we now have in the bank and the reports from our quantity surveyor and architect, have decided to go out to tender this month for the construction. Dependent on the response we are planning to start on site in the autumn. As with all capital projects there will be unknowns and we continue to ask for funds in order to limit the risks. We were bolstered considerably by a single contribution of £25,000 from the George Cadbury Foundation which enabled Northampton Borough Council to release the remainder of their promised £200,000. We have also successfully applied for a ‘Bounce Back’ loan from our bank which also underlines our need to fund raise at every opportunity. Thanks to all who have made this possible and we look forward to better times. Les Patterson Co. Sec., Update no.3 November 2019
Two milestones reached
Dear Friends, At the beginning of November, the Trust received the planning permission and listed building consent for the extension to the Atrium of 82 Derngate. I’d like to thank everyone who took the trouble to write in support of the application, the planners say they had never seen such support and made their decision making easier. There had to be a few compromises to the design in order to comply with Historic England’s observations and the final plans can be viewed on Northampton Borough Council’s planning portal. As you are no doubt aware, we have a funding target to match the £200k pledged by Northampton Borough Council towards the scheme. I’m pleased to report that in under a year we have reached the halfway stage and raised just over £100k. This is due to a combination of donations, trading, reserves from past years and fund raising like the raffle and Pims and pudding evening. We continue to actively seek donations and will be making applications to a variety of sources now that planning permission is in place. The Trustees will be instructing the architects to proceed with the detailed drawings in the new year ready to go out to tender. Thank you once again for all your support. Les Patterson.
Update no.2 July 2019:
Dear Supporter As you are no doubt aware our efforts to build an extension on the back of 82 Derngate continue, but for once this message is not asking for monetary support (phew). Earlier this month we submitted our revised plans to Northampton Borough Council for planning permission and listed building consent. This is now the subject of public consultation which closes on 8th August 2019.
The Trustees and the Friends committee are urging all our supporters to write into the council backing the revised proposal. We hope that this will demonstrate and reflect the passion and esteem in which the house and organisation is held and improve our likelihood of success.
The easiest way to send a comment – and it need only be a sentence or two - is by using this link and clicking on "Comment on this application". As always thank you for your time, efforts and support.
Les Patterson, Secretary to the Trust.
Update no.1 July 2019: The appeal is going well – we are now at £75,000 – but, we still need more. We've now launched our exciting Summer Raffle with many spectacular prizes and tickets can be bought from Reception and if you wish to sell tickets on our behalf, please contact Liz.
As you may already be aware, a grant of up to £200,000 has been pledged to us by Northampton Borough Council to enhance the visitor experience here at The Charles Rennie Mackintosh House & Galleries. We plan to enlarge the existing atrium to facilitate an increased shopping area, a new reception area and tearoom and provide a new exhibition/performance space at mezzanine level. At the same time it will provide better permanent disabled access. The increased storage will free up rooms in 78 Derngate, enabling them to be open to the public for the first time. The opportunity also exists to reduce our carbon footprint by lowering heating costs.
As a self-funded charity, we depend on trading in order to survive and believe that this plan will produce greater income and lower costs, making the venue much more sustainable. An architect’s illustration of how it may look (subject to planning approval) is available to see here.
Our aim is to match fund the £200k by the summer and so we are asking Friends and supporters to donate in units of £100. For each unit of £100 the donors’ names will be recognised on engraved glass panelling located in the new atrium. So, if you wish to add 2 names, this will cost £200 and so on. We do of course welcome donations of any amount and individual groups could potentially donate money through their own fund-raising activities.
To donate, click on the link below which automatically takes you to our secure fund-raising page. All donations are commission-free so the whole amount comes to the Trust.
After four years of asking visitors to 'keep a lookout' and scouring auction house listings David from our team recently spotted details of a washjug designed by Joseph Maria Olbrich on Ebay. Apparently identical to the jug which W.J. Bassett-Lowke had purchased for the Guest Bedroom at 78 Derngate around 1917 - this was an exciting moment. These jugs don't come to the market very often. Some swift action by Barbara on behalf of The Friends of 78 Derngate and the jug was purchased and on its way from Germany. It is now displayed in the Guest Bedroom and can be viewed by visitors to the house. The fate of the original jug is known from family memories, it was broken many years ago. Having its replacement here further completes the stylish ensemble of Mackintosh - designed furniture and Olbrich ceramics in one of Britain’s most unusual and avant-garde interiors for the period. Staying as a guest at 78 Derngate would certainly have been a memorable experience. Further details of the jug can be found in our online archive.
A project begun in 2015 with the purchase at auction of a ceramic washbowl has been completed almost four years later. When Charles Rennie Mackintosh designed the Guest Bedroom of 78 Derngate a washstand for the use of guests was included in the scheme.
W.J Bassett-Lowke’s photographs of the room which were published in ‘The Ideal Home’ in 1920 show that the washstand was replete with distinctive ceramic ware in a secessionist style. Research has shown that Joseph Maria Olbrich, indeed the very designer of the Secessionsgebäude (Secession Building) in Vienna is the designer of the washbowl. Mackintosh and Olbrich met on several occasions and his sympathies with the Secession and Wiener Werkstätte are reflected in the design of the Guest Bedroom - a ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’ and the other Mackintosh work at 78 Derngate.
The beautiful washstand made by Professor Jake Kaner from Nottingham Trent University was completed with the addition of the final component, the oak, glass and silk splashback panel just before Christmas. Funded by The Friends of 78 Derngate it’s a splendid recreation that can be enjoyed by visitors to the house this coming 2019 season and beyond.
The Charles Rennie Mackintosh-designed Guest Bedroom at 78 Derngate has a further and beautiful new addition that can be seen by visitors to the house this Autumn.
Thanks to the generosity of The Friends of 78 Derngate, we've been able to commission Professor Jake Kaner from Nottingham Trent University to make a replica of the second component of the Mackintosh-designed washstand which originally stood in the corner of the room. This joins the base cabinet and washbowl which both arrived in 2015. The washstand is made of oak veneered ply with an adjustable tilting mirror and locking vanity side cupboards. A blue and black stencilled checkerwork detail frames the mirror. The design matches the other furniture in the room and shows Mackintosh's use of the square in both a decorative and structural manner. The original washstand is on display at The Hunterian Art Gallery in Glasgow [ online catalogue information ] where a replica room setting of the Guest Bedroom has been created. The third and final part of the washstand set, a silk and glass splashback is planned for installation before the end of 2018.
Jake has made all of the replica Mackintosh furniture at 78 Derngate and has worked with us from the start of the restoration and we're delighted that he has been able to create another piece of exceptional quality for our visitors to enjoy. The re-creation of this piece further completes Mackintosh's strikingly modern vision for this unique interior and gives a sense of the experience enjoyed by the guests who stayed in this room 100 years ago.
Visitors to 78 Derngate are now able to view the new washstand on display.
Chris and Barbara from The Friends of 78 Derngate were at Abington Park Museum, Northampton recently for their Collectors Day event. Chris's huge collection of Bassett-Lowke catalogues - [ surely one of the largest such collections in the world ] - was of great interest and attracted a steady stream of visitors.
The day was a great success, helped along by many Friends supporters who stopped by, the presence of a great model railway layout from a fellow collector and substantial amounts of chocolate which sadly ran out too soon.
Further images from the day - and the chance to let us know about your own collection - are on our Facebook.
A group of Friends of 78 Derngate recently took a walking tour of houses designed by the talented architect Alexander Ellis Anderson in the Abington area of Northampton. Anderson did the preliminary architectural drawings for Mr Bassett-Lowke at 78 Derngate. The walk was led by our own Anderson expert Rob Kendall. For more information about becoming a Friend of 78 Derngate click here.
The Charles Rennie Mackintosh designed designed Guest Bedroom at 78 Derngate has an exciting new addition.
Following our recent appeal, and thanks to the generosity of The Friends of 78 Derngate, we've been able to commission Jake Kaner from Buckinghamshire New University in High Wycombe to make a replica of the washstand which originally stood in the corner of the room. The washstand is made of oak with a blue and black chequer decoration on the edges. The design matches the other furniture in the room and shows Mackintosh's use of the square in both a decorative and structural manner. The original washstand is on display at The Hunterian Art Gallery in Glasgow where a replica room setting of the Guest Bedroom has been created.
Jake has made all the replica Mackintosh furniture at 78 Derngate and has worked with us from the start of the restoration. We were delighted that he was able to create another piece of exceptional quality for the house. In Mr Bassett-Lowke’s time a Joseph Maria Olbrich - designed bowl stood on the washstand. Pictured on our new washstand is an identical bowl acquired at auction in Edinburgh last year.
Visitors to 78 Derngate are now able to view the new washstand on display.
The Friends of 78 Derngate have always been keen to add new objects and artefacts into 78 Derngate. In recent years we have purchased original Bassett-Lowke designed pieces for the main bedroom and dining room and replica furniture for the kitchen. Now we are looking to commission a replica of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s washstand for The Guest Bedroom. The original Mackintosh furniture for this bedroom survives and is on display at The Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery in Glasgow. The washstand, in keeping with the rest of the suite for this room, is made of oak with a blue and black chequer decoration on the edges.
The Trustees and Friends have commissioned Jake Kaner from Buckinghamshire New University to make the replica pieces for the Mackintosh designed Guest Bedroom. Jake has previously made the other Mackintosh replica furniture on display at 78 Derngate.
To pay for this we have now launched an appeal and donations can be sent to us at 82 Derngate, Northampton. NN1 1UH. Thankyou.