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Read, Watch and Listen

Desmond Paul Henry

Desmond Paul Henry 1921-2004



Mechanical pen and ink drawing

Museum number: E.377-2009

In the 1960s, D.P. Henry constructed various drawing machines from the components of analogue bombsight computers.  Henry was fascinated by the swinging motion of the machines and adapted them to accommodate pen and paper.  His drawing machines were operated electronically, but could not be programmed. 

© Victoria and Albert Museum, London/ Elaine O’Hanrahan. Copyright: CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 (Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International)


Herbert W. Franke

Herbert W. Franke 1927-

Analog-Grafik P2

1970, from a photograph produced in 1955 

Silkscreen print

Museum number: E.100-2008

Franke produced his experimental photographs by moving a camera across the small screen of an oscilloscope.  He could alter the curves by using a mixing console that provided some degree of control over the image’s appearance. 

© Victoria and Albert Museum, London/ Herbert W. Franke. Copyright: CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 (Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International)


Composite panorama depicting the entire dome

Composite panorama depicting the entire dome, with the original painting and plasterwork. The domed ceiling of the auditorium, which had greatly deteriorated over the years, was repaired and replastered and now requires repainting. As the remaining trompe l'oeil decoration of the dome is not original and was painted in 1985, this presented the Trust with an opportunity to commission a new design in a more contemporary style, that would become an attraction its own right and greatly enhance the King's Theatre.

Panorama of the primed dome, prepared for outlining

The entire dome spans 12m in diameter and is approximately 1.5m high giving an  approx. area of 57m2 the box shaped free standing scaffold inside the King’s theatre disconcertingly swayed as painters ascended or descended ladders, and John said “it’s like painting on a bouncy castle,”…..so if I had to make a long exposure or take shots in sequence  it had to be done when the workers were on a break and as there were teams of artists and painters this was not always easy.

Applying a soft wash similar to watercolour as a base for additional layers of paint

There was no daylight this was a problem because the artists and painters had differing lighting needs, the painters needed small 110 volt 80watt portable tungsten light at 2500k, the artists needed high power 500watt halogen lighting to maximize illumination covering large areas of the dome evenly, and to approximately match daylight at 5000k to match paint colour, every time I was on site the lighting changed as workers moved around. I needed to get a soft painterly light in my images to match the original painting but the lighting was harsh and mixed I tried various methods to get this right including flash, also a ring flash it gives a softer feel to the light but nothing worked all too harsh. Eventually I used a mix of long exposures (when the scaffolding stopped swaying) and against my better judgment increased the ISO. Increases the sensitivity of the digital sensor.