Fiona Horan

New linocut: Western Pavilion

Walking in Brighton a year or so ago, I saw an intriguing building that was like a mini Royal Pavilion. I returned recently to take a closer look, with a view to creating a linocut of it.

The Royal Pavilion’s “baby brother”

It’s called the Western Pavilion and was built and designed in 1827 by architect Amon Henry Wilds to be his own home. The design is a homage to the Royal Pavilion. It intrigues me because it is so quirky but seems to have been left rather adrift down a very short cul-de-sac off the busy Western Road. There are some other smart looking properties down there, but with a distant view of a tower block. There is a bit of greenery, the end of gardens for the next street along (which is very grand) – but this house and its fellows have no land around them at all. Odd.

From Western Road, this house appears in a gap between a hair salon and Taco Bell. The hair salon is in the usual city centre high street shop style – ie tacky, with plate glass windows and cheap-looking plastic signage. I cast no aspersions on the salon itself, but why are modern shops and businesses so unattractive? Then you look up and see that some gorgeous twiddly old building has been gutted on the ground floor to put in these huge windows and overhead sign. And then the windows are often not used for anything but posters or to let you stare inside at people queuing up at tills – fancy window-displays now also being an old-fashioned idea.

Bashed about a bit

I’ve read that the shop front is part of this lovely old building – so its street frontage has been destroyed in order to tell us “Your Hair 4 Less”, or whatever was there when the first shop moved in. Two floors at the front and the side have received this treatment – so that the building now seems to have a glass cube attached to it. I didn’t think it was the same building until I looked it up. Why have we allowed half of this unique building to be destroyed and replaced by something so ordinary and dull? And five years after it was listed!

The plan is to do an A4-sized linocut of the Western Pavilion using two sheets – one sheet for the black key image, and another for the colours. This is more extravagant on materials than a reduction linocut, but less than my usual multi-block technique which often requires four or five (expensive) sheets of lino.

It’s difficult to find out much about the Western Pavilion. No one seems to care, really. Here’s the Wikipedia entry.

More news as the linocut progresses ….