Drawing Out Meaning

The Victorian era: Ethel Mary Charles

Design for a block of three labourers' cottages with perspective, elevations, plans and sections

Design for a block of three labourers' cottages named 'Wykehamica': perspective, elevations, plans and sections, 1895
Artist and designer: Ethel Mary Charles
© RIBA Library Drawings and Archives Collections

This sheet of orthographic projections by Ethel Mary Charles, the first female member of the RIBA, includes plans, elevations and sections. The orthographic projection is a standardised way of laying out drawings for a project in which sections line up with the elevations and plans, allowing them to be read next to each other. The perspective provides those unfamiliar with architectural conventions with an easily comprehensible view of the project. This method illustrates a final design on one sheet of paper.

The perspective in the centre at the top of the sheet shows the idyllic surroundings of a village or suburb into which the house was designed to fit. With its front and back gardens, and quaint detailing mimicking older vernacular architecture, the design is in sympathy with the contemporary Old English style, looking towards the Arts and Crafts and Garden City movements.

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