Dizzy heights: The view from Gibbs Hill by an unknown Naval officer. *Image supplied
Dizzy heights: The view from Gibbs Hill by an unknown Naval officer. *Image supplied

Meticulous sketch shows Bermuda before widespread use of photography
By Elise Outerbridge

In the spirit of full disclosure, I will admit my pet phobia is heights. 

When I was in grade school, I dreaded the notion of having to “graduate” to the upper primaries, which meant I would have to climb a second flight of stairs. 

Needless to say, in the 44 years I have lived in Bermuda, I have never been more than ten steps up Gibbs Hill Lighthouse. 

So I have no personal experience with viewing Bermuda from that vantage point, unlike the unknown Naval officer who meticulously sketched the scene in the 1850’s. 

In an interesting and innovative manner, the artist has elevated himself above the Lighthouse to record the Bermuda islands that lay below. 

We can see the distant shores of Ireland Island, Commissioner’s House and Dockyard in the far left as well as the sweep of the shoreline as it comes closer in the foreground and then recedes again out to St George’s. 

He has detailed the islands and the reefs and dotted the Great Sound with suggestions of watercraft.

The complete sketchbook of the images drawn by the Naval lieutenant was brought to the attention of Major Peter Darling who acquired the eight pencil drawings and through the generosity of Pagurian Company, which were purchased by Masterworks in 1988. 

The series of sketches reflects the strong presence the British Military had at the time and is an important commentary on how the work of a Royal Marine Officer with training in panoramic sketching recorded the island before photography was widely used.

Elise Outerbridge is curator at Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art.mworks2@logic.bm. www.bermudamasterworks.com  




A fresh approach to landscape
By Tom Butterfield

John Hartman, a Canadian painter, visited Bermuda in 2005 for a five-day stay. 

In that time, he found his way to Gibbs Hill and made a preliminary watercolour sketch from the top of the lighthouse. 

At the time, he was producing a series of aerial views of cities such as London, Berlin and New York and this perspective fit perfectly with this project. 

Hartman was introduced to Masterworks at the travelling exhibition at the University of Toronto and was invited to the island. He rapidly recorded both the scene and Bermuda’s unique colours in his sketchbook and went back to his studio in northern Ontario to produce a series of large canvases. 

The landscape is exaggerated and deconstructed but most definitely Bermuda. 

He noted the world is not flat and sees the roads as squiggly lines suggesting the many turns and corners depicted in pinks, blues and whites. The work is reminiscent of a topographic pencil drawing done 150 years earlier by an unknown Naval Lt. (see left) Hartman’s fresh approach to landscape, critics agree, is a clear sign the interpretation of landscape is infinite.

Tom Butterfield is founder of Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art. tbmorks@logic.bm. www.bermudamasterworks.com



C L Tucker was Bermuda’s answer to the Renaissance Man

Charles Lloyd Tucker (Bermudian 1913-1971) holds a special place in the hearts of many Bermudians. He was truly our country’s answer to the Renaissance man as he was accomplished in music, bee keeping, art and cooking, but it was his touch, his charisma that made him so compelling and had such an impact on so many Bermudians. Ex-Berkelites have shared many fond memories of Charles Lloyd Tucker and they all comment on how his influence as their teacher at Berkeley stayed with them throughout their lives. Music was his first love, thanks to his mother Ada Louise Steede Tucker, but his artwork is what he is best remembered by. He studied at the Byram Shaw School in London and brought his professional training back to Bermuda when he returned in 1939 at the outbreak of World War II. His paintings cover a wide array of topics — social and historical commentary, everyday scenes of Bermuda life and still life. The watercolour, Amerigo Vespucci, is a handsome example of his technical skills and his deep interest in the ships and the maritime life. The three-masted ship is berthed at the Flagpole on Front St during the Opsail Race from Lisbon to New York in the late spring of 1964. Hamilton Harbour was a sight to see with dozens of tall ships from all over the world moored from the Paget shoreline across to Pembroke. The Italian ship was resplendent in all of its full-rigged glory and Tucker captured the magnificence of its intricate carvings with great dexterity of the watercolour brush. The delicate ink strokes create a magical atmosphere with muted tones for the backdrop of Front St and shimmering blues and yellows reflecting the ship on the water. Tucker was a master in the use of the watercolour and ink to evoke a sense of timelessness and tranquillity.

Elise Outerbridge is curator for Masterworks. Mworks2@logic.bm. www.bermudamasterworks.com