Page 9 - Richard Kenton Webb: Vol.5
P. 9

Richard Kenton Webb

                              in conversation with Richard Davey

                              In 1858, Henry Gray, a young surgeon and anatomist published his
                              Anatomy, a 750 page medical textbook with 363 illustrations by his friend
                              and colleague, Henry Vandyke Carter. Since its publication it has become
                              the authoritative textbook for medical students and anyone wanting
                              to understand the inner workings of the human body. But, when Richard
                              Kenton Webb studied Carter’s detailed drawings, his Romantic imagina -
                              tion saw more than arteries, veins, sinews, and bones, he saw landscapes.
                              He bought a second copy of the book and used its pages as a surface
                              to paint on, covering exposed anatomy with a new skin of paint that
                              turned muscles into mountains and the bones exposed by Carter’s
                              pen into geological features.

                              I was confronted by a wall of these small paintings during my first visit
                              to his studio almost 30 years ago, when it was on the top floor of a con -
                              vert ed mill in Stroud. I found myself mesmerised, drawn into a vision
                              that wove the human body and the landscape into a spiritual palimpsest.
                              And as Richard and I stood talking, I encountered the  same poetic vision
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