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Art and About: Charlotte Trounce celebrates the architectural beauty of museums and galleries

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With her pen and paper in hand, illustrator Charlotte Trounce has journeyed to numerous galleries and museums across the UK to capture the iconic structures and large-scale spaces that house the works of art that the nation has come to treasure. The illustrations have been commissioned by It’s Nice That in partnership with the Art Fund, to celebrate the National Art Pass. The Pass provides free entry to over 240 museums, galleries and historic houses across the UK, as well as 50% off entry to major exhibitions.

Charlotte has created a series of careful and detailed studies, all in her expressive and jovial style. Using the National Art Pass, the illustrator visited Switch House, the new wing of Tate Modern designed by Herzog & de Meuron; Modernist architect Ernő Goldfinger’s Hampstead residence, 2 Willow Road; Charleston, the Sussex home of the Bloomsbury Group; South London Gallery’s recently opened garden, designed by artist Gabriel Orozco; Holkham Hall in Norfolk; and the Art Deco interiors of Eltham Palace, all of which provide a broad overview of how diversely collections are housed in the UK.

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“For this brief I wanted to capture both the exterior of buildings as well as some interior spaces and detail. For me, it was most interesting seeing how individual objects or works of art that I would’ve picked out and drawn separately for the first brief, sit within the settings collectively, and how they interact with the space,” explains Charlotte. Having always been interested in architecture and interiors, Charlotte was keen to represent the character of the places she visited, as well as the structural elements. “I wanted to express the mood of the space – whether it was the vastness of Tate Modern or the eclectic interiors at Charleston,” she says.

“Colour was definitely important for me as I felt it would say a lot about the uniqueness of each place as well as the atmosphere on the day of the visit.” This awareness of different shades and tones adds warmth to her black linework and allows Charlotte to differentiate between the different spaces she visited. Through a sumptuous palette of golds, greens, blues and reds, Charlotte also alludes to “how the use of colour has changed throughout history”.

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Across the unique atmospheres within the spaces Charlotte visited, the illustrator was able to explore the aesthetic of each building and explore how historical and cultural sites have been re-purposed for showing art. “I wanted to show the contrast between each one. 2 Willow Road and Eltham Palace were both built in the 1930s, but they feel completely different from one another in terms of the design and styling,” explains Charlotte. “I tried to focus on the details I felt best communicated their individuality, whether that was the exterior architecture or the furniture and objects within.” Charlotte employed the same approach to capturing the galleries and museums as she did with the previous brief. “Surprisingly a lot of the same principles of design are found in objects great and small, so I could just focus on the shapes and mark-making as I had done with the first brief,” she says.

The beauty of the places Charlotte visited is in the breadth of architecture on display, which reminds us of the significance in preserving these spaces so they can still be enjoyed rather than simply remembered. “Although there’s something special about seeing works of art in modern gallery settings with white walls, I think it’s really important to also see them in their original spaces where you can really appreciate and understand their history and purpose,” Charlotte says. “Charleston has been beautifully restored and it was amazing to experience a home decorated and filled with objects and works of art created by the community living there. It’s impossible not to feel inspired and in awe of the space.” Having finished her series of drawings, Charlotte says: “I hope to have expressed how beautiful all the spaces are, but really, they can’t compare to how it feels to be there.”

A National Art Pass offers 50% off major exhibitions, plus free entry to hundreds of museums, galleries and historic places across the UK. The really good bit? Funds raised through the pass allow the Art Fund to help museums and galleries buy important works of art for everyone to enjoy. Learn more about the National Art Pass here and use the offer code ITSNICETHAT to receive a limited edition print by Charlotte Trounce with your purchase of the National Art Pass.

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