The artist and the country house

'The Mistress of Charlecote' graphite by Kitty Kovacevic

'The Mistress of Charlecote' graphite by Kitty Kovacevic - Credit: Archant

This month Cotswold Life Artist in Residence Kitty Kovacevic reveals the first of her pieces inspired by an article in the magazine, January’s ‘Mistress of Charlecote’

Once upon a time it was deemed ‘only proper’ that a gentleman of substance had his portrait painted, of equal importance it was also common to commission a house portrait. Still today the ‘selfie’ prevails and yet no one has yet devised a ‘housie’.

My first drawing is, in my mind, a 21st-century ‘housie’ of the National Trust’s Charlecote Park. It is neither an accurate portrait nor a logical map, but instead an all-encompassing modern view of a country home’s best assets. I could only dream of owning a house like this! However, thanks to the National Trust we can take pleasure in the recently restored formal parterre, we can be lured into the welcoming Great Hall, having first traipsed up the long drive and under the impressive gatehouse.

It was interesting to edit a view of Charlecote, chopping and changing a whole house, drawing a miniature lime tree avenue (planted by Sir Thomas Lucy in the 16th century) and carefully tracing out the leaves of exotic plant specimens introduced in the 19th century and now part of the scenery. Using just pencil, this portrait escapes the faithful precision of photography, instead relishing the little marks and textures of the hand drawn.

The ‘housie’ I feel deserves a place in culture today, as the spaces we live in are a complex part of our own personal existence and it would be a shame for future generations to look back and only know our ‘faces’ instead of the places they have grown out of.

Twitter: @KittyKovacevic