Today I found myself in King’s Lynn once again, waiting for the car to pass its MOT test, which normally takes around an hour and a half. The town’s not very big, and so once I’d had a scone, and done some small errands, I was free to find a good place to sketch. There are many lovely buildings in the town, if you’re of a mind for architectural drawing, but since I’d only packed my funsize (3x3in) sketchbook, I felt that would be a bit ambitious. Instead, I took myself over to Lynn Museum.
The Museum’s housed in an old Victorian church, and holds a small but very varied collection charting human activity from prehistoric times up to the early 20th Century. There’s a big exhibit relating to Seahenge, a large wooden ceremonial circle found on one of the Norfolk beaches (and subsequently dug up, preserved and on display), but that wasn’t what I was looking for today. I was initially drawn to the collections of smaller objects, ranging from Egyptian shabti to Roman brooches, and I very nearly set pen to paper…however, on turning around and looking for a chair, I saw this chap.
I knew this was the subject for me. The brown hare is a common sight in the North Norfolk fields; in fact, their phenomenal breeding success recently has meant that measures have had to be taken to reduce populations. I still find it a joy to see the hares (we call them ‘turbo bunnies’) racing effortlessly across farmland, their long legs and ears looking impossibly large and yet streamlined.
This particular taxidermy subject was not wearing his years especially lightly. His ears were perhaps rather more crinkly than nature intended, and the fur on his legs was thinning and looked just a little saggy in places. However, I was grateful for the chance to get a really good look at his dimensions; I had never realised quite how long the forelegs are, or how far back on the body they appear when the hare is at rest. Even his whiskers are angled backwards – super-streamlining. Once I had taken these details in, this animal’s ability to cover wide spaces very fast made total sense.
I sketched out the drawing in my sepia fineliner, and added shading and colour using the Tombow markers and waterbrush. The museum was extremely quiet, so I had no interruptions and was able to get back to the garage on time, happy that I’d done something positive with the morning.