Tuesday, November 9, 2010

H. Rider Haggard research, reasoning, trying to connect the dots

I am really unsure about all decisions that I make for my drawings, so I'm basically starting everything over and trying to build up everything from smallest details.

Basic Info:

Sir Henry Rider Haggard, KBE (22 June 1856 – 14 May 1925) was an English writer of adventure novels set in exotic locations, predominantly Africa, and a founder of the Lost World literary genre. His stories, situated at the lighter end of Victorian literature, continue to be popular and influential.

In 1875, Haggard's father sent him[5] to what is now South Africa, to take up an unpaid position as assistant to the secretary to Sir Henry Bulwer, Lieutenant-Governor of the Colony of Natal. In 1876 he was transferred to the staff of Sir Theophilus Shepstone, Special Commissioner for the Transvaal. It was in this role that Haggard was present in Pretoria in April 1877 for the official announcement of the British annexation of the Boer Republic of the Transvaal.

At about that time, Haggard fell in love with Mary Elizabeth "Lilly" Jackson, whom he intended to marry once he obtained paid employment in Africa. In 1878 he became Registrar of the High Court in the Transvaal, and wrote to his father informing him that he intended to return to England and marry her. His father forbade it until Haggard had made a career for himself, and by 1879 Jackson had married Frank Archer, a well-to-do banker. When Haggard eventually returned to England, he married a friend of his sister, (Mariana) Louisa Margitson in 1880, and the couple travelled to Africa together.

What comes from that?

As I've always been thinking about north Africa it is clear that he was mostly influenced by Southern Africa and I should look deeper into the cultures and architectural style of closer regions something from the end of Victorian era (end of XIX century). His man character of the book "She: A History of Adventure" Horace Holly and his ward Leo Vincey are taken to a lost kingdom in the African interior. Holly is a Cambridge don whose keen intellect and knowledge was developed to compensate for his ape-like appearance. Holly knows a number of ancient languages, including Greek, Arabic, and Hebrew, which allow him to communicate with the Amahagger (who speak a form of Arabic) and She (who knows all three languages). Holly's interest in archaeology and the origins of civilisation, lead him to explore the ruins of Kor. He is a real protagonist and narrator. That leads to a decision to make more African style sculpture for the main yard and throw out the idea of mixed cultural stuff. I started thinking like that because Holly is a high mentality person and his decision about the interior could ave been made by taking into the account usual style of local architecture and comparing it to the one that he sees. I don't say that mixed cultural idea was bad, but the one that I'm coming through now even though it won't be so elegant is going to be more acceptable for most of the people to understand the logic of why is it made so.

The conical tower inside the Great Enclosure in Great Zimbabwe, a medieval city built by a prosperous culture

The Style:

In Southern Africa one finds ancient and widespread traditions of building in stone. Two broad categories of these tradition have been noted: 1. Zimbabwean style 2. Transvaal Free State style. North of the Zambezi one finds very little stone ruins. The Islamic conquest of North Africa saw made a huge influence for a whole medieval Africa, so since if it was a lost civilisation I could use some arch details for widows to make it atleast a bit more interesting (Again there's not enough logic, because It's hardly believable that this could reach the real influential area).

Fasiledes's castle, Fasil Ghebbi, Gondar

I don't think that It would be a crime to use some modern eastern African architecture style, but as we see in the last example it is highly influenced by Arabic style. 

The Geography:

South eastern Africa is quite Semi-arid. East side is much greener then west side, so I could use more herbal environment. gold, chromium, coal, iron ore, nickel, phosphates, tin, gem diamonds, platinum, copper, vanadium, salt, natural gas and it doesn't explain why the ancient temple would have a white marble statue there, but it explains how Holly could have seen flaming towers in the cavern and why it was shining in reddish color. Playing with red diamonds and fire exploding because of natural gas leak from the underground I allready imagine how it could look like.

In this research I used a lot of info from wiki not just to copy/paste something, but show what I found out about local affections for allegedly lost civilisation culture and architecture described in the book. Even though I can imagine what I actually have to show most of my previous ideas now looks useless and I'll try starting everything from a different perpective.

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