Bordeaux in pictures3rd October, 2013 by Gabriel Savage
Scottish artist Jonathan Warrender has taken inspiration from Bordeaux to create a collection of 26 drawings featuring some of the region’s most famous châteaux.
The idea for the project was rooted in a visit by Warrender to paint a picture of Latour more than 20 years ago. With the help of Fiona Morrison MW of Le Pin and Mark Walford, founder of UK importer Richards Walford, he compiled a list of châteaux which, Warrender told the drinks business, “would make an interesting collection and really show people where these wines come from.”
Over a two-year period up to August 2012, he visited Bordeaux to put together a series which features all the first growths and many of the region’s most distinctive châteaux, including some of its more modern architectural designs.
“Some were more difficult to do than others,” Warrender told db, “but being able to complete the thing was the greatest pleasure; it was really nice to finish it.”
During his long hours sitting among the vines, Warrender was particularly struck by the industrious activity going on around him. “I was terribly impressed by how hard people work there,” he remarked. “The vineyard workers were absolutely charming – in fact one of them ended up coming to work on our sheep farm.”
While many of these estates have been regularly depicted in a range of media over the centuries, Warrender lamented what he feels is a modern preference for commissioning photographic representations.
“The thing about wine is that it’s such a craft and has such a strong tradition,” he observed. “From my point of view it’s a great pity that they’ve got themselves terribly involved with photography. Ideally it’s a terribly artistic place, where three drawers looking at the same view could give very different interpretations.”
As for his own choice of medium, Warrender admitted to a strong commercial intent behind the project. “I always wanted to see if I could sell the drawings in the east and was aware that people there with new ambitions and new money were likely to want a more traditional image,” he explained.
To add to the collection’s appeal, Warrender noted that by chance the paper used for the project came from Ruscombe Paper Mill, an English-owned firm which is based in Margaux.
As intended, the original pen and ink wash drawings have now been sold to a private art collector in Hong Kong. However, a limited edition of 30 prints per châteaux are available for £200 each.
Signed and numbered by the artist, the 52x35cm prints have been created using the Giclée process on mould-made, heavyweight Hahnemuhle fine art paper, which is age resistant. The finished result promises “all the tonalities and hues of the original pen and ink wash drawings.”
A selection of Warrender’s drawings, complete with some of his own comments on the stories behind them, is available over the following pages.
For further information or to buy the prints, click here.