An unusual photographic survey archive was released on the ADS website in February 2023 which features a large mural depicting the sad love story of the historic pantomime character Pierrot. This survey was undertaken by The Archaeology Co. in September 2022. The mural was commissioned by Roddy Llewelyn and painted by artist Timothy Plant in July 1986.
The mural depicts Pierrot, who is a stock character of pantomime and commedia dell’arte, whose origins can be found in the Italian troupe, Comédie-Italienne, who performed in Paris in the late seventeenth-century. Pierrot has been depicted in various forms of art since this time. His character in contemporary popular culture is that of the sad clown, often pining for love of Columbine, who usually breaks his heart and leaves him for Harlequin. The centrepiece of this mural shows Pierrot sat upon the window and playing a lute, while a woman (presumably Columbine) looks on from the balcony above. The mural makes use of various features and fittings of the existing building at Old Beams. Pierrot, for example, is shown sitting on top of the ground floor window and to either side a pair of figures are holding up a flame (to the left) and a candle snuff (right) to the actual light fittings on the wall.
Photographs of the mural and its surroundings were taken to put the mural into context and allow a complete record of the artwork. By overlapping several photographs and using a series of placed targets of known distance, the mural was ‘stitched together’ using the GNU Image Manipulation program (GIMP) and then scaled in AutoCAD. This created a fully rectified image of the mural that was not possible to record in person.
To see more of this surprising mural, the digital archive Images from Photographic Survey Work of ‘The Sad Tale of Pierrot’ mural by Timothy Plant at Old Beams, Waterhouses, September 2022 can be accessed and downloaded on the ADS website.