Archive | 22:08

Necropolis And The Linguist

23 Aug

23 champollion

Husb and I just went away for a few days to Paris and in our last few hours we visited the Pere Lachaise Cemetery. I knew there were famous graves there and we wanted to visit some dead artists but I had no idea what to expect or how amazing the place is. It’s a necropolis; a city of the dead. The area is packed with incredible tombs and monuments, most of them like tiny houses with pointed roofs, doors and stained glass windows, laid out in streets. It’s like walking around a city from a Tim Burton film.

One grave I desperately wanted to visit was the tomb of Jean-Francois Champollion, the French linguist who translated the Rosetta Stone and unlocked the meaning of Egyptian hieroglyphics. The monument is in an older part of the necropolis, rather rundown and ramshackle, but his simple and minimalist memorial obelisk stands out from the strange, ornate little houses surrounding it. It was a very hot day and the place was full of tourists and mourners attending funerals but there was a strange silence underlying it all.

I sat on the ground opposite and worked up this sketch into my A5 clothbound sketchbook that I’d previously prepared with some ripped up brown package paper. I used Faber Castell Pitt pens, sizes S, F, M and B in sepia along with some water colour in black and emerald green and a touch of white conte crayon.

The BBC has a documentary about Champollion and the Rosetta Stone on You Tube.

%d bloggers like this: