Sketching A Hansom Cab

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A minute later we were both in a hansom, driving furiously for the Brixton Road. – A Study in Scarlet 

I’m a big fan of Sherlock Holmes.  Not the Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock.  Not the TV show Sherlocks.  I’m a fan of the original, as written by Arthur Conan-Doyle.  In those stories, Holmes and Watson were often travelling in hansom cabs.

Sherlock’s carriage equivalent of the taxi was, more precisely, the Hansom safety cab, designed by architect Joseph Hansom in 1834.  It’s interesting to note that “cab” is short for cabriolet, a French word for a 2-wheel, horse-drawn carriage.  It’s also where taxi cab comes from.

I’d never actually seen one until Quebec City’s Musée de la civilisation opened an exhibit of 13 representatives from a large collection of carriages.  I had to draw it.

I did this one in a Stillman & Birn Gamma (10×7) sketchbook.  It was the first sketch in my new, “Spring” sketchbook.  I hope you like it.

Stillman & Birn Gamma (10x7), Namiki Falcon w/De Atramentis Document Black

Stillman & Birn Gamma (10×7), Namiki Falcon w/De Atramentis Document Black

2 Responses to “Sketching A Hansom Cab”

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  1. Great sketch Larry

    I’m particularly impressed by the circular wheel !
    Mine are seldom round 🙂

    Think Spring!

    Alan

    • …when I draw quickly mine aren’t either. But if I want them to look round, I start by measuring left-right and top-bottom, drawing a box to encompass the wheel. This is important because most times the wheel isn’t completely face on and you’re actually drawing an ellipse and sometimes a tilted ellipse.

      Then I mark the midpoints of each side of the box. Suddenly, drawing four 90-degree arcs ain’t so bad and it’s easy to see which one (there’s always one) isn’t right. — Larry