Pencil Drawings

The years have not been kind to Buss' pencil sketches. We can see from his folio collections that he always seemed to work up a design first in pencil. Sometimes he would focus on one particular character in the picture to make sure he got the angles and the sense of movement correct.

Some examples

I love these sketches because all of them exhibit fast, confident pencil work with little need to adjust line or shape once committed to paper. This first one reminds us of the agony many sailors endured in those days, risking both life and limb, and yet finding the strength to carry on, if they were not actually killed!

This was a trial drawing for an illustration that would subsequently appear in a rollicking sea tale by Captain Maryatt.

Notice the use of a few dabs of white pastel to provide additional highlights.

Now our old sea tar has gained his seat on an empty crate. He uses tongs to hold a hot coal from the fire to light his clay pipe. He's happy!

The scene shifts, quite literally, to the stage. Here an intrepid actor rehearses his lines while a short way off, unseen in the sketch, is a lion! But it's only another actor dressed as a lion. The speed of the sketch is largely owing to the fact that the artist was sketching from life; he was there watching the actors rehearse. Whether this fellow paused for a moment for Buss to capture the pose we cannot be sure.

It's intriguing that sailor with the pipe and the gallant actor both appear to wear the same shirt! Maybe these shirts were very common in those days.