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From Shakespeare's Globe to Sir Christopher Wren's St Paul — Heritage Models' Roger Pattenden

Rating: 70 votes, 4.87 average.
"All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players… —William Shakespeare

You could watch bear-baiting or bull-baiting in 1599 at London's Bankside Southwark pleasure district — or one of Shakespeare's renowned plays. Roger Pattenden's Heritage Models kit faithfully recreates Shakespeare's Globe playhouse in a 1:150 scale that allows for fine detailing like the Pillars of Hercules (clearly shown in this aerial view of the open-air Globe), the twin columns supporting the stage ceiling — known as the "heavens" — and its thatch roof. (Photo courtesy Roger Pattenden.) 

Romeo And Juliet, a Greek Classics Illustrated 1950s edition — and a 13-year-old non-English reader's prized possession.  
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I entered room 306 of Woodrow Wilson Junior High one morning in the fall of 1965 with Mr. Sea, the principal, and came face-to-face with Ms. Chesebro — and the Globe.

I immediately recognized Shakespeare's theater, pictured in the large poster Ms. Chesebro had pinned on her bulletin board, because I had seen a small black-and-white image of the Globe in a Greek encyclopedia. But this image seemed almost three dimensional, more a photo of a paper model than a drawing of a building.

Ms. Chesebro, who loves to tell the story of our first meeting, remembers, "You were wearing black short pants, a white shirt — and you were shaking like a leaf. 'I've got a new student for you, Margo," Mr. Sea said, 'and I know you two are going to get along just fine.' He was almost out the door when he turned around, adding, 'By the way, he doesn't speak English.'

"I was an English teacher! What was I going to do with you? This was before the days of teaching English as a foreign language. In fact, you were the first foreign student at Woodrow! All I could think of was to send home a note with an assignment."

The assignment? Ms. Chesebro, who was teaching Romeo and Juliet, suggested finding the comic book — sorry, Classic Illustrated — version of Shakespeare's play, thinking that having me looking at the pictures would at least be better than having me stare at the ceiling.

Imagine Ms. Chesebro's surprise when I returned the next day not with just one, but two Classics Illustrated: tucked in my notebook was also Ρομέος και Ιουλιέττα , one of a few of my treasured Greek Classics Illustrated editions that I brought with me across the Atlantic (see cover, at left). Of course, what I was reading was a pedestrian modern Greek translation of the Bard, but what did it matter? I was "reading," along with the class, and thrilled to feel that I belonged.

Ms. Chesebro, a wonderful teacher and mentor, was delighted. And since I didn't speak English, she decided that we could communicate in Spanish, and enrolled me in her first-year Spanish class!

But in English class I only had eyes for the Globe. I had been a young paper model enthusiast in Greece, and wondered: was there a paper model of the Globe I could build?

But my adoptive parents were more interested in my getting an education, not pursuing my childhood hobby, so no note about a Globe model ever reached Ms. Chesebro.

It wasn't until many years later while I was in the army that I discovered that a model of the Globe did, indeed, exist. Why, there it was, on the shield of PMI, the card models catalog I had just received in the mail.

"The Globe? That was our best seller!" says Louis Dausse (See, Saying “Goodbye” — Louis Dausse of Paper Models International. "Teachers assigned extra-credit for a model in English class."

Lou sent me a Globe kit — and my love affair with paper models was rekindled. Then, years later, while in London on a photo shoot you can imagine my excitement when I found myself alone in the reconstructed Globe Theatre at Southwark.

Inclement weather forced me indoors, in a manner of speaking, because at the open-air Globe I still found myself surrounded by gray clouds besides Shakespeare's "Wooden O." I don't know quite how long I stood there. If I trembled, as I had in my first day in Ms. Chesebro's class, it surely wasn't because of the cold.

The red twin pillars known as the Pillars of Hercules that hold up the stage roof towered above me, and, all around, the 20-sided, three-story Globe encircled me. Shakespeare's words echoed in my ears (one of my majors is English) and I could swear that at any moment Juliet would make her entrance in the balcony behind the Pillars of Hercules. Could Romeo have hidden behind one of them?

Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, Heritage Models' "authentic scale model kit of the recosntructed Globe Theatre at Southwark," bears Roger's Heritage Models logo — and the Globe imprimatur. 
Shakespeare's Globe Theatre

And what was I thrilled to find in the Globe gift shop? "Shakespeare's Globe Theatre; an authentic scale model kit, 99 component parts, six full colour A4 cards," by Heritage Models, designed by Roger Pattenden.

"You were there? That's great!" says Roger Pattenden. Isn't it an amazing place? The Globe was the chief venue for the performance of Shakespeare's greatest plays: Hamlet, Macbeth, King Lear, and Othello.

"The concept of reconstructing the Globe — which was built in 1599 — was Sam Wannamaker's, the American actor, writer, and film director. After his first visit to London in 1949, he founded, in 1970, the Shakespeare Globe Trust, dedicated to the reconstruction of the theater, and the creation of a permanent exhibition and education center.

"They found the original site, which was excavated, they found the exact dimensions of the original building, they did a lot of research. The Globe was built as near as they could to the original site, about 100 yards away, because its original location is a preserved archaeological site.

"In the early days of the reconstructed Globe it was quite fabulous, because it was a combination of all sorts of specialities: architects, archeologists, actors, builders, people knowledgeable about timber-framed buildings, as the Globe would have been in the 1500s."

How did the Globe paper model come about? Did Roger just walk into the Globe development office?

"More or less, yes! I had a little visit to the Center around the corner from the reconstructed Globe, and suggested to them a model. At that time, the Globe Theatre was a concrete base and a couple of beams standing up, but it very rapidly developed. That was about 1993; it was finished in 1997.

"Being a model maker in general, they asked me in the early days if I could also produce a large, one-off, scale model of the Globe. It is still there, in a glass case in the foyer. It's about two feet in diameter, at 1/50th scale. It was built of heavy cardboard, and balsa wood, and modeling clay and all sorts of things!

"Did you see, outside the Globe, in the yard, the large stone slabs? At the time they were charging about £300, which was a lot of money then, to have your name engraved on a slab. As a thank you for my offer of the Globe model, my name is on a slab, in perpetuity, right outside the theater! Every time I go there, I like having a look at that; it's wonderful — and it will be there forever, long after I'm gone.

Roger Pattenden with the Mayor of Harrow, England, Councillor Lurline Champagnie at the Harrow 2004 Show. Roger's Doric Euston Arch is shown at bottom right, his Cornish Beam Engine at bottom center. (Photo courtesy Roger Pattenden.) 
"I had the privilege of being invited to the very first production, in 1997, which was Henry V. I wasn't familiar with the play and wanted to know it before the production, so I read it forwards and backwards. "

O for a Muse of fire, that would ascend
The brightest heaven of invention,
A kingdom for a stage, princes to act
And monarchs to behold the swelling scene!
Then should the warlike Harry, like himself,
Assume the port of Mars; and at his heels,
Leash'd in like hounds, should famine, sword and fire
Crouch for employment. But pardon, and gentles all,
The flat unraised spirits that have dared
On this unworthy scaffold to bring forth
So great an object: can this cockpit hold
The vasty fields of France? or may we cram
Within this wooden O the very casques
That did affright the air at Agincourt?

"It's the most fabulous speech. They did it so superbly, I was absolutely stunned. I've seen some fabulous productions there every year. To actually stand in the yard, which can be very tiring, as a groundling, to stand there and watch a three-hour performance is just so consuming, so wonderful."

How long did it take to design the Globe model?

"Any model like that takes weeks, and weeks, and weeks. Probably three or four months. It's just a very time-consuming operation. You have to make it over and over again, and take it apart, strip it to its component parts until you're absolutely satisfied that everything will fit together and you've got the best possible design. It takes an awful long time."

While designing the Globe, did he, at any time, have doubts? When I'm shooting a book, If I think of it being out in the world I probably wouldn't be able to squeeze the shutter. And this is the Globe we're talking about.

"You've got to give it your best shot. Keep at it, do your absolute best. It worked out. I've done many more things since then, and I'm getting better at it. And the computer has helped.

"The first model I've created on the computer was the third revision of the Globe Theatre. The first version was hand-drawn and printed in monochrome, because we couldn't afford to print it in color.

That suddenly took off — I don't like to boast, but in the best part of twenty years I think the Globe Theatre model kit has something like 65,000 copies. The Globe, of course has licensed it, so I can use their name and logo on the design. In exchange, they get a percentage of the sales, so everyone has benefitted.

"After the initial monochrome printing sold out, it was done again in color. But then the design of the stage roof changed, and at that point the third revision was done on the screen."

Roger Pattenden's Euston Arch still stands, but sadly, the glorious original's stones are to be found in one or two English fields. (Photo courtesy Roger Pattenden.) 
The Euston Arch

The Globe wasn't the only model I bought from Lou Dausse: I also had him sent me Roger's The Euston Arch, so reminiscent of the famous Propylaea entrance to the Acropolis (see image at left).

And no wonder, as Roger relates in his The Euston Arch paper model, in a beautifully lettered script that he could easily market as a font:

The Arch was an immaculate and inspired recreation of a much admired historic prototype (the Propylaeum leading onto the Acropolis in Athens. The Euston Propylaeum was the largest Greek Doric Propylaeum, or portico, ever built and reached a height of over 70 feet. The construction of the Propylaeum, or Arch as it was quickly christened, marked the apogee of the Greek Revival in British architecture and was the first major monument of the railway age. Euston Station was the world's first railway terminus into London and the exit from the capital to the North.

"I remember seeing the Euston Arch as a young lad. We lived not far from London, and I remember my dad taking me to see the sights on Saturday morning. They tore it down in 1961. I got involved — and it is quite an interesting story — through a TV program about architectural history. Writer, historian and TV presenter Dan Cruickshank did a piece on The Arch. He had done an investigation about what really happened to the remains of the Arch when it was knocked down.

"I saw that program, was fascinated, contacted the BBC, they put me in touch with Dan and I went to see him. He had the original architectural drawings of the Arch that were commissioned by British Railways very kindly before they knocked it down. And I produced the model from those drawings.

"There is still an organization, Euston Arch Trust, and they've been trying to raise money and educating to having the Arch actually rebuilt. It's described as the greatest architectural travesty of the century to knock it down, it was such a beautiful building.

"This was 1953, before the list of preserved buildings was established. The Prime Minister at the time was Mr. McMillan who signed off the death of The Arch.

"I've been trying to revive that model. There are a couple of museums in London who'd be happy to stock The Euston Arch. The original model is a rather monochrome design, and I'd like to add a bit more color. But I have had trouble trying to color what was really a blackened stone building.

"By the ay, I just came across the catalog with the date of the model: 1996, would you believe. The Euston Arch was hand drawn — pen and ink with a bit of color wash — before I discovered computer graphics! My first models were all hand drawn, with an enormous amount of trial and effort: drawing designs, trying to put them together making sure they fit, making adjustments.

"It's so much easier now with computers, and my art school training years ago helps. I was trained as a graphic designer and did lettering, calligraphy and heraldry. I loved it. But then I spent twenty years working for a bank. It took a long time for all that teaching to bubble up."

Pollock's Toy Theatre — featuring a scene from 'Alladin — a delightful Heritage Models pop-up card featuring exquisite art and "die-cutting" courtesy of Roger's own hand and X-Acto knife. Mouseover the image above to see inside. (Card opens sideways, not as shown for this animation. Photo © Crè 
So how did Roger begin designing paper models?

"I live very close to the this old building in Harrow, the 1506 Tithe Barn, so named because the peasants of the estate were required to give a tenth of their crops to the landlord. It's a huge, ancient barn, and there's Headstone Manor next door. The earliest parts of this moated manor house date from the 13th century — and I know you don't have much like that where you are!

"I was thinking of something to entertain my youngest daughter who was about ten at the time, so we thought we'd measure up the barn and produce a model kit of it.

"It got to the point where I thought, hang on a minute, I could produce this in kit form. I spoke to the people who look after the Harrow Museum and they said yes, if you get them printed we'll buy them. And they did.

"I didn't know anything about color printing at the beginning. They were line-drawn models to be hand-colored before assembly. I was completely unaware of the paper model industry, apart from my experience as a youngster building Micromodels, a huge series, published in the early 1950s of very tiny models of all sorts of subjects: steam engines, airplanes, boats…

"From there, I visited lots of local museums in London and did the same thing, producing a model kit or line drawing, printed on white card to be colored in and glued together.

"Even when I came across the Globe Theatre, that model was a monochrome brown design. It was the Globe that got me going, realizing that there was a world out there of colored models. I got in touch with other builders and designers. That's when the Internet came along and I realized there were a lot of other people out there doing the same sort of thing. And then I got in touch with people the likes of Louis Dausse and Mike Stamper."

Do you have a favorite model that you've designed?

"The Globe? Of course I'm very, very pleased with, so proud of. Another favorite? There's one that I found very pleasing, because the coloring worked out very well: the Cornish Tin Mine Engine House, a stone building with a slate roof. That was one the first I did in color, and that's one I'm now especially fond of.

"I'm now thinking about redoing The Euston Arch along the same lines: the model will be the same shape and size, but with a bit more color."

We have the 1666 Great Fire of London and Sir Christopher Wren to thank for the magnificent St. Paul's Cathedral — and Heritage Models' Roger Pattenden for the newly published St. Paul's Cathedral paper model that allows you to, "Create your own model masterpiece." 
St. Paul's Cathedral

How did St. Paul's paper model come about?

"The good people at St. Paul's contacted me to say that they had seen my work at the Globe Theatre and could I do something similar for them?

Did you work from Sir Christopher Wren's drawings?

"Not the original drawings, but I was given some set of drawings. It's such a beautiful building. I was given a personal tour that the public doesn't get to see. The Triforium Gallery includes what is called Sir Christopher Wren's Great Model. A wooden model of his second design of St. Paul's, about twelve, thirteen feet long, large enough to fall in if you were so allowed. It is the most amazing thing I've ever seen. And even so, that design was rejected, and he ended up building something else."

Was St. Paul's model more challenging than the Globe?

"Technically challenging, yes. It's always difficult to get the proportions exactly correct, and the model is far more intricate. There are lots more tiny component parts. I supposed St. Paul's was the most challenging so far."

You have also designed a model of The Rose, the first Elizabethan open-air Playhouse?

"Shakespeare and Company, Lenox, Massachussets, approached the architect of the reconstruction of the Globe, Jon Greenfield and Peter McCurdy, who's an expert in timber-framed buildings — he and his company built the actual timber oak frame of the Globe — to reconstruct the Rose. My model kit is based upon Jon Greenfield’s designs. So again, I was able to build a model from his drawings."

Did you build paper models as a child?

"I'm of an age, I was born in 1946, before plastic models were available. Micromodels were my first introduction to paper models, and I suppose any cereal box I could get a hold of I'd turn into a model of something!"

Are you still designing models?

"Yes, but the last ten, twelve years I've worked in a school as a technician: woodwork and metalwork, what is called Design & Technology. I retired last year, but I didn't like retirement too much, so I'm back at the school again.

Heritage Models pop-up card, the Urania toy theater, designed for Pollock's Toy Museum. (Photo Crè 
"I'm now also employed as a drama technician. I love designing and building all the props and the sets of the annual school play, the drama production. I would have carried on doing that voluntarily, but they found a little bit of funding to employ me. But it's really the greatest job working with those very talented youngsters, performing."

You do modeling shows. What's happening in the world of paper modeling?

"Have you met Mike Stamper? He'd would be great in answering this question, because he's really involved in the modeling world.

"Mike and I discovered each other on the Internet some years ago. We've get together, some five or six of us, similarly minded, and we meet regularly at the model shows. The IPMS plastic model society has gotten used to our presence now. We've got an increasing number of followers.

"What's happening in the modeling world? Some large model retailers have gone out of business, which is really sad. But paper modeling is still very much strong in the rest of the world, especially in countries that were behind the iron curtain in the fifties and plastic models never seems to have reached them. The paper model tradition has survived, and they're doing strongly. I'm hopeful that will grow and recover."

My question is prompted by Roger's comments on his site that, "Many had passed by my tables with complete indifference…" So what does he hear from the people that do stop?

"What made the event so enjoyable was the response from the very many who were genuinely surprised and intrigued by the display. Filled with wonderment, that this thing exists, something they had never known of before. It's from one extreme to the other."

Thank you, Roger. I've enjoyed talking with you very much.

All the world's a stage — "Greetings from Stratford upon Avon." — Heritage Models pop-up card designed by Roger Pattenden for Shakespearience. (Photo Crè 
"It's been great talking to you, Alexis. And your paper nativities are quite fascinating to me; something I hadn't come across before, all those beautiful Nativity models. You've opened my eyes to an area of paper modelling that I hadn't known of.

"Your blog about Lou contains a Schreiber model Theater-Krippe. That puts me in mind of the pop-up cards which I produce for the Toy Theatre companies in London. I shall put a sample of one or two of those in the package which I shall send you."

Pop-Up Greeting Cards

Roger's package arrived ust in time to photograph and share his colorful pop-up cards with you. A card that Roger has designed for Shakespearience features "Greetings from Stratford upon Avon," and, when opened, a typical Elizabethan stage that pops up, with the theater's three tiers topped by a thatched roof.

Besides the Elizabethan stage, Roger's pop-up greeting cards for Shakespearience include a period cottage, a house, and a church. Measuring 5 x 7 inches and printed on heavier ivory stock, the cards are available with a matching envelope and presentation cellophane cover.

Roger has also designed a set colorful pop-up cards for Pollock's Toy Museum.

A Heritage Models pop-up card, The Regency, a Pollock's Toy Museum toy theatre. (Photo Crè 
"Pollock's," he says, "specialize in Victorian Toy Theaters, which adapt admirably to this folding format. Each card displays the theater with four levels — the proscenium arch, the players, the side flats, and the backcloth."

Roger's toy theater designs include Pollock's Theatre with a scene from 'Aladdin;' The Regency, featuring a performance of 'Harlequinade;') the Victoria and the Urania.

Beautifully designed, softly colored and finely die-cut — or I thought! "They're all cut with a scalpel [X-Acto knife], with my own hand!" Roger says, these pop-up greeting cards will bring a smile to anyone who's ever sat spellbound in front of a stage.

I've already made my list of those who'll be getting one. Topping the list? Ms. Chesebro, who so long ago taught Romeo and Juliet, and me my first English words.


You'll want to visit Roger Pattenden's Heritage Models website, and enjoy all his other great models and the insightful comments that accompany his presentation. Ordering information is also available on his pages. I'm delighted to announce that soon, the Globe and other Roger Pattenden Heritage Models will also be available in the Paper Model Kiosk.

"I heard today from the good people at Rosslyn Chapel," Roger Pattenden says, "a model I've spent much time working on last year. Rosslyn is a beautiful ancient chapel south of Edinburgh that became famous for being featured in Dan Brown's book, The Da Vinci Code. They'll now be going ahead with that. (Photo courtesy Roger Pattenden.) 

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