Trial Bay in northern New South Wales houses the remains of a sandstone gaol, finished in 1886 and built by the convicts who were incarcerated there. It is a remote and beautiful spot, overlooking the ocean. The gaol was used in World War I as an internment camp for German nationals.
Visiting there last year I was captivated by a display of some of the convicts’ mug shots, along with their charge sheets, beautifully written in copperplate, listing their crimes, mostly petty – drunkenness, larceny, vagrancy, but some were murderers or charged with assault or ‘wounding with intent to murder’. The faces in the photos were very distinct, ranging from heavy-set thuggish faces to delicate, youthful and frightened ones.
The three images below are based on these, but I have not tried to faithfully capture each one, but to create new characters. They each have some charges listed behind them, intentionally not decipherable. They are miniatures, 10 x 6 cm, pencil on drafting film.
Below are my original roughs – when I am drawing miniatures I usually do large roughs, scan and reduce them, then work from those, adapting them as I see fit. The roughs are about A4, in pencil in a sketchbook.