Kalf’s Kitchen

This years DRP project has been designed by our head of construction Andy. Andy set our first years the task of recreating a still life painting by, 17th century artist,  Willem Kalf. The painting depicts a kitchen interior and was one of many pieces he did on the same subject matter between 1640 and 1646. The actual size of the painting is only 25.1cm x 21.3cm which is incredible when you look at the detail within it.


Our first years had a short introduction and research period at the beginning of the project and were able to use this time to experiment with materials and create samples for the finishes they were hoping to incorporate into the set.

The first years were able to make an early start on constructing the flats which made up the walls of the kitchen and the coal bunker. This part of the project gave them a great opportunity to put into practise the scenic construction techniques they have been taught during their first term on the course and develop their construction skills.


It was then time to apply texture…

Using their samples as a reference, the group was able to transfer the textures onto the flats and floor of the set. They used a mixture of idenden, artex and sawdust mix in order to replicate the textures found in the Kalf painting.

Once the set had been textured it was time to get painting! Kalf’s painting is mainly made up of different tones and hues of brown and creams and has a very earthy feel to it so it was important that this was captured within the set. The brief also required the students to consider how Kalf captured light in his painting and to transfer this into the set.

Alongside the construction of the walls and floor of the set there were a variety of furniture pieces and objects in the painting which needed to be made. These were divided up among our first year students, giving them each there own props to create and an opportunity to experiment with some prop making techniques.

Here is how they got on….

Model of shallow tub


Libby created the shape of the tub by fixing together timber pieces with screws and resin. The bands were made with rubber tubing and pieces of rope which were stuck to the rubber with hot glue and sealed using copydex. The whole thing was then covered with idenden to add texture.


Model of bucking tub


Alana constructed her prop from timber pieces that she had cut to size and shaped. The structure was screwed and glued together. The bands were then made using the same method as Libby and attached using contact adhesive. The prop was also covered in idenden and primed before applying a final paint finish.


Model of Jug



Madison carved the shape of the jug out of polystyrene on the lathe. the shape was then sanded down and then covered in foamcoat to give it a smoother texture before painting.


Model of candlestick


Alex turning the candlestick shape on the wood lathe. This was then sanded and covered in a couple of coats of varnish.


Model of pewter jug

IMG_1792George sculpting the jug out of clay to prepare a shape to cast from.


Model Piece of Green Bowl


Anna produced the bowl through Polycarving. She then coated the shape in foam coat and primed it before applying the final green finish.


The cupboard was constructed from plywood and mdf . This was then textured and received a number of paint treatments to achieve the required wood grain effect. The door was made with thin pieces of timber which were laid, in a criss-cross fashion, over a template of the door and glued and stapled into place.

Painting the cloths…


Once all the individual elements of the set were made the remaining task was to blend everything together. To achieve this the set was treated with  raw umber washes to darken the edges and blend the different wood finishes. The props were then all dressed into the set according to the placement of the items in the painting.

To finish the piece off our first year Technical Theatre students Etienne and Katie added some wonderful lighting to the set by rigging them off our paint bridge which really added some drama to the set.

The finished set…




A great job by our first years!

Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Kalf’s Kitchen

  1. Barry Ife

    Excellent work – sorry I couldn’t see it in person. Barry Ife

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