It’s no easy matter to show 100 years of Bentley cars. Still harder to show them in context, in scale, and in a way that captures their essential qualities. It’s a task that’s as much about the spirit as it is about precision.
Phillip Dutton-White has the uncanny ability to make you feel as if you could step inside the image, open the car door and breathe in that unique blend of old-car engine and patinated leather. An artist rather than an illustrator, Dutton-White aims not only to capture the detail of an automobile but also a sense of the people who created it.
It’s a long and painstaking process. To start with, Phillip produces a sketch in pencil on tracing paper, using photographs or illustrations supplied by the design team at Crewe as reference.
Once Bentley has approved the initial pencil sketch, it is transferred onto the watercolour board. Phillip works by applying light watercolour washes to gradually build up the colour and start to bring out the reflections and lines of the car. It can take up to twelve washes to achieve the desired effect, and each layer has to dry before the next is applied. Finally, he brings out the highlights and details of each model using graphite, ink and pastels.