In my Foreword to Volume 1, I expressed the hope that there would be further volumes of the Charlie Chadwick diaries and drawings and I am pleased to say, because of the interest show, this has now happened.
We all owe a huge debt of gratitude to David Warner for both preserving this valuable record of the inter-war cycle touring and also in painstakingly selecting material and arranging for publication. Charlie was very much a cycling mentor to David and other early members of the Rough Stuff Fellowship (founded in 1955). The exploits of Chadwick and others inspired a whole generation to seek out the remote paths and tracks at a time when this was deeply unfashionable in the cycling world.
I have been lucky enough to see the original diaries which are contained in a number of foolscap voumes, Obviously the quality of the drawings stand out, being amongst the best pen and ink drawings I have seen. It has been pointed out by Japanese art critics (where this genre is highly valued) that a good pen and ink drawing will convey the atmosphere, and often by use of white space, that is what the artist does not paint. This is true of the best English drawings including Chadwick’s. They possess that rare ability to make you see the scene when you visit or see a photograph through the portrayal by the artist. Just as impressive is the uniformly neat writing (achieved by using a template made of brass) which unfortunately cannot be successfully reproduced.
In the late 1990’s the RSF published a small selection of drawings in their magazine. As the originals were done on lined paper, without the benefits of modern technology, they did not reproduce that well. So it is wonderful to see the high quality reproduction in these volumes.
So enjoy the second volume and if you can seek out some of these places on the bike many are still magical.
Rough Stuff Fellowship