Stevens’ Terminus: Frederick William Stevens’ Drawings of the Victoria Terminus (1878-1888)
Venue: Sir J J College of Architecture, Mumbai Year: 2013
Frederick William Stevens’s drawings of the Great Indian Peninsular Railway Terminus (later the Victoria Terminus) were put on public display for the first time through this exhibition. Looking at the drawings, one gets sense that they form a testament of the late 19th century’s idea of progress, seen of course through western eyes. In his drawings, Stevens explores with great skill and understanding Gothic ornament and architectural devices, integrating, as is an architect’s wont, structure, furniture, plumbing as well as local responses to Mumbai’s climatic vagaries. These drawings, primarily constructional in nature, were made for execution on site. Typical to working drawings several are mounted on canvas backing to increase their life. Integrated into these, are the complex Gothic ornamental schemes that required the expertise of sculptors and craftsmen to accomplish.