Ross School - Senior Project 2006-07

Student: Ryland Hilbert

Mentor: Jenn Cross

Consultant: Shannon Maddock

Domain: Visual Arts


Title: Reverence & Nostalgia


For my Senior Project I interpreted monarchs and royals through the medium of collage, and wrote a research paper on each of the royals I chose. I used historic royals that played an important role in history as well as more recent royals. I did this to show how the roles and establishment of royalty has changed over the centuries. I ended up selecting Marie Antoinette, the last Queen of France, King Louis XIV of France, Queen Victoria of England, Princess Diana of Wales, Princess Grace Kelly of Monaco, and HM Bhumiphol Adulaydej, current king of Thailand. Over the course of the project I was able to gain a great deal of historical background on each of these figures and gain a respect for when monarchies were the common type of government throughout so many countries.


I used several different types of collage techniques. In some I used the more commonly known styles of collaging of just cut out and paste. However, in the photograph of the one piece above I used gloss mediums, which are similar to a gel-like substance. I covered fabrics, objects, photos, stamps, gold leaf, and money with the gel mediums. The objects added relief to the flat collage and gave it a dimension and texture, while adding character to each piece.

Other techniques that I used were gold leaf printing and printing on fabric like papers. I used these techniques in the Queen Victoria collage above on the smaller Louis XIV collage.


My senior project began with an interest in both history and art. I first developed a love for history when I was a child and always related myself to historical themes and characters. A hobby that I have had since I was a child would have to be collage and I have always loved manipulating images into themes and creating new images that were a representation of my character. These two interests set the basis from which I came up with my idea for what I wanted to do for senior project.

My project entitled Reverence & Nostalgia was a culmination of my interest in these two themes and the final product was both visual art and written biographical pieces. The visual art in my project was a series of collages that represented both modern and historical royal figures. I collaged several pieces on these historical figures with an emphasis on iconography that existed in each of the figures lives. I wanted to include written statements on each of the royal figures lives so that the viewer could look at both the collages and the written pieces and gain some knowledge on each of the figure’s life. My written pieces were about one page long and noted key points in each royal figures life. My collages varied in size, shape, and style and were an exploration of techniques in the medium of collage.

The medium of collage was something I really began to familiarize myself even more with over the course of this project. Through research and personal ideas, I came up with techniques and ways to create each piece. Some of my collages were done in a more traditional manner while others emphasized texture. I used gloss mediums in several of my pieces, which was a gel like substance that provided texture and relief to my visual products. I was able to discover new adhesive types to work with while collaging and used a variation of techniques.

My Final product included 6 written biographical pieces and 11 different collages on King Bhumiphol Adulyadej, Princess Grace, Princess Diana, Louis XIV, Marie Antoinette, and Queen Victoria. My final product included a variation of collages and techniques and incorporated research, iconography, historical context, and a great deal of images.

For my Installation I chose a space in the mid level of the senior building that I was able to create into a little “gem box”. I had all the pillows, cushions, and previously hanging artwork removed from this bay window. After everything was removed I transferred well over a 100 river stones to create a rock garden and incorporated plants and a statue into the installation. My collages were framed and hung on the wall and 3 were placed on stands in the rock garden. Each biography was mounted on the wall with numbers that matched them to each piece.

My goals for this project were simple yet challenging. I wanted to be able to finish my project in the allotted time that was provided in an organized fashion. One of my main goals was that I wanted to advance my knowledge in collage and history. I was able to achieve all the main goals of my project.

My product has a significant historical context and gives an insightful look into the iconography of 6 particular historical figures through collage. Each biography gives an accurate detail of the 6 figures lives and the roles that they had in their respective nations. In the end my whole entire project came out exactly how I wanted it to and brought a historical depth to my visual components in an aesthetically pleasing installation that were composed of my original ideas.

Works Consulted

Arnstein, Walter L. Queen Victoria. Great Britain: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003.

Boyer, Marie-France. The Private Realm Of Marie Antoinette. London: Thames and Hudson, 1995.

Burke, Peter. The Fabrication of Louis XIV. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1992.

Curtis, Jenny. Grace Kelly: A Life In Pictures. New York: MetroBooks, 1998.

Dunlop, Ian. LOUIS XIV. New York: St. Martins, 1999.

Grace Kelly: American Princess. Dir. Bob Jaffe. DVD. Hearst Entertainment Inc, 1995.

Gray, Denis D. The King Of Thailand In World Focus. Thailand: Foreign Correspondent Club of Thailand, 1988.

Le Temps. Versailles In The Age Of Louis XIV. France: Collection Le Temps, 1993.

Lever, Evelyne. Marie Antoinette: The Last Queen Of France. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2000.

MacMillian Profiles: Kings And Queens. New York: Macmillian Library Reference USA, 1999.

Marly, Diana De. Louis XIV & Versailles. New York: Holmes & Meier, 1987.

Montclos, Jean-Marie Perouse de.  Versailles. New York: Abbeville Press Publishers, 1991.

Pincas, Stephane. Versailles: The History Of The Gardens And Their Sculptures.  New York: Thames and Hudson, 1995.

Weber, Caroline. Queen Of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore To The Revolution. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2006.

Community Member (Details)

My community member was Shannon Maddock.  She went to the School of Visual arts in New York City. She was a great help because her senior thesis was on types of adhesive and she has worked with the medium of collage for several years.

I documented my interactions with her in my process folio and wrote down all of her suggestions. I used several of her suggestions in my collages and she was a huge help with the final product because she was able to give me insightful information that advanced my final collages.

She met with me several times and looked over my work. She was not able to attend the opening night but did come and see it afterwards and went over with me why she liked my final installation and the outcome. She also attended my presentation and went over my presentation with me prior.