St Paul’s Cathedral from the East

St Paul’s Cathedral and the restored tower of St Augustine Watling Street.

St Paul’s Cathedral and the tower of St Augustine Watling Street

To the East of St Paul’s is another church tower, on the right of my drawing. It is what remains of a medieval church, St Augustine Watling Street. Reconstructed after the 1666 Fire of London, St Augustine was then destroyed again by bombing in 1941. The Tower was reconstructed in 1954, and made part of St Paul’s Choir School which occupies this area. The Choir School was completed in 1967, in good modernist style, but is rarely noticed, even though it is right next to St Paul’s Cathedral. The school is currently being extended, which is amazing since it occupies such a constricted site. There is scaffolding off to the right of the drawing.

I drew this sitting on a bench in “Festival Gardens” which is the lawn south of St Paul’s. It turns out that this is right on a tourist route, and groups of people passed by. A woman approached and respectfully asked if she could look at the drawing. She was interested in my picture, and said her daughter painted also. Then her companion approached and showed me a detailed picture of an alligator on his mobile phone. He said this picture was drawn by their daughter. The alligator was his pet. In the six years he had it, it had only bitten him once. But that time he needed 32 stitches.

I was just finishing the pen when a young man stopped and looked. He smiled, and went away. Then he came back and, like the woman, showed me his mobile phone. This time there was a message on it. In neat and polite English, the message told me that he was a visitor from Korea. He thought my drawing was very good and would I mind if he took a picture of it?

I said that would be fine, and held up the book so he could photograph it. Then I had a thought. I dug out one of my cards and pointed to the @janenorthcote written in clear letters at the bottom. “Instagram” I said, hoping that brand names would communicate between cultures. He nodded and smiled, and went back to join his group. Sure enough, when I’d finished the sketch, a ping on my phone announced that an Instagram message had arrived. @si_hyeonv had posted his photos, and written to say thank you.

Here are other photos of work-in-progress, taken by me.

Drawing took one hour, including colour. Three colours used: Mars Yellow, and the grey is Phthalo Green (BS) and Perylene Maroon, all Daniel Smith watercolours.

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