St Magnus the Martyr


The Parish and Pilgrimage Church of Saint Magnus the Martyr in the City of London, drawn from a bench on the Riverside walk.

Saint Magnus was Earl of Orkney, died 1118 and canonised in 1135. This is a Wren church, re-built 1668-1676, after the Fire of London. There has been a church hereabouts from at least 1128.

This church has a marvellous porch and clock, in the shadow in the drawing, but accessible from Lower Thames St. A notice in the porch says “This Churchyard formed part of the roadway approach to the old London Bridge, 1176-1831”.

Also in the drawing is the Monument to the Fire of London, another Wren construction, built 1671-77.

Also in the drawing are a number of 20th Century office blocks.

About an hour to draw, by which time it was dark.

Looking North up Whitecross Street to Coltash Court

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Coltash Court is the residential tower block in the centre of the picture. It’s 152 Whitecross Street, at the junction of Whitecross Street with Old Street. I can’t see when it was built – looks like 1960s. It’s labelled “Homes for Islington”, with Islington Council branding as well. A one-bedroom flat in there is advertised for £415K, “fully furnished”.

I drew and coloured this standing up at the junction with Errol Street, outside Waitrose. 9:30 to 10:30, so about an hour. I used the convenient tables in the covered section outside Waitrose to put my painting things. But I couldn’t draw from there as I couldn’t see up the street.

From St Luke’s Garden, Pleydell Estate and City Road

A vista of Islington development, drawn from a bench in St Luke’s Gardens.
In the foreground the building with the pitched roof is Toffee Park Adventure playground.

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In the background, from left to right:
Grayson House (Left edge of picture) and Galway House, both part of the Pleydell Estate, Islington Council, completed 1959 (according to “Wikimapia” – I don’t know how reliable that is)
Social housing and ex-council flats.

Eagle Point: The Eagle & Eagle Black

“Art Deco inspired studio, 1,2 3 & 4 bedroom apartments, and luxury Eagle Black residences, from Mount Anvil and designed by Farrells. Situated on City Road, London EC1, moments from Old Street roundabout in Shoreditch. Live The Eagle lifestyle”

completed November 2015

M by Montcalm

“Squire and Partners’ concept for the M by Montcalm hotel in Shoreditch was delivered in collaboration with Executive Architects 5 Plus, and completed in summer 2015. The site – opposite Moorfields Eye Hospital on City Road – provided inspiration for a striking facade which expresses the idea of the optical and the visual.

Responding to the Moorfields Eye Hospital opposite, and taking inspiration from the 1980′s artworks of Bridget Riley, the facade is expressed as a triple glazed skin enlivened with differing patterns of transparency, opacity and solidity to convey diagonal slopes breaking across an underlying vertical structure.

Manipulation and modulation of light, both internally and externally, give the facade richness and an ever-changing face on this prominent site, as well as assisting solar performance to create a sustainable development. The conjunction of the vertical and the diagonal create a visual effect of depth and movement, and express the activities taking place within the building. At the upper levels the facade openings become larger to express the more social uses and exploit the panoramic views.

At ground and lower ground floors, the building skin ‘lifts’ on the diagonal to reveal the hotel lobby, public bar and restaurant, all clearly visible from the street.”

Completed July 2015

Godfrey House: (right edge of picture) Part of the St Luke’s Estate, also called the “St Luke’s Printing Works redevelopment”, approved 1965 (according to Wikimapia)
Social housing and ex-council flats.

Drawn and coloured on a bench in the garden, about 1hr10min.
On another bench, two men cracked open cans. I heard them call “What’s that dog, mate?”
The shouted response came, “Her mother’s a rottweiler and her father’s a Labrador”. The owner, limping across the park, informed them that the dog was “one step away from a wolf”. This was evidently recommendation. “She’s got rottweiler markings” he said.
Once he’d gone, the interest in dogs continued. They called to a woman, and asked about her dogs. These were “A Labrador and a cocker spaniel”. The Labrador was called Debbie. They called to her, and the dog rushed over, bouncing up at them.

While all this was going on, a woman with oriental features, without a dog, was walking loops of the park, looking directly ahead.

After the drawing I walked to identify the towers, via Radnor Street and Peerless Street, and had a coffee at Westland Coffee next to Eagle Point. This coffee, in a paper cup, cost £2.70. They did bring it to my table though.

Here what the picture looked like before the colour went on:


Etching: the City

An etching created and printed at East London Printmakers.
Basis of a New Year card.

Ink on Fabriano paper, just under 12 inches by 6 inches, to fit in a 6inch square envelope when folded.
The white line is sewing cotton, laid on the plate.

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img 9446 – close-up
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img 9445 – whole card, 12 inches by 6 inches


The North Garden, Charterhouse


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A sketch in the North Garden of The Charterhouse.

This wall is very old. The letters “A” and “N” in the drawing are iron, embedded in the brickwork. The whole message is spelled out along the 100 feet or so of the wall and reads “ANNO 1571”.

The door is more like a tunnel in the thick brickwork. It has a grass path leading to it and looks functional. Nobody went in or out while I was drawing it.
I loved this part of the garden. It was very quiet, and, for winter, amazingly lush. There was even birdsong.
It was, however, very cold. So I only could do one drawing. My hands and legs were becoming stiff. Behind me, another painting waited to be done: bright orange seedpods of the plant I know as “Chinese Lanterns”, and a very dignified old tree, gnarled but upright.
But I had to get back into the warm.

As I drew this, the gardener passed and re-passed, going down into a basement nearby. He said I wasn’t in their way. “You’re alright,” he said.

About 1hr45, to 11:10am. Drawn and coloured on location.

Here is the pen and ink, before the watercolour went on.

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Thank you to the Preacher of Charterhouse, Rev Robin Isherwood, and the Brothers and workers at Charterhouse for their hospitality.
It’s a marvellous pleasure to visit.

Stormy Seas, Raft

“Found image”, after wiping an etching plate.
I’m pleased at how the shape of this plate is articulate of a horizontal rectangle, even with no other clues. The black ink round the plate looks to me like the sea. But perhaps that’s just wishful thinking.