There’s a lot of restoration work going on at Canterbury Cathedral at the moment. The ceiling of the main nave was covered up, and one of the towers was wrapped in scaffolding. Also, it being Sunday, a part of the nave was occupied, reasonably enough, with a service. There was much to see, notably the quiet and dimly lit crypt, where there are huge strong pillars, marvellous mathematical curves and stone carvings which delighted the medievalist amongst us.
Stairs back up to the nave
A view towards an altar in the crypt
A tomb in the crypt
Pointing out the medieval carving
A row of pillars
I drew a picture from the cloisters.
It was perhaps unwise to start drawing those ogee* arches with their crocketing**, but I accepted the challenge. The building in the background is The Old Palace, which is the main residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury. It was built between 1193 and 1228, and has been modified and restored since, most recently in 2006.
I drew this picture sitting on the stone surrounds of the cloisters.
Here are some maps to show where I was drawing.
Here is work in progress. The drawing took an hour, pen and ink and watercolour on location.
*ogee arches are arches with those fine points
**crocketing is the series of knobs which are often seen on spires and arches of gothic style buildings
Here is a sketch of Lincoln Cathedral tower, drawn from the cloisters.
Lincoln Cathedral was originally built in 1072, as part of William the Conqueror’s programme of cathedral-building in England after his 1066 invasion.
It was partly destroyed in an earthquake in 1185. It might be more accurate to say that parts of the cathedral fell down at the time of the earthquake. The cathedral had construction faults, and the earthquake may well have triggered a collapse that was in any case imminent. The earthquake was something like 4 or 5 on the Richter scale. It’s interesting to note that such (natural) earthquakes are quite common in the UK and seem to happen every two years or so.
Then it was rebuilt in the current ornate style in around 1200.
We went on a tour. Here are some of my very quick sketches as our guide, Paul, took us around the cathedral.
Visitors to the cathedral
After the tour I went to the cloisters and finished my picture of the tower. Here is work in progress.
We went to Lincoln by train. It was pouring with rain but we still enjoyed the cathedral. We shall go back when we can see the sun pouring through the stained glass windows.
See also my post on Durham Cathedral.
Here is Durham Cathedral, drawn from the shelter of the cloisters.
It was raining, on and off, in between periods of bright sunshine. This took about 1½ hours, in the Jackson’s watercolour sketchbook.
Durham Cathedral was built in 1093AD, and is a shrine to St Cuthbert. The extraordinary stonework is all original. Even more impressive is the roof. There is a stone roof which is up there and has been up there for nearly 1000 years. The engineering! The artistry! The courage! The organisation!
Looking upwards, while the choir sang
Stone pillars nearly 1000 years old.
The place is active. Evensong is sung. Flowers are arranged. The shrine is venerated. Around the simple tomb of St Cuthbert, people sit, in awe, at the age of the place, at the stillness, at the soaring architecture, at the thought of the simple monk whose remains lie here.
I too sat on the polished wood seat. Flowers stems were scattered on the floor, a pick-a-stick of blossoming stalks, in the process of being placed into the vase, one by one, by a careful woman. The snapped flower stems smelt of woodland. Or perhaps that was the furniture polish. A loudspeaker announced….something, the sound echoing and incomprehensible. And because it’s Durham, suddenly I was in conversation with the woman arranging the flowers. The modern stained glass window, just visible from the shrine, is in memory of a student. It looks towards the university, which is to the North. Even though it’s North facing, the glass gleams.
Here is work in progress on the outdoor picture:
Painting in Durham Cathedral cloisters.
A moment of sunshine
The picture on the old stone.
Here’s where I was:
The indoor pictures are in my new “Traveler’s Company” watercolour sketchbook.
The Durham University website has an article on the window dedicated to Sara Pilkington.