Rose and Crown, SE1

Here is the Rose and Crown, just south of Blackfriars Bridge.

Rose and Crown, Blackfriars SE1, 20 November 2021, 10″ x 7″ in Sketchbook 11

This pub stands amongst modern blocks: linking past, present and future in a swirling area of change. Behind the pub, unexpectedly, is a beer garden, giving onto a wooded area around the nearby church, Christ Church.

Above the arched window of the pub, two dates are carved in the stone work: 1787 and 1887

Above the arched window: 1787 and 1887 (or 1881?)

The pub’s website says the building “is thought to date back to the late 1800s”. The marvellous “pubwiki” entry tells me that the pub “was established in 1787, re-built in its present form in 1887″. They trace the landlords’ names and dates through census and insurance records, and note a John” Clark, victualler at this location, in 1789.

1789/John Clark/victualler/../../Sun Fire Office records held at the London Metropolitan Archives” (data from Ewan of “pubwiki”)

Sketch map showing the Rose and Crown, SE1, and the viewpoint of my drawing, 20th November 2021

The roads round here have changed names. Colombo Street was “Collingwood Street” until 1937 (London Metropolitan Archives, notes on photos). Before that it was “Green Walk” in the 1789 insurance records quoted above. Paris Garden was previously “Brunswick Street”. The area in front of the pub, now the Colombo Centre and a Novotel, is a bombsite in a 1951 photo in the London Picture Archive.

The area continues to undergo change. North of the pub is a huge empty lot. Buildings were demolished in or around 2019, and construction has not yet started.

The planning application (2019) is for 4 levels of basement and 6 buildings from 5 to 53 floors.

Planning application 19/AP/0414 from “planning.southwark.gov.uk”

If you walk into my drawing and turn into the dark passage to the right of the pub, you find this notice, written in stone. Recently another notice has been added, asking patrons to leave quietly.

By my calculation MDCCCXIX is 1000(M) + 500(D) + 300(CCC) + 10(X) + 9 (IX) = 1819

The purpose of the watch house was to guard the adjacent burial ground from body snatchers, according to the note on the London Metropolitan Archive Picture Gallery. Here is the watchhouse in 1932. The pub would be immediatly to the left of this photo:

View of Christ Church Watchhouse, record number: 113829, Catalogue number: SC_PHL_01_366_A8882 Photo date: 1932 © London Metropolitan Archives (City of London) Used under licence.

London Picture Archive notes:

“The Parish Watchhouse was built in 1809 and stood in the Church Yard until demolished in 1932. The Watchhouse was used to guard new burials against body snatchers. The Rectory, a new building similar in style, stands on the same site. Colombo Street was previously known as Collingwood Street.”

Here is work in progress on the drawing. You see the current rectory, which replaced the watch-house, on the right.

Location:

The pub cat, sleeping.

Royal Courts of Justice from Bell Yard

It was morning. As I walked down Bell Yard the sun streamed into the alley.

Royal Courts of Justice from Bell Yard, 16th November 2021, 10:45

Later, I visited the Royal Courts of Justice. During the week, the Courts are open, and you can go in. I put my backpack on the conveyor belt. The friendly security guard asked me to drink from my water bottle: “The Sip Test” he called it, to check that my bottle did not contain a noxious substance. It didn’t. The equally friendly and welcoming person at the enquiry desk issued a photocopied information sheet setting out a self-guided walk around the building, which I followed.

It’s well worth a visit. It is an extraordinary example of Victorian architecture. And, of course, it contains working law courts. Photography is not allowed, and they were not enthusiastic when I suggested I might do a drawing inside, so I didn’t. People are at work, and court sessions are in progress, so respect is in order. The Café was not open, which was a pity.

My drawing shows the Eastern part of the building. I sketched it on location in about 40 minutes and did the colour later at my desk.

I sketched the Royal Courts of Justice from Carey Street earlier in the week, under an overcast sky:

St Edmund the King EC3

Here is a sketch of the church of “St Edmund King and Martyr” which is on Lombard St, City of London.

St Edmund King and Martyr, Lombard Street, from George Yard, EC3. 7″ x 10″ in Sketchbook 10

George Yard is at the intersection of a number of city lanes, one of which leads West to “The George and Vulture”, and another leads North to the Jamaica Wine House.

Also in George Yard is a marvellous leafy garden. In the garden, shaded by vegetation, is the tombstone of “Sir Henry Tulse”. Below the tombstone is the inscription telling you about its incumbent:

"Sir Henry Tulse was a benefactor of the Church of St Dionis Backchurch (formerly adjoining)
He was also grocer, Alderman, and Lord Mayor of this City.
In his memory, this tombstone was restored November 1937 by
"The Ancient Society of College Youths" during the 100th year of the society's foundation.
He was also Master of the Society during his Mayoralty in 1684"

St Edmund King and Martyr is an active church. The Church is, according to the notice on Lombard Street, “The Gregory Centre for Church Multiplication”. Church Multiplication has a clear mission statement on their website: “We equip and resource the Church to reach new people, in new places, in new ways with the good news of Jesus Christ.”

The Vestry Hall is the cubical building on the right of my drawing.

Just off the drawing to the left is 2 George Yard and 20 Gracechurch Street, a modern building, where a long list of companies are registered with financial sounding names: “The Close Investment 1988 Fund “A” “, “The Greater Mekong Capital Fund”. This is the City of London, with all its contrasts and juxtapositions.

Here is work in progress on the drawing, and a view of the Church from the leafy garden.

This drawing took about 1 hour and 20 mins. The colours are Mars Yellow, Perylene Maroon, and Phthalo Blue Turquoise.

The Fox and Anchor EC1

…its varnish was peeling but it was heavy and strong….

I set off on a warm afternoon intending to sketch a pub in Clerkenwell Green. On the way there, I walked along the north side of Smithfield. Down a side street I spotted a lone chair, placed as if waiting for me. It commanded an excellent view of the Fox and Anchor. I tried out the chair. Its varnish was peeling, but it was heavy and strong.

So I settled myself down and drew the Fox and Anchor. This is a very decorative pub. Pevsner* says it has a “joyful front of Doulton’s coloured tiles”. That’s Royal Doulton, the pottery company. I recommend the startling Royal Doulton building in Vauxhall, on the corner of Black Prince Road and Lambeth High Street. This is even more elaborate than the Fox and Anchor pub, since it was a living advertisement for the wares of the firm.

The Fox and Anchor dates from 1898. This date is on the tiles in that magnificent halo on the top, together with a picture of the Fox. The date is written in such flamboyant Art Nouveau script that it’s difficult to read. The whole of the front is tiled with ceramic tiles, in wonderful shapes, including tiles which go around the window frames. There is a dragon either side of the pub sign.

Fox and Anchor pub and hotel, EC1. Sketched 5th June 2021, 17:30 in Sketchbook 10. 8″ x 10″

This is a Young’s pub, open now. The Fox is shown on the pub sign, but not the Anchor. It has a special Smithfield licence, which means that it can offer beer for breakfast. This special licence is historically for serving the night shift meat workers at Smithfield. Someone of my acquaintance recounts stories of financial services workers in the City celebrating the end of projects with the Full English at the Fox, complete with pints of beer.

It is also a hotel. “Boutique” rooms are offered on its website. It must be a great place to stay!

I drew this picture between 4 and 5:30pm on a Saturday. The area was already becoming lively. A crowd spilled out of the “Be At One” cocktail bar.

Outside the Fox and Anchor people sat at tables quietly taking in the evening. And observing the person sketching, sat on a chair on the pavement opposite. As I noticed with my drawing earlier in the week, Londoners are losing their fear and are starting again with the social interactions. Several people came to say hello as I was working on the picture. Someone had seen me looking repeatedly up at the building and down at the picture. They had been discussing with their companion why I didn’t use a photograph. So they came and asked me, which was nice of them, and provoked an interesting discussion. Part of the answer is because “I like sitting here looking at the building,” and another part of the answer, which I struggled to express, is that I get a very different picture if I work from a photograph.

Another person came and asked technical questions. They use watercolours for life drawing, and wanted to know the name of the brown colour I use, which is Fired Gold Ochre. They also admired my paintbox.

Here are pictures of work in progress and my drawing location:

Here is a map showing the line of sight of the drawing. The nearby street is called “Fox and Knot Street” which is intriguing.

The picture took an hour and a half, all on location. The colours are: Fired Gold Ochre, Phthalo Blue Turquoise, Buff Titanium, Mars Yellow, Permanent Yellow Deep. and some Perylene Maroon to make the grey colours. The yellow lines on the road are Naples Yellow.

I have sketched other pubs in the area:

*p454, “The Buildings of England, London 1: The City of London, by Simon Bradley and Nikolaus Pevsner. 1999 edition.

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