Sketching in Norwich

Norwich describes itself as “A Fine City”. Indeed it is. The city centre streets are clean, car-free, and lined with a huge variety of shops, restaurants, and service providers such as key-cutters and barbers. All very interesting. And there’s a lovely river too.

The City of Norwich website tells me: “On 17 July 1967, London Street became the first shopping street in the UK to be pedestrianised. It started a revolution that saw people given priority over traffic in city centres.”

This building stands in London Street, at the junction with St Andrews Hill. It was designed by FCR Palmer for the National Provincial Bank, and was completed in 1925 [1]. The National Provincial became NatWest after a series of mergers and takeovers. NatWest moved out in 2017.

“Cosy Club” 45-51 London St, Norwich NR2 1AG, 19th June 2022 12:15, in Sketchbook 12

I also sketched Norwich Cathedral, from the Cathedral Close.

Certainly a fine city, and one to which I hope to return.

Note 1: History of the London Street bank building from the Norwich Society website: https://www.thenorwichsociety.org.uk/explore-norwich/natwest-building-on-london-street

Bristol – St Mary Redcliffe BS1

Walking back to Bristol Temple Meads I stopped by the “Thekla” boat and music venue. Much of Bristol docklands area has changed radically in the last 35 years, in appearance and use. But the Thekla is still there, still in the same place, still a music venue, although the music has changed somewhat. I looked across the water as I thought these things, and saw St Mary Redcliffe.

St Mary Redcliffe from The Grove car park, next to Thekla, 23rd March 4pm in Sketchbook 11
The future: “Redcliffe Wharf” – photo from https://www.generatorgroup.co.uk/development/redcliffe-wharf/

St Mary Redcliffe has been there since the 12th century. The current building dates from the 13th and 14th century, and the spire was rebuilt in 1872.

On the left of my drawing, the building with the graffiti, that’s the last remaining undeveloped parts of the docks. The vans and lorries parked in front of it turned out to be a film crew. As I walked past, I saw the big hoardings advertising the redevelopment of the site to become “Redcliffe Wharf”. The developer’s website tells me:

This exciting development is the last direct waterside location on Bristol’s Harbourside. Once complete the development will create around 41,000 sq ft of highly sustainable Grade A office accommodation plus 45 two and three bedroom apartments, two waterside restaurants and space for local businesses.

website for the “Redcliffe Wharf” redevelopment

As I was drawing, a person came and stood, for quite some considerable time so it seemed to me, directly in my field of view. This person was a member of a group. They all walked past, saw me sitting on the kerbstone drawing, and then wondered what I was drawing and went to have a look across the water for themselves. This particular person then chose to align themselves exactly in front of me, adjusting a camera and taking multiple shots. I practised Zen patience, cleaned my palette, mixed some colour, looked at the seagulls, and waited. Then I decided to take a photo.

When I finished my drawing, I walked on into the picture, and past St Mary Redcliffe.

I hope the redevelopment does not touch the beautiful tranquil garden at the top of the hill.

Map from about 2005, showing the sightline of the drawing

St Pancras Old Church NW1

On a sunny day I went to draw a church tower in a country churchyard. The churchyard is near Kings Cross and the church tower is that of St Pancras Old Church.

St Pancras Old Church, tower. 20th March 2022 10″ x 7″ in Sketchbook 11

I sketched sitting on the grass beside the River Fleet, while the river flowed behind me, in my imagination.

It’s a real river though. These days it’s under St Pancras Way. But it used to flow by the church.

“St Pancras Old Church and churchyard in 1827. The River Fleet is in the foreground.” notice on the railings of the churchyard.

As you see from that picture, in 1827 the church looked very different. The south tower which I sketched is not as ancient as it looks. It was constructed in 1847 to the designs of A.D. Gough.

The church site itself is very ancient. According to the church website, this is one of the oldest sites of Christian worship in London, possibly dating back to the 4th century:

The suggestion that St Pancras Old Church dates back to Roman times has a long tradition, with most suggesting that it was founded in 313 or 314. Most churches in England named for the martyr St Pancras have, or may have, ancient origins, suggesting that veneration of the saint spread quickly after his death in 304.

https://stpancrasoldchurch.posp.co.uk/history/church-history/

Today it is an active church, and a music venue. The churchyard is a glorious green space, much used. Many people wandered past on the paths. No-one paid any attention to me drawing. The dogs did though. I was inspected and approved by each dog that went past.

Here is work in progress and a map (click to enlarge the image)

St Mary Le Strand, WC2

Here is a sketch of St Mary Le Strand, which is the church in the middle of the Strand at Aldwych. I sketched this from outside Somerset House. As you see it was really busy there. The south part of Aldwych is being closed off to motor traffic and made a pedestrian-only route. It will be great when it’s finished, but right now it means that the busy pavements are narrowed with barriers and there are many types of confusion.

St Mary Le Strand WC2, 1st March 2022, 10″ x 7″ in Sketchbook 11

The foreground is collage, added after the drawing.

Here is work in progress and a map.

St Mary Le Bow

A quick sketch of St Mary Le Bow on Cheapside, London EC2

St Mary Le Bow, from Cheapside 23 Feb 2022 10″ x 7″ in Sketchbook 11

I drew this from the corner of Cheapside and King Street. This seemed like a really good place to stand, since there was a tall junction box next to me, and I could fit myself into a corner of a window. It rapidly became apparent that I chosen the windiest corner in London. My eyes streamed. Everyone coming round the corner took a short cut my side of the junction box, and funnelled past me, their heads down, phones in hand. I felt in the way.

But I persisted. I finished the pen. I did not put the colour on using the convenient top of the junction box, as I had planned, since no paper was going to stay still for a moment in that wind. I retreated, and coloured it at my desk.

St Monica’s Church, Hoxton N1

On a cold day, suddenly the sun came out and lit up the stone of St Monica’s Church.

Bell tower of St Monica’s Church, Hoxton Square. 26th January 2022, 13:40 in Sketchbook 11

This church was built in 1866, to the design of E.W. Pugin. It was part of the Augustinian Priory on this side of Hoxton Square.

E.W. Pugin (1834-75) is the son of A.W. Pugin, who collaborated with Charles Barry on the design of the Houses of Parliament. E.W. Pugin designed a large number of churches, 60 English churches are listed in his Wikipedia entry, with another 6 or so in Wales and Scotland and 16 in Ireland.

Christchurch Blackfriars Bridge SE1

On the South side of Blackfriars Bridge there is a church amongst trees. This is Christchurch Blackfriars Bridge.

Christchurch Blackfriars Bridge, 14th January 2022, 2pm 10″ x 7″ in Sketchbook 11
A window showing construction workers

This is the south side of the church, showing its open door. I went in. This is a very welcoming church. I passed three separate notices telling me I was welcome. Inside it is calm, warm and light. There are benches to sit on. There are marvellous stained glass windows. They show not saints and Bible stories, but Londoners. They show builders and printers, river workers, and engineers. There is a power station worker looking at a bank of rotary dial telephones, and a queue of people waiting for a red London bus. All these are beautifully done in stained glass.

This church accepts the idea that people might be “spiritual not religious”. Between 12noon and 2pm: they offer a “lunch time silent space”, and there are other events that include meditation and silence.

A detailed history of the church is in British History Survey of London: ‘Christ Church’, in Survey of London: Volume 22, Bankside (The Parishes of St. Saviour and Christchurch Southwark), ed. Howard Roberts and Walter H Godfrey (London, 1950), pp. 101-107. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/survey-london/vol22/pp101-107 [accessed 16 January 2022].

Here is how it looked before 1941.

‘Plate 67: Christ Church. Exterior and watchhouse’, in Survey of London: Volume 22, Bankside (The Parishes of St. Saviour and Christchurch Southwark), ed. Howard Roberts and Walter H Godfrey (London, 1950), p. 67. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/survey-london/vol22/plate-67 [accessed 16 January 2022].

It was completely gutted by incendiary bombing in April 1941. The 1950 “Survey of London” cited above describes it as a “shell”. The present church was completed in 1960, according to Pevsner (The Buildings of England, London 2: South, by Nicolaus Pevsner and Bridget Cherry, page 275). The architects were R Paxton Watson & B Costin.

The church is now surrounded by buildings and trees and is very much alive. Here is the view from the North:

Christchurch Blackfriars Bridge, 13th January 2022, 12:30pm 10″ x 7″ in Sketchbook 11

The outside air temperature was 3 degrees C and the paint wasn’t drying. Also I was very cold. I went for lunch in “Greensmiths”in Lower Marsh, and finished the painting there.

“Greensmiths” in Lower Marsh Waterloo.

Here is work in progress on the sketches, and some maps to show where this church is.

There were some spectacular shadows that day:

Christchurch Blackfriars Bridge, from the South, 14th January 2022 about 2pm.

The church community hold some of their events in the adjacent pub, the Rose and Crown:

St Andrew-by-the-Wardrobe EC4

This lovely church is on Queen Victoria Street, a busy thoroughfare in the City of London.

St Andrew by the Wardrobe EC4, 29th December 2021 2pm. 10″ x 7″ in Sketchbook 11

This church was first recorded in 1244, destroyed in the fire of London 1666, rebuilt by Christopher Wren in 1685-93, then destroyed again in the 1939-45 conflict, rebuilt again, and re-hallowed in 1961. It is now closed for refurbishment, and due to reopen in May 2022. When it re-opens it will become the London Headquarters of the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church, this use being shared with the Anglican parish activities. I read this news on the church website.

Note the magnificent trees! These trees should feature on any London Tree Tour. I think they are larches but I am not an expert.

Yesterday, London was quiet. I sketched the church from podium level on Baynard House on the other side of the road. Baynard House is a 1970s office block currently occupied by BT (British Telecommunications, as was). Next to St Andrews on the East is the Church of Scientology. On the West side of St Andrews is a cocktail bar, Rudds.

Baynard House, where I was sketching, is a strange and mysterious place. There is a podium-level walkway through the block. There are odd structures, like remnants of a lost civilisation.

The church has a steeply sloping garden, with a wooden crucifix, just visible in the drawing. This looks across to the “seven ages of man” sculpture on Baynard House.

Looking South from St Andrews towards Baynard House, “Seven Ages of Man” sculpture by David Kindersley is visible in the centre of the picture.

Walking up St Andrew’s Hill, I passed the “Cockpit” pub, on the site of Shakespeare’s house. It had a notice outside: “Staff and Customers Wanted“.

Temple d’Yverdon-les-Bains

Here is a view from a bench in the main square in Yverdon-les-Bains, Vaud, Switzerland.

Temple d’Yverdon-les-Bains, 27 October 2021, 3.30pm, 10″ x7″ in Sketchbook 11

This is a protestant church, built in 1757. The wonderful yellow stone is from Hauterive in the canton of Neuchâtel.

On the left you see the statue of Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi, for whom this central square in named. He lived 1746-1827. He was an educator, and established the idea that the process of teaching needs to be thought about. He was an early practitioner of the study of teaching: pedagogy. This is why on his statue there are also children.

Pestalozzi’s idea was “Learning by head, hand and heart”. He thought that education was a good idea, in general, for everybody, including the poor. It was good for people as individuals, and good for society in general. Education meant people contributed more, were healthier and happier, and generally better citizens. [My paraphrase of what I’ve read on the website of the JH Pestalozzi Society and elsewhere]. This all sounds very modern. The current ideas of “child-centred learning” for example, can be traced back to Pestalozzi, I read, as well as the concept of state education.

He initiated the Pestalozzi Children’s villages in Switzerland and elsewhere, specifically to help the poor and displaced. This work is still continuing as Pestalozzi World.

So Pestalozzi was a very influential person.

The lines in my drawing are wires suspended across the square for hanging banners and decorations. I like to think they also symbolise the rays of hope that education brings.

Later note:

Above the clock is the Latin inscription: SUPERNA QUAERITE

This roughly translates as “Seek higher things” or “Enquire upon matters of a higher order”.

It occurs in the Letters of Paul to the Colossians, Chapter 3 verse 2, which is rendered in my St James’ Bible as:

If then ye were raised together with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated on the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are on the earth.

Or if you prefer the Latin, from “Novum Testamentum Domini Nostri Jesu Christi”(“The New Testament. A Latin version prepared by Theodore Beza”[2010], via GoogleBooks):

Itaque si resurrexistis cum Christo superna quaerite ubi Christus est ad dextrum Dei sedens. Superna satagite non terrestria.

Below the clock are the Roman numerals: MDCCLV

1000+500+100+100+50+5 = 1755

Sketching in York

Here is the “Micklegate Bar”, which is one of the great gates through the old City wall into the centre of York.

Micklegate Bar, York, 7th October 2021, 3pm. 7″x10″ in Sketchbook 10

I sketched this outside a bar called “Micklegate Social”. The staff were inside, cleaning and setting up. They very kindly lent me a chair!

The city wall goes off to left and right. I put a two people in, to give you an idea of the scale. They are high up, level with the lowest windows.

“Micklegate” is the name of a street which heads North from the gate. Later on I had breakfast at “Partisan”, a café just up from Micklegate Bar. Recommended!

Quick sketch at “Partisan”, Micklegate, York, ink and coffee. 6″ x 4″ in a small sketchbook made by Heather Dewick.

Outside the wall, to the North West, is the park surrounding the York Museum. I made a picture of the ruins of St Mary’s Abbey.

St Mary’s Abbey, York. 7th October 2021 2pm. 1hr 10mins, 10″ x 7″ in Sketchbook 10

The original church on the site was founded in 1055. In 1089, William Rufus, third son of William the Conqueror, laid the foundation stone for the Norman Church dedicated to the Virgin Mary. It was an abbey for the Benedictine monastery on this site. 450 years later the monastery was closed, in 1539, under Henry VIII.

The current ruins are 750 years old. They date from a rebuilding in 1271.

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