A quick sketch of St Giles Church

Here is St Giles Church from the Lakeside Terrace of the Barbican. While I drew this, three men were shovelling mud from the bottom of the lake. The mud is black and viscous and the men were remarkably cheerful in their task. They would have made good subjects for a drawing too. But for now, here’s the church:

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The church features in some of my “Tower” sketches:

St Giles’ and Cromwell Tower

St Giles’ Church and Shakespeare Tower
 
From Lauderdale Place: Eastern Cluster

St Giles and Bastion House

Today Urban Sketchers London held a “sketch crawl” in the Barbican. So I joined them. An astonishing number and diversity of people assembled inside the entrance of the Barbican Centre at the appointed time of 11am. I counted about 35 and then another dozen or so joined. All shapes and sizes of people, tall, short, studious-looking or flamboyant, quiet or talkative, smart or windblown, old or young, all were there. I knew I was at the right place because everyone had a very obvious “drawing bag” or rucksack, and some were sporting a neat red Urban Sketch London badge.

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A few words and then off we all dispersed. To my surprise I found a good place very quickly. A wall, at ground level, looking over the Lakeside Terrace and St Giles. I liked the way St Giles was surrounded by Bastion House, and framed by the massive concrete of Gilbert Bridge. I also thought I would be sheltered from the wind. I was wrong about that. In fact, the location seemed to be at the bottleneck of a wind-funnel, and at times the wind was painful, as well as being very inconvenient for my drawing materials, which shifted about and jumped down off the wall.

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Another Urban Sketcher came up and elected to draw the same view. She had an interesting concertina type sketch book, which she said was her “collage sketchbook”. The wind very soon got under that and unravelled the concertina right across the walkway. She got it under control though, and finished her sketch. She was doing a number of sketches in different locations. I did just the one.

I finished it at 12:50. By that time I was thoroughly cold, and glad to go back inside the Barbican Centre. All the levels were by now densely populated with people participating in all sorts of events. The Urban Sketchers, by some alchemy, found each other again and we put up our sketch books for everyone to see.

Everyone’s sketches were of interest. People had done very different things. I suppose that’s obvious, but it was startling how different they were. One person had made very precise and delicate engineering drawings of brackets. Another had a wonderful atmospheric wash of the church. Someone else had done the fountains and their environment, in firm black lines against a shadowy orange background with white water. Others had outline drawings in crayon, or detailed drawings in sepia ink, and someone had done a sketch on their iPad.

One of the organisers made a panoramic film of the drawings so I look forward to seeing them on the Urban Sketch London website.

It was a good experience and I’ll aim to go to another later in the year.

St Bartholomew the Less – etchings (1)

This morning I made an etching based on a sketch of St Bartholomew the Less.

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Here’s the original sketch, which was made from the top of Maggie’s Centre in St Bartholomew’s hospital, by kind permission of the staff of the Centre.

The sketch was to explore the proportions, before making the more detailed watercolour drawings on this post:

St Bartholomew the Less

I thought the sketch was rather lively and might make a good etching. Here’s the copper plate I made:
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And here are some of today’s prints: (click to enlarge)

The plate needs a bit more work I think. The background could be darker and perhaps some shading on the tower itself. My idea is that I will print it with perhaps chine-collé. So I want to keep the design simple.

I just had the morning at the print studio today.

The paper is Chinese paper from Great Art. Numbers 11369 (soft), and 11565 (white, with a slight grid). The ink is Intaglio Printmaker Shop Mix Bone Black. The plate is 10cmx15cm copper plate from Great Art, which I prepared with hard ground 28 June 2018. I used the Rochard press at East London Printmakers.

Update:

14 March 2019 – Chine Collé

 

St Bartholomew the Less

St Bartholomew the Less is a Chapel of Ease in St Bartholomew’s Hospital in the City. It’s just to the right of the main entrance from Smithfield.  You might not notice the door in the wall. Sometimes they put a board outside. I’ve been in a number of times. It’s a very peaceful, welcoming, place. Somehow, one feels the need to visit a place of prayer before, or after, a hospital visit.

I was invited to draw pictures of the church. The City Music Foundation, a charity, wants to use my pictures in its publicity. They are going to be based in St Bartholomew the Less. So the Managing Director of the Foundation, Clare Taylor, contacted me. She’d seen the pictures I’d done of The Charterhouse.

Here are the first two pictures of St Bartholomew the Less:

It was founded in 1123, by Rahere, a “courtier of Henry I“, according to the leaflet. The tower dates from the 15th century. “The three bells in the tower include one dating from 1380 and another from 1420” says the leaflet. I was interested in Rahere, because there is a Rahere St and a Rahere House which I have drawn.

Since the Foundation is a music foundation, I thought it would be a fun idea to draw the bells. By kind permission of the Parochial Church Council (PCC), whose representative efficiently produced a key, I was able to go up into the belfry. Bells, I found, are not so easy to draw as you might think. Like the human form, they have curves. And unless you get the curves exactly right, they look like a different character. Also, the belfry contained not only very ancient bells, but also 600 years of dust. It was indescribably dirty. But amazing. And very quiet inside, with all the noise going on outside. I wedged myself into the wooden frame, braced my back against a metal rod, and got started.

The platform into which I was wedged was not very big. I manoeuvred very slowly because I didn’t want to knock anything, such as a paintbrush, down into the depths. The best medium seemed to be black ink. Ink is a bit dodgy to manage at the best of times. But keeping it upright on an ancient wooden raft, in the semi-darkness, verged on the farcical. No-one was there to sympathise, except the bells, and they’d seen it all before.

 

 

St Alphege, London Wall

St Alphege (“Ælfheah”) was a Bishop of Winchester, later Archbishop of Canterbury. He was captured by Viking raiders in 1011 and killed by them the following year after refusing to allow himself to be ransomed. Alphege was canonised as a saint in 1078.

The church was built around then, according to Wikipedia:  “The first church was built adjoining the London Wall, with the wall forming its northern side.The churchyard lay to the north of the wall.The earliest mention of this church dates to c. 1108–25, though it is said that it was established before 1068.”

The ruins of the Church have recently been made beautiful, and accessible, by the wonderful new public space around One London Wall Place. Here is is a sketch done from one of the wooden benches close to the church:

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You see the marvellous new high walks, which curve in the sky.

Until I started drawing them, I had not realised that the walls of the highwalk vary in height. The highwalk is made of some material which rusts, to give this bright orange colour.

On the right of the picture is the red brick of the old London Wall. The building in the background is Roman House, on Wood Street, a residential block.

The architects of One London Wall are MAKE architects.

About 2 hours, drawn and coloured on location, in Jackson’s watercolour sketchbook.

St Giles’ and Cromwell Tower

Here is today’s sketch showing:IMG_4081(annotated)

  • London Wall – 2nd century AD
  • Barber-Surgeons Hall – current building 1969, first hall, on this site 1441
  • St Giles Church – current building 1966, first church on this site by 1090
  • Barbican, Cromwell Tower,  Wallside and Arts Centre – 1965-82
  • Braithwaite House – completed around 1963
  • White Collar Factory – finished 2017
  • Atlas Building under construction

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Done in one hour 40 min from the high walk next to 140 London Wall, 4th June 2018. Finished 12:10. It was very cold and windy on the high-walk.

This completes a series:

St Giles’ Church and Shakespeare Tower

St Giles Church and Lauderdale Tower

St Giles’ Church and Shakespeare Tower

Here is a sketch from a staircase from the Barbican Podium, just outside the Dentists but just inside the old London Wall.

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Parts of the Roman London Wall are in the foreground, 2nd century AD.

St Giles’ has Roman foundations and is much rebuilt. The church we see now is the 1966 restoration following designs of  architect Godfrey Allen (1891-1986). He used historic plans to make the church as much as possible like the medeival original.  It had been burned by incendiary bombs in 1940.

In the background is Shakespeare Tower, Barbican, completed 1976, to the designs of Chamberlain, Powell and Bonn.

St Giles’ Church is “St Giles’-without-Cripplegate”. As you can see from the picture, the Church is outside London Wall. Here is an extract from the St Giles’ website.

The foundations are generally Roman but higher up, the structure dates from various times as it was regularly strengthened and rebuilt….
As the population of the parish increased, the church was enlarged and it was rebuilt in the Perpendicular Gothic style in 1394, during the reign of Richard II. The stone tower was added in 1682. The church was damaged by fire on three occasions – in 1545, 1897 and 1940…The church was designated a Grade I listed building on 4 January 1950 and it was extensively restored in 1966.  

The bombing of Cripplegate in 1940 was so extensive that barely any buildings remained standing in the entire ward. By 1951, only 48 people were registered as living within the ward. It was this widespread devastation which led to planners envisaging and eventually building the modern Barbican estate and arts centre, starting in 1965.

As I was drawing, I saw that the crenellations on St Giles were echoed high up on Shakespeare Tower.

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The drawing took two hours, pen and wash, in a Jackson’s Watercolour Sketchbook.

7 inches by 10 inches.

I’ve drawn St Giles and Lauderdale Tower: From St Alphage Highwalk EC2

Eglwys Jewin from Fortune Park

The building which was Bernard Morgan House has now been pulled down. This is sad. It had a calm 1960s look, and ceramic tiles on the side.

I looked across the gap and could see the Welsh Church: Eglwys Jewin.

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The church is the building with the green roofed turret and the long windows. It was founded around 1774. According to its website “capeljewin.org” in the 19th century it was “one of the most powerful and influential churches in the Calvanist Methodist tradition”.  It was very well attended in the 19th century so they built a new and bigger chapel on Fann St in 1879. This was destroyed in the Blitz in 1940. The building I’ve drawn was built in 1960.

Lauderdale Tower is just visible, to the left of the picture, and Blake Tower is on the right. Ahead, behind the church, is Tudor Rose Court, a City of London building providing sheltered housing to people over 60: 16 leased, and 60 social rented flats.

Bernard Morgan House used to be a City of London building too. It was a police house.

I drew it in 2016:

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24 October 2016 – Bernard Morgan House and the Cripplegate institute.

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25 August 2016 – From Brackley Street: the Welsh Church and Great Arthur House (Golden Lane Estate) showing the wall of Bernard Morgan House

Who was Bernard Morgan? There is a Bernard Morgan, born in 1924, who was a code breaker in the Second World War. Was it him?*

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Sgt (Retd) Bernard Morgan, an RAF D-Day code and cipher veteran, looking at a Type X machine (Manchester Evening News, 12 April 2014)

The destruction of Bernard Morgan House was opposed by a well-orchestrated campaign of local residents. But the residents did not prevail.

Taylor Wimpey are going to build luxury flats: “The Denizen”. This is how the view I’ve drawn will look after “The Denizen” is built:

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“Street view” from the Taylor Wimpey website

Here’s another view of “The Denizen” from the Taylor Wimpey website. See how big it is! Fortune Park is the trees in the foreground. You can see Blake Tower on the right and Lauderdale Tower in the Centre.

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The Denizen (centre), from the Taylor Wimpey Website

*Bernard Morgan
Update, March 2018: John Tomlinson tells me that Bernard Morgan House was named for a councilman. Buildings and streets in the City of London are only named after people who died at least 20 years previously, and Bernard Morgan the codebreaker was evidently fit and healthy in 2014.

St Mary Aldermary, and Albert Buildings EC4

Drawn from outside the Pret on Queen St, about 1hr 30.

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The building in the centre is “Albert Buildings”, a thin triangular building on the corner of Cannon St and Queen Victoria St. It is incredibly complicated, with many pillars and arches and different window shapes.

Now it is inhabited by a number of small businesses. I saw a dental surgeon, Shoe Care, and “Traditional Pure” lebanese food. It is now managed by “First Base” as “Cannon St Serviced Office and Business Centre” who describe it as a “listed turn of the century building with quirky Victorian features”. They don’t specify which turn of which century, but evidently it’s not the most recent one.

Pevsner says:
“Albert Buildings, the grandest surviving 1870s block, built 1871. By F.J. Ward, whose office was here. Arcaded Gothic, mixed English and Early French, with a remarkable assortment of window heads”
The Buildings of England, London 1 by Simon Bradley and Nicholas Pevsner

St Mary Aldermary is one of my favourite London churches. Inside is the friendly Host Café, and welcoming tables and chairs, and a stunning fan-vaulted ceiling. The church is on Bow Lane, near Watling Street, and the current building was built after the fire, in 1666.

St Magnus the Martyr

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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.

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