Mud Dock, Bristol

After a swim in Cleveden at high tide, I walked along the docks at Bristol.

I remember when “Watershed” was a kind of hippy place, half-derelict, half-dwelling, with a shop selling joss sticks, and a long smock-style dress in a wood-block print, that I should have bought. Or may be I did buy it. Or may be I agonised over the price, and waited, and thought, and now Watershed is a totally different place, with a cinema, and several bars, and they’ve mended the pavement outside, and parked yachts outside, and built a bridge.

The bridge leads past the art gallery called “Arnolfini” to the restaurant and bike shop called “Mud Dock”. I sat on a cast iron mooring post, and drew a picture.

Mud Dock, Bristol 22nd September 2021, 10″ x 8″ in Sketchbook 10

I did the pen and ink on location and added the colour back home at my desk.

This picture includes some collage: the slivers of paper on the bottom right are stuck on with rice glue. Underneath them, you see the “shadows” which I made by placing slivers of paper on the wet watercolour and waiting for them to dry.

Haz St Pauls EC2

Here is the restaurant “Haz St Pauls“, 34 Foster Lane, London EC2.

“Haz St Pauls” Foster Lane, EC2, sketched from across the road, in Sketchbook 10, 11th August 2021

The restaurant has created a wonderful outside seating area on a part of the pavement. This corner has modern offices, the Haz restaurant, a coffee bar (Costa), and a church, St Vedast alias Foster. I sketched it from a new stone seat near St Pauls Underground station.

I have sketched St Vedast previously:

Here are some of my sketches of St Paul’s Cathedral, which was behind me as I sketched Haz.

The Captain Kidd, Wapping, E1

After breakfast at the Turk’s Head ( see this post ) I went down to the river. The tide was out. I sat on the Thames foreshore and sketched The Captain Kidd.

The Captain Kidd, Wapping E1. 12.10pm 14 June 2021. 7″ x10″ in Sketchbook 10

The Captain Kidd is the building at the front. It’s a pub and restaurant. The larger building behind is “St John’s Wharf”, a warehouse now converted into flats.

The “Captain Kidd” is named after a “seventeenth century pirate William Kidd who was executed [in 1701] at the nearby Execution Dock” according to various websites e.g. The Londonist.

However there is no “nearby Execution Dock”. The carefully researched article on “London Inheritance” concludes that “King Henry’s Stairs” were formerly “Execution Dock” (see note 2). The name was changed in the early 19th century to be better in line with the burgeoning use of the area for trade. The London Inheritance author cannot discover a specific “King Henry” connection. He includes a list of some of the people who were executed here, for crimes at sea including piracy, fighting on board ship, murdering shipmates, and treason.

I note with interest that, these days, the headquarters of the Marine Police are just a few hundred yards upstream. This is a very ancient establishment, which started with a one-year trial in 1798 (note 1).

Here is work in progress on the drawing. See the wonderfully clean Thames foreshore.

I drew my picture in the shade under Wapping pier. Here is a map:

Walking back to the ladder, I collected a handful of porcelain pieces, blue and white. It was as though, years ago, someone threw a china bowl onto the foreshore, and the pieces somehow stayed in the same vicinity, through many tides. Or perhaps it is several bowls.

Note 1: There is a Wikipedia article on the River police: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thames_River_Police

Note 2. The London Inheritance article is here:

Turk’s Head Wapping E1, from the park

On Monday I cycled out East to the Turk’s Head for breakfast. With a coffee and croissant, in front of me, I sketched the view.

The Turk’s Head Wapping E1, from the park. 09:30am, 14 June 2021. 7″ x 10″ in Sketchbook 10

The Turk’s Head is the building on the right. The church in the picture is the former St John’s Wapping, now converted into flats.

The Turk’s head describes itself on its website:

“La Tète De Turc or The Turks Head is a French – Anglais Bistro. We serve French and English Food. Et Voilà!”

It has tables indoors, and outdoors under cover, and also in the adjacent park. I was outdoors in the park.

Here is a map showing where it is:

I have sketched the Turks Head before, in January 2020:

Turks Head Café Wapping

Here is the marvellous Turks Head Café, Wapping, rescued from demolition by local residents in the 1980s. Inside, I found warmth, quiet tables, and the gentle murmur of conversations: people actually talking to each other. I felt welcome here. The food was marvellous. Next time I’m going to have the Blueberry Tart. I only noticed it after I’d already had the substantial Chicken and Avocado Sandwich. … Continue reading “Turks Head Café Wapping”

The Crown Tavern EC1

Here is The Crown Tavern in Clerkenwell Green.

The pub frontage dates from 1900, according to the historic buildings listing1. The building is Grade II listed. There has been a pub here for a lot longer than that, though. A Freemasons Meeting here is recorded in 17862

The Crown Tavern EC1, sketched 9th June 2021, 12 noon, 10″ x 8″ in Sketchbook 10.

I sketched the pub on a sunny Wednesday lunchtime. Building work was in progress on the site behind me. The cafés opposite were open and people were sitting outside.

I moved my position several times while sketching this. First I stood by a hoarding, where I had an unobstructed view and something to lean against. After 15 minutes a big car came and parked on the “Parking Suspended” bay in front of me. It was a mini-cab. It sat there, its engine idling. Will someone please explain to me why drivers leave their engines running while stationery? It was a beautiful pristine summer day. And now I had diesel fumes. I considered various courses of action, including abandoning the picture, remonstrating with the driver, or starting my picture again from the other side of the road. I did none of those things, but moved a few paces so to get fresher air and a better view of the top of the building. 15 minutes later, the mini-cab circled round Clerkenwell Green, and came to rest in a new place. I think they were avoiding the traffic warden, who had appeared on a bicycle.

I continued my drawing standing up and then moved to a nearby bench which did not have such a good view, but where I could do my watercolours a lot more easily.

The pub itself was dark and silent until suddenly, at 12 noon exactly, the lights came on and a person emerged and placed the menu board outside.

“Taken fromSt Paul’s letter…”

Under the lamp a beautiful piece of signwriting reads, in gold:

” Taken from St Paul’s letter to the Hebrews Chapter 13 Verse 2″.

I could find no indication of what had been “taken from St Paul’s letter to the Hebrews”. So back in my office I looked it up. Verse 2 reads:

“Forget not to shew love unto strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares”

This is my old school Bible “being the version set forth AD1611 compared with the most ancient authorities and revised”. Online, the New International Version gives “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”, which sorts out the double negatives a little better. But the thought that we might have ” … entertained angels unawares” is so succinct and entrancing that it stays in my mind as a beautiful image.

I finished off the drawing at my desk. The pub name is done in “pebeo drawing gum”. This is a synthetic rubber resist solution. I painted the letters with the drawing gum using a fine brush, on the white paper. It takes about 15 min to dry. Then I painted the dark background. Then that has to dry. Then I can rub off the drawing gum to reveal the white letters. It’s like magic.

The colours are, for the main picture: Phthalo Blue Turquoise, Fired Gold Ochre, Perylene Maroon, Mars Yellow, Lunar Earth. Lunar Earth is a strange granulating colour, it dries to a mosaic-like finish, which you can see in the brickwork of the pub.

I added highlights in Green Gold, Permanent Yellow Deep, and Transparent Pyrrol Orange. The pub lettering has some Iridescent Gold.

Here’s a map:

Sketch map showing the sightline of the drawing.

If you have been reading the Robert Galbraith/JK Rowling novel “Troubled Blood” then you will recognise these street names. The novel is wonderfully accurate in its geography.

I have drawn some other pubs and restaurants in this area:

Notes and references:

  1. The Crown Tavern Grade II listing is here: https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1195546
  2. Freemasons meeting is recorded in “Lane’s Masonic Records” here: https://www.dhi.ac.uk/lane/record.php?ID=1034

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.

St John Bar and Restaurant EC1

St John Bar and Restaurant EC1, 20 May 2021, 5pm. 8″ x 10″ in Sketchbook 10.
A photo on location in the rain.

Yesterday I went out for a walk with my sketchbook. I sat on the edge of a low stone wall and started drawing St John Bar and Restaurant. Then the fine rain came. It was blustery and I thought it would blow over. It did not blow over. It became a maritime wind-blown spray. I protected my drawing as best I could with a screen made from a bag I was carrying. It didn’t protect it very well.

The ink I use is waterproof ink. This means that once dry, it does not run if water is added. The key phrase here is “once dry”. In the fine rain the ink didn’t have a chance to get dry. It was diluted as I put it on the paper, so my lines became a rather subtle grey, and somewhat blotchy.

…lines became a rather subtle grey, and somewhat blotchy…
…like drawing on blotting paper…

The paper I use is Arches Aquarelle. It is what is called “heavily sized”, which means it has substances added to make it partly water resistant. This is so that watercolours stay on the surface. This sizing has the useful consequence that rainwater beads on the surface, at least initially. This is not advertised in the description of the paper, but is useful for those of us who try to paint outdoors in the UK. After a while, however, it yielded. The rain penetrated. The paper became soft and absorbent, and the lines from my pen became blotchy, like drawing on blotting paper: possible, but you get some unwanted effects. It also became rather hard to see what I was doing. My glasses were wet with raindrops and are not equipped with windscreen wipers. So at that point I stood up and packed up. Rainwater fell off me in rivulets, dangerously close to the place where the sketchbook sheltered under the rucksack. This sketchbook contains earlier drawings done in watercolour. I had visions of the previous drawings becoming blotchy abstracts.

At home I laid everything out carefully on the floor to dry out. The paper admirably remained flat. The previous drawings were not damaged.

I dried out. Everything dried out. Then I added the colour.

This picture took 45 minutes on location, colour took another 45 mins at my desk. The colours are Phthalo Blue Turquoise, Perylene Maroon, Buff Titanium, Transparent Brown Oxide, Mars Yellow. For the tree leaves: Green Gold and Permanent Yellow Deep.

The Jugged Hare, from the Podium EC2

Here is the view looking North along Silk Street, from the Barbican Podium, next to Cromwell Tower.

The Jugged Hare from the Podium, 29 April 2021, 6pm, 7″ x 10″ in Sketchbook 10

The buildings are, from left to right:

  • the operations centre of a bank, the building with the arch
  • The Jugged Hare, on the corner, with the pub sign
  • The Brewery, the red-brick building
  • Linklaters, a legal firm, on the right with the squarish windows.

On the sky line, the tall building is “HyLo” (or HiLo?) under construction on Bunhill Row, and the magnificent chimney of The Brewery.

In front of the chimney there is a whole superstructure on the roof of the Brewery which covers various industrial kitchen fans and ducts. These fans and ducts made a lot of noise, irritating neighbours. So last year they put a fence round, as you see in the picture in grey. Currently, both the Brewery and the Jugged Hare are closed, so it remains to be seen if the fence reduces the noise.

I drew this picture from the podium. Here is work in progress.

Here’s a rough sketch map, showing the viewpoint of the drawing.

The Horseshoe, Clerkenwell

Here is The Horseshoe, in Clerkenwell Close.

The Horseshoe, 24 Clerkenwell Close EC1

I enjoyed the way the pub is slotted into that corner space, amongst the taller buildings. The building behind it looks as though it might be older than the pub. The arched window-alcove to the left, above the car, has been partly obscured by the wall of the pub. The purpose of this alcove is unclear. It isn’t an ordinary window, and can’t let much light into the building as it is so recessed. It looks as though it might have had some industrial purpose.

And much is happening at roof level. On the right of the pub, high up, someone has made a roof garden. They have a glasshouse, and a weathervane in the shape of a whale. Behind that, even higher up, is a huge bridge-like construction, with arched supports, which looks as though it is a roof on top of a courtyard, behind the buildings I could see. Notice also the formidable collection of communications equipment: a satellite dish and three aerials near the whale, and on the building in the background there were at least two mobile phone masts, with antennae like loudspeakers, pointing in different directions.

The pub itself has a roof garden, with brightly coloured bunting and many flowerpots. I drew this picture yesterday, during Lockdown 2, so sadly it is closed. However it is going on my “After Lockdown” list.

Here are maps:

Here are sketches of work in progress, and some snapshots of the location. I did a preliminary sketch on brown paper, as you see. It was cold, 6 degrees C. I didn’t manage to finish the colour outdoors, but scuttled home to complete the detail in the warm.

This picture took about 1 hour 45 minutes on location, including a chat with a friend who passed by on his afternoon stroll. Then another half hour at home working on the colour detail. The colours are: Phthalo Turquoise (W&N), Burnt Umber (DS), Mars Yellow (DS), Green Apatite Genuine (DS), Fired Red Ochre (DS), with some Perylene Maroon and Prussian Blue to get the greys, and a few dots of Transparent Pyrrol Orange, Hansa Yellow Mid, and Green Gold (all DS). The picture is size 7 inches by 10 inches on Arches Aquarelle 300gsm watercolour paper, in a Wyvern sketchbook (Sketchbook 9)

This is one of an emerging series of drawings of pubs in the Clerkenwell area. Here are some others in the series:

The Sekforde, Clerkenwell

I sketched The Sekforde, sitting on a step on the other side of the road. The pub was closed today. It looked like a good pub. While I was sketching I received confirmation of this. Two portly men strolled past, paused, and asked me if I was waiting for the pub to open. I said … Continue reading “The Sekforde, Clerkenwell”

Jerusalem Tavern, Britton St

Here is a sketch of The Jerusalem Tavern, Britton St, Clerkenwell, made as the light faded. I find this a particularly lovely building. The curves over the windows are semicircles and there is a pleasing symmetry to the upper floors. The semicircle over St John’s Passage exactly matches the door to its left, on another … Continue reading “Jerusalem Tavern, Britton St”

Update:

I discovered this picture of the pub in 1972:

The Horseshoe, from https://www.british-history.ac.uk/survey-london/vol46/pp54-71

The Eagle, 2 Shepherdess Walk

Here is The Eagle.

The Eagle from Shepherdess Walk

This is a very old pub, located at a significant junction on City Road.

In the picture above, the alley on the right of the pub is called “Shepherdess Place”. It leads to a police car park, and several office blocks. I went down there to draw a picture of The Eagle from the other side.

The Eagle from Shepherdess Place. The plants on the right are some sort of vine, climbing on, or falling off the building. In the background are the towers of the new development 250 City Road.

The Eagle is mentioned in the nursery rhyme. We used to sing it as children without the least idea what it meant.

Half a pound of tuppenny rice, 
half a pound of treacle
That's the way the money goes
Pop goes the weasel
Up and down the City Road
In and out the Eagle
That's the way the money goes
Pop goes the weasel

This needs translation. I don’t know what the reference to “tuppenny rice” means. It could simply mean “rice” of course, but given that the rest of the song is in rhyming slang, I wonder what ‘Tuppenny rice’ might mean. Tuppenny is “two pence worth”. That would be old pennies, of course, pre-decimal.

“Treacle” is rhyming slang: “Treacle tart”. Hence “treacle” is an affectionate term for “woman”, or perhaps “female sex-worker”. I have been called “treacle” by the market traders where I used to live. It was a friendly kind of a word. “Weasel” is rhyming slang: “Weasel and stoat”, hence “coat”.

So my translation is:

A little bit for food, 
A little bit for the lady-friend
Then I don't have any money left
So I pawn my overcoat
Having visited the [betting?] shops on the City Road
and partaken of refreshment in the Eagle
I don't have any money left
So I pawn my overcoat
“Grecian Theatre Pleasure Grounds,
Grecian Saloon and Olympic Theatre”.

The Eagle was not just a pub. It was also a theatre. I wonder if the huge pitched roof I have drawn (top right in the second picture) covers a large hall. According to a plaque on the outside (pictured)

The Eagle Tavern, Grecian Theatre Pleasure Grounds, Grecian Saloon and Olympic Theatre, stood here 1825-1899. Here Marie Lloyd, music hall artiste, made her first public performance in 1885.

I wonder what “Grecian” meant in this context?

Here are some pictures of work in progress.

This junction is changing rapidly. The empty site on the other side of the road, an old bomb-site, now has construction vehicles in action. I took some photos just for the record, and found out a bit more about the site. See the page on this link if you are interested, and please comment if you know more.

Here are some other drawings I have done in the area:

Gambier House from Shepherdess walk

Gambier House constructed 1968, 20 stories, 115 flats. Owned and managed by Islington. Planning proposal for external cladding, 18 Sept 2014. Eagle Dwelling 212 City Road, on the left of the picture, is a “specialist supported housing scheme for single homeless people who may also have additional complex needs”. It seems to be owned and managed … Continue reading “Gambier House from Shepherdess walk”

Courage on Nile St N1

This is the view looking West from the junction of Nile St and East St, in the borough of Hackney, London N1. I was leaning against a wall on a wide pavement, on the corner. I judged that I was easy to avoid there, and social distance could easily be maintained. In fact, there were … Continue reading “Courage on Nile St N1”