I thought the sketch was rather lively and might make a good etching. Here’s the copper plate I made:
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.
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.
In the background is Great Arthur House, on the Golden Lane Estate. This estate was designed by Chamberlain Powell and Bon, before they did the Barbican Estate.
As I was drawing, a man came and told me about Great Arthur Tower. It was the tallest residential building at the time of its completion (1957). At the top is that strange construction which I was told was described by the architects as a “brise de soleil”, a sun shade. Nicholas Pevsner, the architectural writer, was scathing about it, saying that there wasn’t much sun. However, as the man and I agreed, today was very sunny, and the sun shade was needed.
Great Arthur House has recently been refurbished.
“JRA has designed the new curtain walling to replace the original cladding, mirroring the bright yellow panels that have distinguished it since the 1950s. The Grade II listed residential tower had become environmentally inefficient in recent years leading to the residents’ discomfort due to water ingress, heat loss and condensation. Replacement curtain walls for the West and East elevations, double glazed timber balcony doors, external redecorations, localised external concrete repairs, and a cleaning and maintenance system for the new façade are also being provided to help revive the landmark building.” JRA website, 30th Sept 2016
And then insulation was removed after the Grenfell Tower fire. Here’s a cutting from CityMatters, the local paper:
As I was packing up a woman came and asked, “Can I be curious?” I said she could indeed, and showed her the picture, which she admired. She looked at other pictures in the book, including one of Peabody Tower. “I look at that, from my window”, she said, “I’d love to live there. I see a balcony with flowers….”. I said it was called Peabody Tower, and the other, similar one was St Mary’s Tower. “Oh! Are they Peabody buildings?” she asked. I said they were, part of the Banner Estate. She lives in Tudor Rose Court. This is the building on the left of the picture, in yellow brick. She’d just been to see a film. She found the ticket to show me the title. It was “Distant Voices, Still Lives”, about a family in Liverpool, she told me. She loves Liverpool.
This picture drawn and coloured on location, about 1 hour and 45 minutes.
Here is the building 1 Finsbury Circus, called “Britannia House”:
“Fronting the northwest quadrant of the oval, with fronts on roads entering the Circus from the west stands Edwin Lutyens’s massive Britannic House (1921–25, listed Grade II), designed for the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, which became BP; its free-standing architectural sculptures are by Francis Derwent Wood. It was built on the site of the last remaining original houses, and is now home to international law firm Stephenson Harwood.” (Wikipedia)
Behind it, buildings under construction on Bishopsgate, and the Gherkin on the right.
I enjoyed the contrast between the careful detail on the Lutyens building (1920s), and the more brutal façades of the 21st century buildings. The totally functional windows of the temporary construction buildings are in front.
The black thing on the left is some sort of storage tank.
Drawn from the Barbican podium, looking East across the Moorgate Crossrail site.
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 space. Here is is a sketch done from one of the wooden benches close to the church:
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.
Here is a sketch from a staircase from the Barbican Podium, just outside the Dentists but just inside the old London Wall.
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.
The drawing took two hours, pen and wash, in a Jackson’s Watercolour Sketchbook.