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 space. 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

Four sketches while the sun set

Yesterday the rain came with the evening.  I painted indoors.

I had a set of four paper samples from The Vintage Paper Company. Below are my four sketches.

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Each sheet is of “J Green & Sons” paper, in different weights. The one in the top left is “NOT” and the other sheets are “Rough”. Each sample sheet is about 8 inches by 6 inches.

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Here is a view towards Peregrine House, to show the satellite dishes on the roof. I also drew Peregrine House last week, see this link: Peregrine House from the King’s Square Estate

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The hole in the top left corner is where the sheets were fastened together, with a neat little screw fastener.

This was the only paper in the same pack with a ‘NOT’ (smoother) surface. Here is a close up view of the satellite dishes. On the NOT surface I can use pen easily. Pen and ink doesn’t work so well on the “Rough” surface. Here’s a close-up, showing Peregrine House and the satellite dishes on the building in front of it.

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Below is a sketch out of the window in the rain: watercolour only, on the “Rough” surface 300gsm paper. Blake Tower is on the right, Post office Tower on the horizon, Barbican terrace block visible behind Blake Tower.

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Forty-five minutes later, the sun was setting. I enjoyed using heavier paper (400gsm) to try to capture the shimmering light on the buildings. Painted directly in watercolour, no pen, no pencil.

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Below is the final sketch, done quickly after the sun has set. This is on the heaviest paper, a magnificent 615gsm. It was stable, like card, so it didn’t curl or misbehave,  and was not soft or absorbent, but took the watercolour brilliantly.  It was very handy for such a quick sketch.

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It’s fun to experiment with papers, and surprising what a difference the paper makes. Thankyou to the Vintage Paper Co for the samples.

 

 

 

 

140 London Wall from Noble Street

140 London Wall is a local landmark under threat.

It was designed by Powell and Moya, and constructed in 1972-76, as part of a 1947 grand plan* for development of the area north of Bank.

In my sketch I wanted to show the great mass of this huge rectangular building, so confident, and the way it shelters the activity below.

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This sketch took about 1hour 30mins.

Then I walked into the picture, and found a stunning view across the old buildings in the Barber-Surgeons garden. This is a 5 minute sketch, coloured later.

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*Grand plan:  the 1947 Town Planning Committee publication, “The City of London; A Record of Destruction and Survival” by C. Holden and W.G. Holford.

For previous sketches of 140 London Wall (aka Bastion House) see

Bastion House from Podium Level

Preachers Court in the snow

It has been snowing now for several days. Robin invited me to sketch The Charterhouse in the snow, and suggested a viewpoint from the second floor of the Infirmary.

March 1st 2018 (Preachers Court in the snow)

From here I could see all three of the Barbican Towers. Someone was clearing snow in the foreground, but they moved on before I could get them in the picture.

It was a good place to sketch, warm and quiet. I could hear the muffled sounds of the nurses moving about below, and of the Brothers who were in the infirmary. Sometimes they called out.

Here is what the picture looked like before the colour went on.

March 1st 2018 (Preachers Court in the snow)BW

This picture took about 2 hours: One hour for the pencil outline, half an hour for the pen, and half an hour for the colour – roughly. It took ages to get the proportions right. Especially in the snow, the eye sees detail in far-away objects, so the temptation is to draw them too big.

After I handed in my visitor’s badge at the gate, I went out into Charterhouse Square. I looked back at the Chapel. And did a quick pen sketch, standing in the snow.

March 1st 2018 (Chapel from Charterhouse Square)

This took about 10 minutes, coloured later on my desk at home.

Thank you to Robin, and to the Brothers, Master and staff at the Charterhouse for their hospitality.