Welsh Church and Great Arthur House

Here is the Welsh Jewin Church seen from Brackley Street.

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This is one of those ephemeral views: a huge new building is about to go up behind the hoarding, and this view will be completely obscured.

The church is Eglwys Jewin, the Welsh Church. I have drawn it before, from Fortune Park. Here’s the link – Eglwys Jewin from Fortune Park

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Map showing Golden Lane Estate. credit: Wikipedia.

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

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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.

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1 Finsbury Circus, across the Crossrail site

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.

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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.

About 1 hour.

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.