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.

 

 

 

 

From St Alphage Highwalk EC2

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This is a view from the wonderful new highwalks under “London Wall Place”, the office development.

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Here is the drawing in situ on the high walk:

 

 

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.

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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.

 

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.

The Cheesegrater, etching

Yesterday I did an etching based on a sketch I made of the Cheesegrater and St Katharine Cree.

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This is a post-card sized etching on copper plate, printed by the technique called Chine collé.  Japanese paper is the coloured background, and is printed and glued to Fabriano Unica, all in one process. It’s a bit tricky, but gives a good result, I think. The Japanese paper takes the ink very well, and provides the coloured background.

The plate is made using a hard-ground etch, then aquatint. Hard-ground etch means I put a varnish on the plate, then draw the picture in the varnish, so revealing lines of bare copper. Then I dip the plate in acid for 20 minutes. The acid attacks the bare copper and makes lines. Then if I print it, it looks like this:

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The next stage is aquatint, to make the tones. Aquatint is nothing to do with water, and nothing to do with colour. The name is misleading. The plate goes in a box, where I’ve turned a handle to make clouds of fine rosin. The rosin drops on the plate like rain. Then it’s annealed with a gas burner. Now there are lots of tiny dots in a random pattern on the plate. The skill now is to paint and dip the plate, so as to get the tones. The longer the plate stays in the acid, the blacker the tone. But if you leave it too long the acid bites off all the dots and the tone is light again.

The picture has 5 tones and plate tone. The darkest tone was in the acid for 4 minutes.

Here is the plate being inked up:

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I did the printing on the Henderson press at East London Printmakers.