I continue to work on my “Towers Project”. The idea is to document the towers of Finsbury, Islington and Camden, or at least the ones I can see from my window.
I did a “Skyline” previously which you can see on this link.
Here are two smaller etchings, Towers East and Towers West, both 10.5cm by 15cm. I finished Towers West yesterday.
These two together form a panorama. I used Towers East in a Chine Collé course. See this link.
The two prominent towers at the front are part of a Peabody Estate, the “Roscoe Estate” on Roscoe Street. The one on the left is “Peabody Tower” and the one on the right is “St Mary’s Tower”. The low house at the very front on the left is Fortune House, on Fortune Street. I have drawn Peabody Tower in an urban sketch, see this link.
These etchings are aquatint on copper. Here is work in progress on “Towers West”.
Drawing “Towers West” on hard ground using an etching spike.
“Towers West” print: hard ground etching
I drew the picture in hard ground using an etching spike, then etched it in acid called “Edinburgh Etch” for 20minutes. The resulting print is shown above on the right.
Then I put resin dust, called Aquatint, on the plate, and set it with a gas burner. I paint varnish on top of the Aquatint, to make the shapes, then dip in acid, then paint more, then dip. Towers West is 6 dips. The sky is a technique called “spit bite”: I just paint the acid on, wait 20 seconds, and wash it off.
I have been trying to find good views of Rahere and Kestral Houses, two Towers of Finsbury which I can see from my window.
Rahere is in the King Square Estate. This estate was built by Islington Council in 1959-61. The architects were Emberton, Franck and Tardew. Franck had worked for Tecton, the firm who designed the Spa Green Estate. King Square Estate is currently subject of improvements including addition of new dwellings.In between all the blocks is St Clements Church.
Rahere House is just visible to the left. The new tower, Lexicon, is above it on the left. Carerra House, of the 250 City Road development, is under construction, visible to the right of the spire.
I couldn’t find a distant view of Rahere House, so here is a close-up.
This is one of the back doors. The architects thoughtfully provided lead-lined troughs, at waist height, for flower pots, I assume. One of these is shown in the drawing, to the right of the door. Off the picture to the left, these continue as long boxes, like water-troughs. None of them are used, presumably because the council don’t do flowers and the temptation for vandals is too great.
Instead, residents have their own plants, inside their windows and out on the balcony. See also the feral plant, growing out of the concrete above the door, top left.
Turnpike House is on the same King Square estate. Turnpike I have drawn before.
To the North of Rahere is Kestrel House. This tower is on Moreland Street and City Road. It is currently surrounded by building work associated with the Bunhill Heat and Power. This scheme takes energy from braking Tube trains and uses it to heat local houses and schools.
Kestrel House is on the “City Road Estate”. I found a view of of it from Hall Street: it’s the rectangular tower block in the middle. The Lexicon, otherwise known as “Chronicle Tower”, a new development by “Mount Anvil” is the sloping building behind.
The building which dominates this drawing, on the right, is the premises of “Level(3)”. I walked round the block a couple of times to see what it was. The windows on the street side are high, and there are serious steel shutters over every entrance. Note the huge ventilation shafts. It looks somehow as though it’s ventilating a larger volume than the building, as though it goes down a number of stories below ground. The business of Level(3), according to a web search, is “Connecting and Protecting the Networked World”.
The red-brick building straight ahead was previously “St Marks Hospital Nurses Home”. This is cast into the stone work above a former door on Pickard Street. The door is no longer in use, and fenced off. “Founded 1835, Erected 1853”. The main entrance now is on City Road. It looks disused. Fallen leaves clutter the steps, the grass wafts unmown. But there is a car park, so perhaps there’s another entrance from there that I couldn’t see. It’s “300 City Road”, which appears online as Citidines Serviced apartments.
Behind me when I drew this was Peregrine House, another tower, very high.
Later I went back to try to get views of Peregrine House.
This is from a doorway on Pensioners’ Court, which is the court beyond Preacher’s Court. The Building with the four archways is part of the Brothers’ realm: the infirmary above and the coffee room below. I don’t know what the turret is, very intriguing.
The gardens were magnificent. In front of me was that huge magnolia tree. It moved in the wind and contained darkness much darker than I have drawn it.
I enjoyed the two towers: Barbican and Charterhouse, and the way the view was bracketed by the tree on the right and the lamp-post on the left.
One hour 45 minutes, drawn and coloured on location. The day was overcast and threatened rain. Round me, a gardener was watering the borders.
It should be “Pensioners’” court (plural).
Those chimneys are hard to draw. They are not simple rectangles, but a complicated geometric shape, a square put at an angle to another square, difficult to see in the light and shadow.
The crest of the roof is not straight. It goes downwards at quite an alarming angle, as drawn. The windows are not in a straight line with each other, which makes me wonder exactly where the floor is, inside.
I drew this from under the shade of the new building, the “Admiral Ashmore Building”. While I was drawing, the gardeners were making the window boxes, and crushed the geranium leaves. The place smelt of geranium, and earth and water.
I like it that you can see the Barbican towers beyond. I made this observation to a Brother who paused to chat. He told me that these brutalist towers are not popular with certain of the Brothers. They have identified a place in the garden where you can sit, so that the towers are obscured by a tree.
About 2 hours (those chimneys!!), drawn and coloured on location.
Here is what it looked like before the colour went on:
I liked the three ages of buildings: the 16th and 17th Century Hall on the left, the Admiral Ashmore Building (2000) and the 1970s office blocks and flats behind, with scrappy enhancements, probably 21st Century.
I got very cold.
A brother came by and told me he was the oldest, at 88. He was going to lead Grace at lunch. Everyone would have to stand up. It was like being at school. “I have the mind of a 15-year-old boy,” he informed me, “You had better watch out!”