Towers of North London

I have a project to draw all the towers I can see from my window. These are the towers of Finsbury, Hackney and Camden in North London.

To identify the Towers, I made an etching of the sky line. This is the view from my window. I look North.

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This is an aquatint, made at East London Printmakers. Later I am going to put all the names on.

Here’s an earlier stage of the same picture.  This is the hard ground etching.

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This is Charbonnel Doux printing ink on Fabriano Unica Printing Paper from Great Art. Copper plate etched in Edinburgh etch for 25 minutes.

 

 

Towers of Finsbury – Rahere and Kestrel

I have been trying to find good views of Rahere and Kestral Houses,  two Towers of Finsbury which I can see from my window.

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From “King Square Estate Regeneration, Summer 2015 Issue 4” by Islington Council.

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.

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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.

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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.

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Turnpike House, King Square Estate, from the Goswell Road

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.
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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.

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President House, left, Peregrine House, centre.

I forgot to take my drawing book.

I’ll have another go at these towers.

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Buildings served by “Bunhill Heat and Power 2” – in green.

Charterhouse, Pensioners’ Court

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).

Great Hall, The Charterhouse

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.

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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:IMG_0105

The Admiral Ashmore building

Here is a sketch from Preacher’s Court, Charterhouse.

I did it just after “The Well House” sketch.

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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!”

The Well House,  Charterhouse 

Here is one of my favourite views in The Charterhouse. That curling support for the guttering (top left) is characteristic: details that delight the eye.

 

I drew this standing in the roadway. The suppliers and drivers coming and going were very gracious.

Barbican towers are just visible over the autumn trees.

Here’s what it looked like before the colour:

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