Gambier House from St Luke’s

A very cold and blustery day.
Drawn from Ironmonger Passage, beside St Luke’s Gardens. My watercolour bag blew onto the ground, and the street sweeper, speaking Polish into his mobile phone, swept it up amongst the leaves. I raced after him to retrieve it, and he was very polite and apologetic.

“Gambier House was constructed in 1968 and is a 20 storey tower block, comprising 115 flats. The block is located on a triangular site between Mora Street and Lever Street. A small park is immediately adjacent to the south whilst surrounding properties, of between two and seven storeys, are in both commercial and residential uses. “

Gambier House was subject of a Planning Application in 2014, to install cladding. The above is an extract from this Planning Application. Here is a link to the document:

1-115 Gambier House Mora Street London EC1V 8EJ.


Towers, Chine Collé

Last Thursday I made more prints for my “Towers” project.

I improved a plate I made last September, “Skyline”, using a dry point tool, and a marvellous rolling tool called a roulette. The idea was to add more detail.

The drypoint tool, above, and the roulette, below.

I used chine collé to make a yellow shape. Chine collé is paper. It is put on the inked plate, glue side up, which as you can imagine is quite tricky. Then I carry the whole lot to the press, trying not to let the sticky yellow bits float away. The print paper goes on top, then tracing paper to protect the blankets, then the blanket which the press needs, and then I roll it through the press.

Here’s the result:

IMG_2460 (1)
Skyline, Chine collé, 4th January 2018

This is the view out of my window. When I look out, I can see shadow of my building and other buildings. The yellow outline reminds me of this effect, and of all the other buildings whose metaphorical shadow is here: the buildings demolished or bombed down, and the buildings to come.

I also made Chine collé prints of Towers East and Towers West.


I have printed these before. See these links:

Towers East and Towers West

Towers, East

YMCA site, Errol St EC1

This site is a few minutes walk from where I live. There will be a “new home for young homeless Londoners”. “146 beds, 10 000 lives, 60 years”, says the text on the hoarding.

There will be 146 en-suite rooms, an “affordable gym for the whole community” and a “social enterprise unit”. You can see none of this in the picture. It is a building site. The old YMCA building has come down, revealing a temporary skyline.  I hastened out to draw this skyline before it is obscured by the new building.


In this view the huge diversity of London life is visible. On the left, Finsbury Tower houses the Cass Business School. The grey sloping roof below it is the Royal Statistical Society, whose main entrance is on Errol Street. This is an old Victorian building, clearly previously ecclesiastical. IMG_2445The three foundation stones are all dated 29th October 1889. They were laid, from left to right by Rev WF Moulton, Mrs ES Whelpton, and Mrs EA Holman. The names of the architects and builders are written on the left hand stone: WH Boney Esq, Architect, and Holloway Bros, Builders.

The building with the pitched roof, in the centre, is part of St Joseph’s Catholic Church. The Church itself is mostly underground. Right now they have a crib which you can visit.

On the right, the tall building with the wire netting on top, looks like an old school. It is in poor repair: the paint on the window frames is flaking, and the rooms look dark. But it is occupied. There was a light on in one of the windows, and Christmas decorations visible in the gloom behind the dusty window panes. Part of the building is “St Josephs Parish Hall”, accessible from the other side, with a modern lift. A notice by the door said “National Association for People Abused in Childhood”, but the notice looked very old, and I can’t find any reference to it on the web.

At the base of this building is a lovely garden, open during certain hours in the summer. It is in memory of Basil Hume “Monk and Shepherd”.

IMG_2447(with text)

In the centre background is the huge residential tower that is being built in Shoreditch: the “Principal Tower” 50 stories.

This picture took an hour and a half, drawn and coloured on location.




Towers East and Towers West

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”.


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.

Here’s the copper plate for Towers West:

IMG_2026 - Towers West Plate
Towers West, copper plate