Willen House EC1

Corner of Galway St and Bath Street, EC1. Willen House is on the right, then in the background is Galway House in the Pleydell Estate. The LSO St Luke’s monument is just visible.

An old man said, “Ah. You are drawing. All little houses, there used to be. I’ve lived here all my life. You know what that [Willen House] used to be? The Income Tax. That primary school? Used to be a pub. Round the corner here, we got bombed out during the war. I’m giving away my age now! And that place – down there – Argos? – you look across the road and what do you see? A bus stop. And that building behind it? Used to be a school. I went there. The man there, conducted during the Cup Final. “Abide With Me”. All dressed in white he was.”

Mostly I did this drawing standing up, leaning on the wall of the “Institute of Ophthalmology, 11-43 Bath Street”. While I was doing the colouring I had to sit down. Two women approached. “You’re drawing,” she told me. Then, “I’m a Community Police Officer”. One of them showed me her badge, in a little case: a metal low-relief sculpture on a blue cloth background. They both admired my drawing, and looked at the view. I said “It’s OK to sit here?” She said, “Oh yes. It’s just, you’ve got your things all round you. Want to be careful you don’t get them swiped. You aren’t in a position to run after them.”. Which was a good point. I moved my bag until I was leaning on it, squeezing it onto the wall behind me.

Willen House is now Student residence, and also home of NTS Fashion Ltd, on the ground floor. I could see their racks of clothes through the window.

About an hour, drawn and coloured on location. The car moved.

The Post Office Tower from Lloyd Street WC1

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A quick sketch on location, wash done at home later.

I stood in front of Bethany House, built 1882-4 for the Sisters of Bethany, and now a hostel for homeless women.

Lloyd Street constructed 1830s. Post Office Tower (now the BT Tower) completed 1964.

Buildings on Cowper St EC2

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I liked the contrast between the warm, human-scale buildings in the foreground and the futuristic towers in the background.

At the back, the building with the curved side is “Bézier”, a residential development.

“Bézier Apartments were designed by TP Bennett and developed by the Tudorvale Properties Group in 2008, and completed in 2010”, according to http://www.baseps.co.uk

Its swanky entrance is on City Road, in between an “EAT” and a “pod”. These are both eating places. EAT is all upper-case, and “pod” is all lower-case. A “bézier” is a particular sort of mathementical curve, much used in computer graphics.

The brick building is the “Central Foundation Boys School”, Sixth Form Centre. I could hear the boys on their break for some of the time when I was drawing. It is a state school, as far as I can understand from their website, run by Islington. Founded 1866. Their website has an interesting feature: “Show My Homework”. You can look up your homework assignment by year and subject. No more excuses.

I drew this standing at the side of Tabernacle Street. A shiny black car drew up, with black tinted windows. The window scrolled down, so I could see the driver, who was also black. He asked me if I could direct him to 69 Tabernacle Street. I could not. None of the blocks round here have numbers. But I know the area. “What is it?” I asked.

“69 Tablernacle Street,” he said again.

“No,” I said, “what is at 69 Tabernacle Street?”

He turned round awkwardly, to his passenger, invisible in the back seat. A pause for an inaudible conversation.

“A fancy dress shop,” he informed me. But I still couldn’t direct them.

I can now see that they were looking for: Mad World Fancy Dress, “one of the UK’s largest stockists of Venetian masks”, amongst other things. It was just north of where I was standing, entrance in Singer Street. I wonder if they found it.

Looking North up Whitecross Street to Coltash Court

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Coltash Court is the residential tower block in the centre of the picture. It’s 152 Whitecross Street, at the junction of Whitecross Street with Old Street. I can’t see when it was built – looks like 1960s. It’s labelled “Homes for Islington”, with Islington Council branding as well. A one-bedroom flat in there is advertised for £415K, “fully furnished”.

I drew and coloured this standing up at the junction with Errol Street, outside Waitrose. 9:30 to 10:30, so about an hour. I used the convenient tables in the covered section outside Waitrose to put my painting things. But I couldn’t draw from there as I couldn’t see up the street.

From St Luke’s Garden, Pleydell Estate and City Road

A vista of Islington development, drawn from a bench in St Luke’s Gardens.
In the foreground the building with the pitched roof is Toffee Park Adventure playground.

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In the background, from left to right:
Grayson House (Left edge of picture) and Galway House, both part of the Pleydell Estate, Islington Council, completed 1959 (according to “Wikimapia” – I don’t know how reliable that is)
Social housing and ex-council flats.

Eagle Point: The Eagle & Eagle Black
http://www.mountanvil.com/our-london-homes/the-eagle/

“Art Deco inspired studio, 1,2 3 & 4 bedroom apartments, and luxury Eagle Black residences, from Mount Anvil and designed by Farrells. Situated on City Road, London EC1, moments from Old Street roundabout in Shoreditch. Live The Eagle lifestyle”

completed November 2015

M by Montcalm
http://squireandpartners.com/architecture/hotels/city-road-estate/

“Squire and Partners’ concept for the M by Montcalm hotel in Shoreditch was delivered in collaboration with Executive Architects 5 Plus, and completed in summer 2015. The site – opposite Moorfields Eye Hospital on City Road – provided inspiration for a striking facade which expresses the idea of the optical and the visual.

Responding to the Moorfields Eye Hospital opposite, and taking inspiration from the 1980′s artworks of Bridget Riley, the facade is expressed as a triple glazed skin enlivened with differing patterns of transparency, opacity and solidity to convey diagonal slopes breaking across an underlying vertical structure.

Manipulation and modulation of light, both internally and externally, give the facade richness and an ever-changing face on this prominent site, as well as assisting solar performance to create a sustainable development. The conjunction of the vertical and the diagonal create a visual effect of depth and movement, and express the activities taking place within the building. At the upper levels the facade openings become larger to express the more social uses and exploit the panoramic views.

At ground and lower ground floors, the building skin ‘lifts’ on the diagonal to reveal the hotel lobby, public bar and restaurant, all clearly visible from the street.”

Completed July 2015

Godfrey House: (right edge of picture) Part of the St Luke’s Estate, also called the “St Luke’s Printing Works redevelopment”, approved 1965 (according to Wikimapia)
Social housing and ex-council flats.

Drawn and coloured on a bench in the garden, about 1hr10min.
On another bench, two men cracked open cans. I heard them call “What’s that dog, mate?”
The shouted response came, “Her mother’s a rottweiler and her father’s a Labrador”. The owner, limping across the park, informed them that the dog was “one step away from a wolf”. This was evidently recommendation. “She’s got rottweiler markings” he said.
Once he’d gone, the interest in dogs continued. They called to a woman, and asked about her dogs. These were “A Labrador and a cocker spaniel”. The Labrador was called Debbie. They called to her, and the dog rushed over, bouncing up at them.

While all this was going on, a woman with oriental features, without a dog, was walking loops of the park, looking directly ahead.

After the drawing I walked to identify the towers, via Radnor Street and Peerless Street, and had a coffee at Westland Coffee next to Eagle Point. This coffee, in a paper cup, cost £2.70. They did bring it to my table though.

Here what the picture looked like before the colour went on:

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The North Garden, Charterhouse

 

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A sketch in the North Garden of The Charterhouse.

This wall is very old. The letters “A” and “N” in the drawing are iron, embedded in the brickwork. The whole message is spelled out along the 100 feet or so of the wall and reads “ANNO 1571”.

The door is more like a tunnel in the thick brickwork. It has a grass path leading to it and looks functional. Nobody went in or out while I was drawing it.
I loved this part of the garden. It was very quiet, and, for winter, amazingly lush. There was even birdsong.
It was, however, very cold. So I only could do one drawing. My hands and legs were becoming stiff. Behind me, another painting waited to be done: bright orange seedpods of the plant I know as “Chinese Lanterns”, and a very dignified old tree, gnarled but upright.
But I had to get back into the warm.

As I drew this, the gardener passed and re-passed, going down into a basement nearby. He said I wasn’t in their way. “You’re alright,” he said.

About 1hr45, to 11:10am. Drawn and coloured on location.

Here is the pen and ink, before the watercolour went on.

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Thank you to the Preacher of Charterhouse, Rev Robin Isherwood, and the Brothers and workers at Charterhouse for their hospitality.
It’s a marvellous pleasure to visit.

Braithwaite House from Fortune Park

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Braithwaite House caught the sun at 3:30pm and I quickly drew it, then finished the drawing as everything got dark. About 1 hour, drawn and coloured on location.

On the path people were walking, often with children from the nearby school. “What is that lady doing?” asked a clear carrying voice. The adult answer was inaudible. “Yes but what is she drawing?” persisted the voice. That child will go far. This time I heard the adult answer, “I don’t know”.

Braithwaite House is on Bunhill Row, originally council flats built around 1963, now many are privately owned and advertised on Rightmove etc.

The tree on the left was crudely cut earlier this year. It’s good to see that twigs are growing from the amputated ends of the branches.

“Fortune Street and this small park are named after the Fortune Theatre, which was built for Edward Alleyn and Philip Henslowe in 1600 on Golden Lane, off which Fortune Street runs. The area was bombed during WWII and the site was laid out as Fortune Street Park in the early 1960s. In 2002 refurbishment works were undertaken, which included landscaping, provision of additional seating and re-siting of play equipment”
according to London Gardens Online.