Sketching in Kennington and Vauxhall

In Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens there is a strange geometric building. I drew it, sitting on the grass.


There is a tiny sign on the Tyers Street side of the building which says “Cabinet”. We saw someone come out. They said, “It’s an art gallery, you should check it out!” We pushed the door and went inside. There is indeed an art gallery on the ground floor. Currently it is showing an exhibition of the notebooks and sketches of Antonin Artaud: “Cahiers de Rodez at d’Ivey 1945-48”. Rodez was or is a mental asylum.

“An unclassifiable volume of writing and drawing. Portraits, names, calculations, glossolalia, sigils, lists and drugs and foodstuffs, formulae, totems, lexicons, anatomies, objects, […] machines and implements of obscure purpose” (curation, 132 Tyers Street SE11 5HS)

We asked the receptionist what the building was. It was designed by Trevor Horne Architects. It is financed by Charles Asprey. There is a gallery on the ground floor. On the top floor there is a “project space”. In between there are two “residential floors”. The tiles on ground floor were identical to the tiles on the Barbican Podium, but newer. The walls were unfinished concrete inside, with pleasing concave curves.

Charles Asprey has many interests.

“CHARLES ASPREY is a publisher and arts patron. He runs an exhibition space in an award-winning building he commissioned on the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens in London. He is co-editor of the arts quarterly PICPUS and Chair of the Grants Committee of the Henry Moore Foundation. “

He is also an initiator of the “London Fountain Co.” which aims to provide fresh drinking water in London “helping to provide the infrastructure needed to move away from plastic bottled water”. The quote about Charles Asprey, above, comes from the London Fountain Co. website.

The windows of the building have “A” shaped frames:

A for Asprey.

Off to the right of the picture is Vauxhall City Farm. The Christian cross you see to the left of Asprey’s building is on top of the “All Nations Apostalic Church” on Tyers Terrace. The neat house on the far left is 127 Tyers Street. It is now residential, a fine conversion of a row of shops.

In the far distance you see the tower blocks round Elephant and Castle.

Here is work in progress on the picture. It took about 1hr45min.

Then I walked along Tyers Street and towards Waterloo.


This is a view from outside “Mountain House”, a 1930’s block on Tyers Street.

You see Arden House on the right. The huge modern block is “Parliament House Apartments”, which is on Black Prince Road on the North side of the railway tracks. In the middle is a row of 1970s houses, odd numbers 1-21 Vauxhall Walk.

This was a really quick sketch: about 15 mins, drawn and coloured on the narrow pavement outside Mountain House.

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