Walking east, downriver, the crowds left behind, suddenly there is space and silence.
This drawing is a view across the river from the North bank. Tower Bridge is just off to the right. Opposite you see The Shard, and the waterfront buildings of Hays Galleria. The curved building in the background houses the Greater London Authority (GLA).
In the foreground is the boat which is called “Twee Artsen”. As far as I can work out, that is Dutch for “Two Doctors”, as in medical practitioners. It seems a strange name for a boat, so perhaps I got that wrong. Can anyone advise me?
This was a lovely place to draw.
The drawing took about half an hour. The sky is cobalt blue, knocked back a bit with Naples Yellow Red. There’s some Mars Yellow and Perinone Orange for the masts of the boats. The Thames is Cobalt blue with Burnt Umber. The boat black is made from Phthalo Green (BS) and Perylene Maroon. There’s some Hansa Yellow Mid in there too, for the lower sky. Quite a lot of colours in this one. The Naples Yellow Red is a Rembrandt colour, all the rest are Daniel Smith.
I went down to the river to find the sun. It was there, flooding the North side of the Thames, and so were an extraordinary number of tourists.
But who can blame them? The city was looking clear cut and perfect, there was a slight haze in the distance, a blue sky, and a low golden sun. I stopped by The Tower, and admired Tower Bridge, as everyone else was doing. Then I looked the other way, and saw the towers of the City.
I enjoyed the fact that you can see the pollarded trees and the chimneys of the buildings of the Tower of London, in front of the skyscrapers. The lower, pointed building, just to the left of the Gherkin, is the former headquarters of the Admiralty. Samuel Pepys (1633 – 1703), who wrote the diaries, worked there. This building is now an upmarket hotel.
The castellations in the foreground are part of the Tower of London.
The colours used are Cobalt Blue, Burnt Umber, and Mars Yellow, all Daniel Smith watercolours.
This drawing took about an hour, drawn and coloured on location.
On Wednesday I went for a peregrination around Hackney, north and east of Brick Lane.
I drew this sitting on a bench on Weavers’ Fields. The tower block is Charles Dickens House. The church which you can just see is on the junction of Pollard Row and the Bethnal Green Road. It is a deconsecrated church, and looks as though it’s been converted to residential flats. The building with the roof, straight ahead, is on Derbyshire Road E2. It’s clearly been industrial in its time, now it looks vaguely high-tech. Note the long solar panel on the roof.
It was incredibly cold, about 5 degrees C. But very bright sun, so the solar panel must have been working.
I walked on back to the city. In amongst the office blocks it was warmer. I tucked myself into the angle of a building and drew this:
This is 101 Worship Street, in the beautiful row of workshops designed by Philip Webb. If I were to make the untold millions necessary, I would buy up this row and look after it. I have had my eye on it for a while, ready to campaign if it were threatened. At the far end, sketchily shown behind the cars, is a sort of font or water fountain, with a sharp angled roof. The houses are not in good repair, and evidently listed or they’d have been pulled down by now. They are surrounded by the huge developments of Hoxton and the City of London, as you see behind. This is the “fin tech” area. But these houses survive, against the odds, tribute to the utopian dreams of a previous era.
This huge redbrick building in Leman Street stands proudly amongst the 21st century steel and glass. Inscribed round its windows and above its door in letters a foot high are the words “Co-operative Wholesale Society Limited”. The words are spelled out in full, and written in stone. Oh, those confident and visionary Victorians!
The Co-operative Wholesale Society’s London Branch headquarters were built to designs by J. F. Goodey of 1885. At the formal opening on 2 November 1887, the CWS announced that it should ‘be their aim to make this beautiful building a common home for all the various movements having for their object the interest and advancement of the working people. They had with them their friend, the Rev. S. A. Barnett, and they hoped to work hand in hand with him and the residents of Toynbee Hall, in giving a message of hope to the people of the neighbourhood’