Monday, 18 April 2016

Around Piccadilly: the team

Here are some photos of people in action around the Royal Academy on our recent gathering. It was good to see everyone who ventured out on such a cold, grey day, and to sit and compare notes (and warm up) at the end of the day. Thanks to Katherine for organising it, even if you couldn't come – we hope you're better soon.

And afterwards, at a cafe across the road from the Royal Academy...

You can find details of our next planned meetings here.


Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Let's Draw Galleries, Bookshops and Arcades in Piccadilly and St James

On Saturday 16th April, London Urban Sketchers will be drawing the galleries, shopping arcades and bookshops of Piccadilly and St James - and in particular the courtyard of Burlington House (where the Royal Academies are located) 
  • Piccadilly is the street running west from Piccadilly Circus
  • St James is the area south of Piccadilly
  • Nearest tubes are Piccadilly and Green Park
The Courtyard of Burlington House - drawn from the RA looking towards Piccadilly through the arch
pen and ink and coloured pencils
copyright Katherine Tyrrell
This is a summary of the visit - followed by a description of what we are visiting.
  • MAP: Map - see below for places and websites
    • start/lunch/end in yellow
    • galleries in red
    • arcades and shops in Hatchards turquoise 
    • books in blue
  • DATE: Saturday 16th April 2016
  • START venue/time: 11:00 Burlington House courtyard
    • wet - under the archway (see sketch)
    • dry - though the arch and turn right
  • LUNCH: 1:00pm - same place
  • FINISH: 3:30pm - same place
  • AFTERWARDS: Depends on numbers, probably the Grand Cafe at the RA - otherwise over the road to the Gallery at Fortnum and Masons!
  • Travel: Tube Station - Piccadilly or Green Park
Katherine Tyrrell is organising this but is very busy this week and may have problems being there on Saturday. James Hobbs will however be present on Saturday.

PLACES / Websites:

See the following websites for what the different places look like


There's also a number of galleries in Cork Street and Duke Street




Monday, 21 March 2016

Looking back at the St. Pancras sketchcrawl

It was lovely to see such a great turnout on Saturday for this month’s sketchcrawl despite the rather grey day and chilly weather!

The outside of the old station building, which now houses the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel,  proved a draw for lots of the group.

Others drew inside the station, although it wasn’t much warmer!

The lunchtime stop was in Granary Square and there was a chance to look at the work so far.

The building work around Granary Square and boats on the canal proved popular subjects in the afternoon.

Although the plan was to meet on the terrace at Kings Place, it seemed more sensible to warm up in the café area inside. There was time to chat, get a hot drink and look at each other’s sketchbooks.

It wold be great to see your drawings.  If you are on Flickr, you can apply to join the London Urban Sketchers Flickr page or those on Facebook can join the London Urban Sketchers Facebook page.  If you are on Twitter or Instagram, use the hashtag #urbansketchers for your work to get seen and shared by others.

London Urban Sketchers Flickr page

London Urban Sketchers Facebook page  

Thank you to everybody who came along and hope to see you all at the April outing to the area around the Royal Academy.


Thursday, 3 March 2016

Let's draw St. Pancras!

March’s sketchcrawl will be in and around the bustling St. Pancras/Kings Cross area of London. 
As well as the two stations themselves, with their mix of old and new architecture, there are a whole host of places nearby to draw - the historic Regent’s Canal with beautiful narrowboats, Granary Square with towering warehouses and shiny new Kings Place, a relatively new London cultural venue with a fabulous view of Battlebridge Basin, complete with houseboats and barges.  There is also a raised viewing platform overlooking Kings Cross Station which would make a great viewpoint for a panorama of the area.  

Meet at 11 am outside the old front entrance to St. Pancras Station.
(The entrance facing Euston Road near the entrance to the Renaissance Hotel)

Meet up again at 1 pm outside the entrance to Central Saint Martins in Granary Square.

A mixture of old and new architecture alongside the canal.

Meet up at 3.30 pm on the back terrace at Kings Place to take a look at what everyone has been working on during the day.

The view from the back terrace at Kings Place from my sketchbook.

For more information on the area, have a look at these two websites

I hope to see you on March 19th!


Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Return to Silvertown

London's Urban Sketchers had their second visit to Silvertown, a 62-acre (25 hectare) development site in the East End that we have been invited to record as it gradually turns into the reality of the planners' vision. In the heart of London's old Royal Dockyard, and throbbing in the heyday of the British Empire, Silvertown began its decline in the 1960s, and is now a huge, barren wasteland next to City Airport that promises 3,000 new homes and 20,000 new jobs in the years to come.

Nick Richards, Silo D, Silvertown

A few monumental buildings, such as Millennium Mills and Silo D, survive among the rubble, and will be restored. On our last visit, Millennium Mills was out of bounds because asbestos removal was underway. This time we were allowed inside, travelling up in the hoist, walking through its vast empty structure, and then out on to the 11th-floor roof overlooking the city.

Isabel Carmona, Millennium Mills (left) and Silo D (centre)

From the blustery rooftop, there were great view across towards the towers of the financial district, the Thames Barrier, the O2 Arena, City Airport, and the unspectacular conurbation of the East End stretching out to the horizon. In the wasteland below, the flashing lights of police cars and a burning vehicle were surrounded by a camera crew – one of many film units attracted to the gritty city feel of Silvertown.

Simon Privett, from the roof of Millennium Mills, looking west

Adebanji Alade, Millennium Dome from Millennium Mills

Simone Menken, looking west from the rooftop

James Hobbs, looking north from the roof of Millennium Mills

The giant mural on the side of Millennium Mills was created in 2012 by Shepard Fairey, the designer of the Barack Obama Hope poster.

Daniel Lloyd-Morgan, Attention Graffiti

Jo Dungey, Millennium Mills

The next 10 to 15 years will see this area change beyond recognition. There is a residential community close to the entrance to the site, but it is currently a quiet area – apart from the planes from the airport and construction traffic. Since our last visit in May last year (read about it here), there has been little outward change. The ground is cleared, and buildings rise in other sites around the periphery, but most of the action has still to arrive in Silvertown.

On the roof of Millennium Mills, from the left: Adebanji Alade, James Hobbs, Jo Dungey, Isabel Carmona, Simon Privett, Simone Menken, Nick Richards and Daniel Lloyd-Morgan.

The site is closed for visits now, but we're planning more in the future. Our thanks to the Silvertown Partnership for inviting us.


Tuesday, 16 February 2016

St Botolph without Aldersgate, Postman's Park

I've been itching to get out and draw something without freezing to the spot. On other attempts I've been thwarted by the trees, so today I gave up and let them in.

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Let's Draw the Wallace Collection 20 February 2016

Sketching in the Wallace Collection by Katherine Tyrrell
Next Saturday London Urban Sketchers will be visiting Manchester Square and the Wallace Collection.
  • Both are situated in Marylebone, just north of Oxford Street in the centre of London. 
  • Bond Street provides the nearest tube (Central and Jubilee Lines) and 
  • it's a short 6 minute walk via James Street or Duke Street to the Wallace Collection.
This is a summary of the visit - followed by a description of what we are visiting.
  • MAP: Map
  • START venue/time: 11:00 The Wallace Collection, Hertford House, Manchester Square, London W1U 3BN
    • wet - under the portico at the front door to Hertford House (see photo below)
    • dry - on the pavement to right of the Wallace Collection front door
  • LUNCH: 1:00pm - on the pavement to right of the Wallace Collection front door
  • FINISH: 3:30pm - on the pavement to right of the Wallace Collection front door
  • AFTERWARDS: The Wallace Collection Restaurant and Cafe - I can recommend the cream teas!
  • Travel: Tube Station - Bond Street Station 
  • Toilets: basement of the Wallace Collection (see plan below)
  • Websites: and
There are no large areas in the Wallace Collection where we can congregate.
  • Ideally if the weather is dry we'll meet at the beginning, lunch and at the end of the day on the pavement to the right of the front entrance to the Wallace Collection
  • If the weather is wet we'll huddle under the entrance portico!
Entrance and front elevation of Hertford House
Home to the Wallace Collection

Manchester Square

Manchester Square in London
from Richard Horwoods map of London (1792-99)
Manchester Square is one of the one of the smaller but better preserved Georgian garden squares in central London.
  • The fourth Duke of Manchester, after whom the Square takes its name, obtained the ground lease from the Portman Estate for most of the north side and employed Robert Adam and others to build on the land. 
  • It was first laid out between 1776 and 1788. 
  • Lots of great Georgian architecture to sketch.

Hertford House - home of the Wallace Collection

The first house to be completed was Manchester House, in 1776. This is now known as Hertford House (Listed Grade II) see picture above

The Wallace Collection is housed in Hertford House - which is also worth sketching for those who like sketching the exteriors of buildings best
  • The House was the home of the Marquess of Hertford - the 2nd Marquess acquired the lease in 1797 and was lived in by the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Marquess and the Richard Wallace the 4th Marquess's illegitimate son.
  • Hertford House is now home to the Hertford family’s fabulous collection of fine and decorative arts. It was left to the nation in 1897 by Lady Wallace.
  • It has since become known as the Wallace Collection.
The Collection and exhibition rooms are on three floors of Hertford House. This is the link to the Floor Plan. The collection comprises:
However one of the most attractive features of the Wallace Collection are views within the interior rooms.

Wallace Collection Floor Plan - Click the image to see a larger size

Afterwards, those of us who enjoy a cup of tea will hopefully be able to get one at the Cafe on the ground floor (the green section on the map). If you pipe up at the beginning if you are planning to stay on at the end I'll endeavour to book us a table.

Cream tea at the Wallace Collection by Katherine Tyrrell