Monday, 14 November 2016

Vauxhall in the rain

Group shot at the end of the day, with everybody 'exhibiting' their work at Tate Britain.

Thank you to everybody who came along to the sketchcrawl in Vauxhall on Saturday.  Despite the persistent rain, there was a good turnout and lots of positive comments about the location.  Here are just a few snaps of the sketches made during the day.

The next sketchcrawl is Saturday 10th December in Covent Garden.


People sketched by Jimmy

Local landmark, the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, drawn by Rachel

Sketch of the bus station by Lara

Watercolours from Katy. With added water.

Watercolour sketch by Christine inside Starbucks

Black and white drawing inside the Tate by Sarah

Study of 'Jacob and the Angel' by Sarra



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Thursday, 10 November 2016

Let's draw London in 2017

Welcome to our sketchcrawl schedule for 2017

No need to book, no fee to pay -- just bring your own sketching kit and show up on the day 

This is our provisional programme for the year. We will post more details for each sketchcrawl -- including meeting times and locations -- a few weeks in advance of each event. And if anything changes, we will publish amendments here, too. This programme is brought to you by Jo Dungey and Lis Watkins.  


Saturday 21 January 2017

We start the year with a contemporary subject - Tate Modern.  On the South Bank, opposite St Paul’s Cathedral, Tate Modern opened a new extension in June 2016, designed by Herzog and de Meuron.  Draw the collection, the public spaces and views over London.

This day is run by Isabel Carmona with Dionisa Joseph Mattam


Saturday 25 February 2017

Our February event is based at the Barbican Arts Centre in the City of London.  This offers a chance to draw interior and exterior views, and visitors involved in the activities of the Centre.  We could also venture out to draw the City, old and new, and the Museum of London is nearby.

This day is run by Olga Mackness with Lis Watkins


Saturday 25 March 2017

This month we head for Forest Hill, South London, to the Horniman Museum and Gardens. The museum was designed by Charles Harrison Townsend in the Arts and Crafts style, and it has several interesting more recent buildings.  There are extensive gardens with views over London, and a small city farm including alpaca and sheep.  Inside, the collections include natural history, musical instruments of the world, and an aquarium.

This day is run by Nick Richards with Jo Dungey


Saturday 29 April 2017

We visit Alexandra Palace in North London, a dramatic Victorian building.  This is set in parkland with panoramic views.  We can draw the building inside and out, including an indoor skating rink, and the Palm Court with sphinxes.  The park includes a boating lake and sports facilities.

This day is run by Elizabeth Blunt with Daniel Lloyd-Morgan


Saturday 20 May 2017

Sloane Square in Chelsea provides our focus in May. This area offers a mix of historic buildings, including churches, shops, statues and the Royal Court theatre.  The Saatchi Gallery and Duke of York Square are nearby and there is often a farmers’ market.

This day is run by Evelyn Rowland with Nicky Browne


Saturday 17 June 2017

In June we explore legal London and the atmospheric Inns of Court area.  This will include Lincolns Inn Fields, the Hunterian and Sir John Soane museums, Inner Temple and Temple Church.  The Inner Temple garden should be open.

This day is run by Jo Dungey with Gafung Wong


Saturday 15 July 2017

In July we spend a summer’s day by the river at Richmond, in West London.  This offers elegant terraced streets, a view of the river painted by Turner, historic buildings, boats and bridges.

This day is run by Helen Hayhoe and John Webb


Saturday 19 August 2017

This month we visit Hyde Park.  Each year the Serpentine Galleries commission a temporary summer pavilion by a contemporary architect, which we could draw.  Other options are park views, the boating lake, the Italian Gardens, summer visitors, and sculptures old and new.  The Albert Memorial and Royal Albert Hall are nearby.

This day is run by Jo Dungey with Nicky Browne


Saturday 9 September 2017

In September, we explore Highgate, including Waterlow Park, the newly renovated Lauderdale House, and Highgate Cemetery, perhaps the most famous of London’s Victorian cemeteries.

This day is run by Dougie Simpson with Jo Dungey


Saturday 14 October 2017

We visit Spitalfields in October, where the Spitalfields Market is a modern redevelopment in a historic area.  Nearby, Christ Church is a Hawksmoor masterpiece surrounded by Georgian houses.

This day is run by Cathryn Worrell with Daniel Lloyd-Morgan


Saturday 18 November 2017

In November, we draw Kennington.  We explore the area around Kennington Road, South London, including the Imperial War Museum, Cleaver Square and the Newport Street Gallery.

This day is run by Isabel Carmona with John Swanson


Saturday 9 December 2017

We end the year at the Kensington museums – the Science Museum and Victoria and Albert Museum.  There is also usually an ice rink outside the Natural History Museum.

This day is run by Lis Watkins with Philip Stones









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Let's draw Covent Garden Saturday 10th December 2016


Getting ready for the BAFTAs at the Royal Opera House by Lis Watkins





Key meeting points and times:

11 am     Meet in front of the church, St Paul’s, Covent Garden, on the market and piazza side (see photo above)

1pm        Meet in the churchyard by the door at the back of the same church (see photo below)



3.30 pm  Finish at Neal’s Yard (NB not the modern Thomas Neal shopping arcade).  See photo and directions below.

These locations have some shelter if the weather is wet.

Brace yourself to face the crowds, in December Urban Sketchers London visits Covent Garden.  But Covent Garden has more than shopping to offer.  Options for drawing include:


  • Covent Garden’s Victorian market buildings: the central market, the Jubilee Hall Market, and the Floral Hall


  • St Paul’s Church – the actors’ church – designed by Inigo Jones, with churchyard behind
  • Theatreland, including the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, and Royal Opera House


  • The London Transport Museum (admission charge) 
  • Street entertainers
  • Shops and stalls, with seasonal decorations.


The area known as Covent Garden was originally arable land and orchards belonging to Westminster Abbey – the convent garden.  With the dissolution of the monasteries in the reign of Henry VIII (1540), the land passed to the Dukes of Bedford.  In 1630, the fourth Duke brought in architect Inigo Jones to develop the area.  Inigo Jones designed the church which is there now, St Paul’s, with a Tuscan-style portico, and laid out a piazza in the Italian style – unprecedented urban design for England at that time – with elegant houses around it.

For centuries this was a residential and commercial area of varying degrees of respectability, and associated with the arts.  The earliest theatres were the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, and what is now the Royal Opera House on Bow Street.  The church is known as the actors’ church and has memorials to many famous names.  In the eighteenth century, writers such as Sheridan, Dryden and Aphra Behn, met in the area’s coffee shops, and the artist J M W Turner grew up on Maiden Lane where his father ran a barber’s shop.

Since the seventeenth century, the piazza was also used for fruit and vegetable markets, and to bring some order to this, in 1833 the covered central market building was designed.  This continued as London’s main wholesale fruit and vegetable market until 1974, when it moved south of the river to Nine Elms.  After a campaign against demolition, the market was re-opened to house the kind of shops and stalls we see today.  There are some old photographs displayed on walls inside the market building.

Places to draw which may be slightly quieter include the churchyard behind the church which has plenty of seats, the church interior, and the old streets and courtyards further away from the main piazza.  There are plenty of arcades and market buildings if the weather is wet, as long as you are dressed warmly.



There are plenty of cafes and bars, and public toilets near the church.  We will start the day in front of the church, and end the day at Neal’s Yard.  To get to Neal’s Yard, with Covent Garden tube station behind you, walk up Neal Street, turn left into Short’s Gardens and then right down a path next to the Benefits shop, signed above with a barrel.





This day is run by Jo Dungey






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Sunday, 30 October 2016

A little amusement in Woodford


By the Cross Road bus stop to be precise. A delightful picturesque setting with a duck pond, complete with ducks and Canadian Geese, a bench, and Weeping Willows (not all shown). I've often contemplated drawing this scene but never quite managed it, owing to the W14 turning up and blocking my view for 10 minutes.
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Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Let's draw Vauxhall Saturday 12th November

Drawing by James Hobbs


Saturday 12th November 2016

  • 11 am - Start at the front of Vauxhall Train Station.
  • 1 pm - Meet by the Secret Intelligence Service building (MI6 building: photo below), on the riverside walk. *If wet, meet in Starbucks by Vauxhall station.
  • 3.30 pm - Finish on the steps of Tate Britain to share sketches and take some photos.*Meet in Café Djanogly, inside Tate Britain if wet. 
The November Sketchcrawl will be heavy on the 'urban' part of London Urban Sketchers as we visit Vauxhall, with a variety of sketching inspiration including;
  • The Secret Intelligence Service building - made famous in 'Skyfall' and designed by architect Terry Farrell. 
  • Vauxhall City Farm - something a little different for central London. 
  • Tate Britain (free admission) - on the north side of the river, across Vauxhall Bridge. 
  • Vauxhall Bus Station - a striking metal design by Arup Associates.
  • Brunswick House - a Georgian mansion set amongst city skyscrapers.
  • Railway arches - for anyone who went to the Manchester Symposium, a chance to rekindle the love of railway arches.  Also good place to shelter if the weather is wet.
  • Views across the Thames and the changing London skyline.
Damien Hirst's Newport Street Gallery is close by but unfortunately a new exhibition is being installed so it won't be open but the outside of the building would be interesting to draw. 

Meet outside Vauxhall Train Station at 11.00 am

Vauxhall City Farm

Secret Intelligence Service building (MI6 building)

Along the riverbank

The very striking Vauxhall Bus Station

View from Vauxhall to Westminster

Tate Britain



The sketchcrawl will be led by Lis Watkins.

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Thursday, 8 September 2016

Let's draw Smithfield: Saturday 15 October 2016



Smithfield – “the smooth field” – was the site of a livestock market dating from the medieval era, and of the annual Cloth Fair held around St Bartholomew’s Day.  It is outside the area of the City of London destroyed by the Great Fire of London of 1666, so has some very old buildings, including the oldest church in London.

The nearest Underground station is Barbican.  From Aldersgate, walk along Long Lane and you will soon see Smithfield Market.  We will meet at West Smithfield garden, a small circular city park in front of the market building.


Summary of the day:
  •          Meet at 11 am at West Smithfield garden in front of Smithfield Market
  •          Meet at 1 pm in the same place
  •          Meet at 3.30 pm either at the West Smithfield garden if dry or the Rising Sun pub on Cloth Fair if wet


Smithfield is an area of varied history, and rapid change, and offers a great mix of subjects to draw:

Smithfield Market is a large Victorian building (see top image) completed in 1867 (architect Horace Jones), a wholesale meat market (trading Monday to Friday).  At the southwest end are disused buildings, formerly a general market, which have been acquired for redevelopment as a new location for the Museum of London.  The provisional opening date for this is 2021.


St Bartholomew’s Hospital has stood on this site since 1123, and some of the existing buildings date from the eighteenth century.  The hospital complex includes St Bartholomew the Less church (unlikely to be open), and a courtyard with a fountain and plenty of seats.  The hospital’s Henry Vlll Gate is on West Smithfield.


Memorials: Smithfield was for centuries a site of execution.  Memorials alongside the hospital include one to William Wallace, Scottish leader executed in 1305




St Bartholomew the Great church: the oldest church in London, interesting interior and exterior, admission charge, open 10.30 am to 4 pm


The Old Bailey, the Central Criminal Court, down Giltspur Street


Postman’s Park and St Botolph Aldersgate, down Little Britain.  The park includes G. F. Watts’ Memorial to Heroic Self-Sacrifice

The Museum of London on the junction of Aldersgate and London Wall, free admission, open 10 am to 6 pm

I have listed quite a few options as the impact of building work in the area is unpredictable.

Wet weather options include the interior of St Bartholomew the Great, interiors of pubs and cafes, and the Museum of London

Facilities: Old pubs are characteristic of the area, although not all open on Saturday.  The Rising Sun, 38 Cloth Fair, the Old Red Cow, 71 Long Lane, the Fox and Anchor, 115 Charterhouse, should be open, also Carluccio café on West Smithfield and cafes near the tube station and the Museum of London

This day is organised by Jo Dungey.


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Saturday, 3 September 2016

Drawing Little Venice: Saturday 17 September


We are meeting at Little Venice in west London for our next sketchcrawl on Saturday 17 September. The plan is to meet at Rembrandt Gardens, right next to the canal, at 11am, and again at 1pm. It's a short walk from Warwick Avenue tube station (Bakerloo line) or a longer one from Paddington tube station (Bakerloo, Circle, District, Metropolitan, Hammersmith & City). There's a map below.

The area is a quiet, affluent place where the Grand Union and Regent's canals meet, with quiet back streets and occasional passing narrowboats. The more modern Paddington Central development, close to the Westway flyovers, is nearby along the canal.



Meet at 11am, and again at 1pm, at Rembrandt Gardens, where Warwick Avenue crosses over the canal, and overlooks the basin. There are public toilets here.


There is a variety of pubs and cafes around Little Venice, although not too cheap. This is the Warwick Castle pub, easily overlooked down Warwick Place, which looks promising.


There are a variety of subjects from the traditionally leafy, such as these...


... to the more modern developments around Paddington close by.


We will finish at the Shelton Square amphitheatre, which is just along the canal towards Paddington, just past the flyovers. There is a variety of cafes and bars around here.

There aren't a huge number of wet-weather options around Little Venice, apart from drawing in Paddington station or from cafes and bars around. Let's hope it's dry, or even sunny.


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