Friday, 25 May 2018

Sketching Inside the City Churches

St Mary le Bow by Cathryn Worrell

As the oldest part of London, the City is a great place to sketch. With architecture dating from Roman times to the present day, and pockets of quieter green spaces all within 1 square mile, there's more than enough to keep any urban sketcher very happy (and very busy!).

At almost every turn you will come across one of the 42 City churches, most of which were built by Sir Christopher Wren after the Great Fire of London. Quite a few of Wren's churches were demolished in the 19th century as fewer people were living within the City, and others were damaged or destroyed during the Second World War.

St Dunstan in the East by Cathryn Worrell

Some of the City churches that were damaged still survive as single towers or ruins - one of the prettiest of these ruins being St Dunstan in the East, which is set among tranquil gardens close to the Monument to the Great Fire.

Map by Pete Scully - click to download a full size version

Over the past few years, urban sketcher, Pete Scully has organised two sketchcrawls through the City with the aim of sketching as many of Wren's churches as possible over the course of a day. He made a very useful hand-drawn map which shows the location of most of Wren's City churches.

Read more about 2014 sketchcrawl and the 2016 sketchcrawl on Pete's blog and download his map ready for the next time you're sketching in the City of London by clicking on the image above.

Of course, as great as it is to sketch the outside of the churches, sometimes it would be nice to be able to sketch the interiors. The problem with this can be that the church you choose to visit may well be closed when you arrive.

Although most of the churches (with a few exceptions) are closed at weekends, a group called The Friends of the City Churches work to make them accessible throughout the week. The Friends volunteer as 'church watchers' and work together to make sure that the City churches are preserved and kept open for visitors.

If you want to visit the City churches at a time when you'll be able to go inside, check the church watchers timetable on The Friends of the City Churches home page. Some churches will be open at other times too but this is a good general guide and may help avoid any disappointment if you're making a special journey to the area.

And make sure you have Pete's map to hand so you can find as many of Wren's churches as possible!
Share/Bookmark

Thursday, 24 May 2018

East Molesey

[John Webb] Spent a pleasant if chilly few hours last week with a friend beside The River Thames in Hampton. Well actually on the other bank, East Molesey having taken the ferry over to sketch the old boatyards on Platts Eyot known as Port Hampton - once a thriving vibrant leisure boat island. Sadly very much less so now. As ever there's plans to develop it for luxury houses or apartments so it was good to get a good look and a sketch or two.
Share/Bookmark

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Fun in the sun in E3


[Evelyn Rowland]
Lovely afternoon near Bow flyover. I gravitated to the familiar sight of a clock tower rather than attack the algae and foliage. Tried a different method of working this time, more paint, less pencil. If I had got there earlier in the day, I probably could have managed another one.


Share/Bookmark

Friday, 18 May 2018

Old and new in the City of London



(Olga Mackness)

As an architect I have always been interested in historic architecture - the City of London has plenty of wonderful buildings, churches and palaces.
I live in London since 1993 and I used to admire old City of London and the way it has been preserved over centuries. The old City of London has changed since that time, with the new iconic buildings such as The Shard, The Gherkin, The Cheese grater…

What lovely nicknames for the modern masterpieces of architecture!

I remember public resentment when first tall buildings were introduced to London’s skyline.
Frankly, I felt slightly unsure about new developments too.
But now I realise, how wonderfully it works together – old and modern.
I admire the way modern structures reflect beauty of the smaller historic buildings standing next to them. I carry on sketching old and new, famous and not very famous - hope to add to my collection with our next sketch crawl in Bromley-by Bow.





Share/Bookmark

Brentford Football Club/Brentford Community Stadium


[John Webb] 

Brentford have a long and distinguished history in west London. Once in the top league, they have been through many difficult times but more recently seen huge progression upwards through League 2, League 1, and now a consistent top half finisher in the Championship – in 2015 we made a serious challenge to get to the Premier League by reaching the Championship playoffs.

This progression includes plans for a new stadium. Whilst longer in the planning than construction, at last the site has been cleared and construction is well under way.

As my son and I have been season ticket holders for a few years it was a natural instinct to draw it as it happens, documenting the progress towards what will be one of the most significant moments in the club’s history.

BFC and their development partner Be have arranged site access so I can make an artist-eye view of the journey towards our new era at Lionel Road.

Site clearance  April – July 2017



Groundworks & piling  April – June 2018





Share/Bookmark

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Summer evening sketching 2018



Join us for some relaxed evening sketching near London’s river Thames. Explore, sketch, socialise, eat and drink, as you prefer. We have planned three evening meet-ups:




We will draw from 6pm to 8pm, then meet up again to look at the sketches done and take photos, then people have the option to eat, drink and socialise. Each evening is free of charge, no need to book, just turn up with your art kit. More information below:
Wednesday 20 June 2018



Meeting point: 6pm next to the Golden Hinde, a full-size replica of the 16th century galleon of Sir Francis Drake, next to the Old Thameside Inn, and at 8pm at the same place. 
The Golden Hinde is at St Mary Overie Dock, Cathedral Street, SE1. As well as drawing the Golden Hinde, we can draw river views, Southwark Cathedral, the ruins of Winchester Palace, and the small shops and streets around Borough Market. If it is wet, we can draw inside nearby pubs and cafes or under the canopies of Borough Market, and finish up at the Old Thameside Inn.
This event is run by Jo Dungey and Lis Watkins
Nearest station: London Bridge
Wednesday 25 July 2018
Meeting point: 6pm at Flat Iron Square, Bankside, off Union Street, and at 8pm at the same place.

Flat Iron Square is a new ‘foodie hub’ in Bankside. It is at the junction of Union Street, O’Meara Street and Southwark Street. Having redeveloped seven old railway arches, it has restaurants, bars, street food trucks and sometimes live music. Draw the people and buildings, including the old railway arches, and the nearby old shops, buildings and bridges in this mixed but historic area. If it is wet, there is plenty of cover and interior spaces at Flat Iron Square.
This evening is run by John Webb and Jo Dungey
Nearest stations: London Bridge, Southwark, Borough

Wednesday 8 August 2018

Meeting point: 6pm at Gabriel’s Wharf, near the central canopy, and at 8pm at the same place.
Gabriel’s Wharf, Upper Ground, is an open area just back from the river between the National Theatre and the OXO Tower building. It has small shops, galleries, restaurants and cafes, which we can draw.  Other options for drawing are river views from the nearby jetties, and the OXO Tower buildings. If wet, we can draw inside the National Theatre or inside pubs and cafes.   
This evening is run by Gafung Wong and John Webb
Nearest stations: Waterloo, Southwark, Blackfriars

Photographs by Lis Watkins




Share/Bookmark

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Five squares in London's spring -- James Hobbs on Urban Sketchers international

Cavendish Square by James Hobbs

Are you on the international Urban Sketchers mailing list? If not, you might have missed 'Five squares in London's spring' by our very own James Hobbs, co-founder of Urban Sketchers London. It's a brilliant reminder that Urban Sketchers sketchcrawls in London aren't just about drawing, they're also about discovery.



Share/Bookmark