Tuesday, 18 February 2020

We drew at the Wallace Collection and St James Church

(Nicky Browne writes) On Saturday 15 February 2020, a large number of London Urban Sketchers descended on the Wallace Collection in Central London.  There were at least a dozen new faces joining us who included a visiting Australian urban sketcher.

The museum has a significant art collection with many well-known pieces, such as Frans Hals' Laughing Cavalier and Fragonard's Girl on a Swing.  Artefacts, armour, furniture and opulent curtains with huge tassels fill this exotic and unusual museum.  "Gosh" a visitor said to me, "everyone is really concentrating hard!"

The high winds of Storm Dennis limited the number of hardy outdoor toilers.  However, there was just sufficient time before the rain for some splendid renderings of the architecturally significant Victorian fire station, now the Chiltern Firehouse Hotel, and of St James Church in Spanish Place.  The church also welcomed us to draw inside and quite a number of sketchers challenged themselves with the complex Victorian Gothic interior.

The day was run by Nicky Browne and Sasala Wickramasinghe.  Photographs are by Sasala Wickramasinghe and Jo Dungey, and the sketch inside St James Church is by Sasala Wickramasinghe.


Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Let's draw Elephant & Castle - Saturday 14th March

Drawing by Isabel Carmona

In March we visit Elephant and Castle, a very busy urban location and transport hub. The whole square area is a mix of architecture of various times , including the old entrance to the E&C station, the brutalist tower blocks, Erno Goldfinger modernist Alexander Fleming House, now known as Metro Central Heights. Also the Strata tower with the non operational windmills at the top and any of the street scenes of surrounding area would be good subjects. The meeting point for the afternoon, Mercato Metropolitano is a food place with communal seating where there are always plenty of people to watch and sketch.

All in all it promises to be a very varied day.

Elephant and Castle

The day is free of charge, no need to book, just turn up with your art kit.

The steps of the Metropolitan Tabernacle

Key times and meeting points for the day:

11am: Meet on the steps of the Metropolitan Tabernacle (see photograph above) which is opposite the entrance to the shopping centre.

1pm: Meet back at the Tabernacle to look at drawings done so far.

3.30pm: Meet inside Mercato Metropolitano (see photograph below) to look at drawings done, and take group photographs.

We can stay here for coffee and chat after the sketchcrawl. 

Inside part of the Mercato Metropolitano

Options for drawing include:

E&C Shopping Centre
The Faraday Memorial
The old entrance to E&C underground station
The Metropolitan Tabernacle

Practical information: Elephant and  Castle underground station is on the Northern and Bakerloo lines, and the area is also served by a national rail station and many bus routes.
Cafes and toilets in the shopping centre and at Mercato Metropolitano.

The day is run by: Isabel Carmona and Lis Watkins


Sunday, 12 January 2020

We drew at Tate Modern - January 2020

Our first sketchcrawl of 2020 (Jo Dungey writes), and we met at Tate Modern on Bankside, on Saturday 11 January 2020.  It must have been one of our biggest meet-ups, as more than eighty people joined us for all or part of the day.  The photograph above shows us with our morning sketches, and below you can see the group at the end of the day, in the Tate Modern Turbine Hall, next to the smaller of Kara Walker's sculptures.
Currently installed in the Turbine Hall is Kara Walker's major sculpture, Fons Americanus, and that was a popular choice of subject for sketchers.  Others chose views of the building, visitors, and artworks.  Views of the surrounding area from the gallery windows were also sketched, and quite a few people drew outside, despite the mid-winter weather.
Visit the Urban Sketchers London Facebook page to see more sketches and photographs.  The day was run by Jo Dungey and Gafung Wong, and the photographs are by Jo and Gafung.  

Our next meet-up is on Saturday 15 February 2020, when we will have an opportunity to draw at the Wallace Collection and nearby St James RC Church - details are on this blog, here.


Friday, 20 December 2019

An Urban Sketchers year in review - We drew London in 2019

Best wishes from Urban Sketchers London 
for a celebratory end of the year!

The skating rink at the Natural History Museum by James Hobbs    December 2019
With many thanks to Jo Dungey and Lis Watkins for leading us through another outstanding year.

Didn't we do well in 2019?

Thank you organisers one and all for making it happen

January 2019 Barbican Centre
Organisers Cathryn Worrell and Gafung Wong

February 2019 RAF Museum in Hendon
Organisers John Webb and Philip Stones

March 2019 Spitalfields
Organisers Nicky Browne and Helen Hayhoe

April 2019 Croydon
Organisers Lis Watkins and Jo Dungey

May 2019 Dulwich Village
Organisers Jo Dungey and Rachel Bone

June 2019 Richmond
Organisers Helen Hayhoe and John Swanson

A summer evening 19 June 2019  Southbank Centre
Organisers Jo Dungey and Zane Karklina

July 2019 Regent's Park
Organisers Steven Baker and Elwyn Edwards

A summer evening 'drink and draw' 12 July 2019 Royal Festival Hall
Organiser Lis Watkins

A summer evening 17 July 2019 Victoria Embankment Gardens
Organisers John Webb and Gafung Wong

August 2019 Greenwich and Island Gardens
Organisers Olga Mackness and Mike Whalley

A summer evening 7 August 2019 Tower Bridge
Organisers Lis Watkins and Jo Dungey

September 2019 Trinity Buoy Wharf
Organisers Jo Dungey and Gafung Wong
October 2019 City of London
Organisers Olga Mackness and Katy Evans

November 2019 British Library
Organisers Lis Watkins and Sangeeta Bhagawati

December 2019 Natural History Museum
Organisers Nicky Browne and Elizabeth Blunt

Best wishes from Urban Sketchers London

Let's Draw London in 2020!


Monday, 16 December 2019

Let's draw the Wallace Collection - Saturday 15 February 2020

We visit the Wallace Collection, a free public art collection in Manchester Square north of Oxford Street.  The building, Hertford House, provides the focal point of this eighteenth century garden square. Each room in this eclectic museum is distinctively different. It houses treasures that include arms and armour, furniture, glassware and ceramics. Other interesting buildings in the area include St James RC Church, and the Chiltern Firehouse. 

The day is free of charge, no need to book, just turn up with your art kit.  

The Wallace Collection ask that drawing should be done with the following dry materials only: pencils, coloured pencils and graphite sticks.

Wallace Collection (exterior) at the head of the post, by Sasala Wickramasinghe, and Wallace Collection (interior) above, by Nicky Browne.

Key times and meeting points for the day:

11 am: Meet inside the Wallace Collection building in Porphyry Court on the lower ground floor.  Please ensure your art kit does not include sharp tools such as scissors or craft knives.  Allow time to check in bulky coats and bags in the cloakroom. 

A floorplan of the Wallace Collection can be downloaded from their website.

1 pm: Meet again at the Porphyry Court to look at drawings done so far.

3.30 pm: Meet again at the Porphyry Court.  We will look at drawings done, and take group photographs either there or nearby, depending how crowded it is.

Options for drawing:

The Wallace Collection is housed in Hertford House in Manchester Square W1. It was built as a family house for the Marquesses of Hertford. The last owner bequeathed it on condition that the collection would stay intact; no items in the collection could be sold or loaned.

It is a large collection of decorative arts, old masters, arms and armour collected in 30 galleries. The fall of the French monarchy enabled the family to buy many significant treasures of many sorts including porcelain. There are several well known works of art in the collection: Franz Hals' Laughing Cavalier is one surprise. Another is Fragonard's Girl on a Swing.

The State Rooms have been restored to their near original décor. The open courtyard is now a roofed coffee bar and restaurant, called Cafe Bagatelle after one of the Marquises’ Chateau Bagatelle (shown above, sketch by Sasala Wickramasinghe).

There is a free tour of highlights of the collection at 2.30 pm.

Immediately behind the Wallace Collection, in Spanish Place, is the Neo-Gothic St James RC Church (photograph above). Designed by Edward Goldie, completed in 1890, we are welcome to draw the complex and stunning interior.

Weather permitting, nearby Chiltern Street has the extraordinary Manchester Square Fire Station designed by Robert Pearsall and completed in 1889 (photograph above, drawing below, by Nicky Browne).  Known now as The Chiltern Firehouse, it is a luxury hotel and restaurant. As there is a waiting list for the waiting list, don't expect to pop in for lunch.  The Chiltern Firehouse is too closely furnished and busy to be an interior drawing option, but the outside is stunning.

Practical information:

The Wallace Collection is at Hertford House, Manchester Square, London W1U 3BN.  It is a national museum with free admission to the permanent collection.  The opening hours are 10 am to 5 pm.   There is a cloakroom, café, toilets and a shop.  The Wallace Collection website is informative.  Manchester Square is located near Oxford Street and the nearest station is Bond Street. Also close are Marble Arch or Baker Street.

There are several cafes, interesting pubs and independent shops nearby.  It is also close to the busy local shopping street: Marylebone High Street.

This day is run by Nicky Browne and Sasala Wickramasinghe, sketches and photographs are also by them.