Thursday, 10 April 2014

The hidden river

Now that the weather's getting milder, it feels like time to get out of the studio and do some outdoor drawing. That's the impulse I felt yesterday. But where? Selecting a location to draw when you have so much choice is difficult. I ended up deciding to explore a bit of North London's history that I hadn't yet visited - the New River Path in Islington.

The New River, if you don't know it yet, is fascinating. A man-made river, opened 401 years ago to bring fresh water from Hertfordshire to the rapidly expanding city, it winds its course through north London  suburbs into the heart of Islington, from where it was piped into the city itself. Much of the river's course from Haringey inwards is now covered over and the river is piped below busy streets and housing estates. But there are stretches still running at the surface, and in Islington one such stretch has become a delightful local amenity, the New River Path. I had a pleasant afternoon sitting by the riverside, listening to ducks, answering schoolchildren's questions, and drawing...



  1. The pleasure of a warm spring day by the riverside is apparent in your drawings. Thank you for sharing these images. They may encourage others to spend some time outdoors enjoying spring with a sketchbook.

    Best wishes.

  2. Lovely sketches, very much appreciate your use of black, white and mid tone. It has inspired me!
    A friend of mine, artist David Wiseman, has done some paintings of Pitshanger River in North London, thought you might like to have a look, if so here is a link:

  3. The New River used to pass at the end of the road where I live (the New River Cafe survives with no sign of any water). The section that once ran down the backs of the houses was filled in to become allotments. It's interesting as well that part of the recent renovation of Clissold Park involved digging out an old section of the river that had been filled in.


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