Wednesday 7 August 2013


all-hallows-by-the-tower London’s skyline changes every time I come back. The City now has at least two skyscrapers that were not there last year, dwarfing other prominent 21st century additions like the Gherkin. It is an ever-changing city and it always has been. Above is one building that, while subject to many modifications and rebuildings over the centuries, has pretty much the entire span of London history within its foundations. All-Hallows-By-The-Tower, a small and often overlooked church which sits right next to the Tower of London (which is rather handy given its name), is said to be the oldest church in London, founded in 675, though its main building and spire date from the 1650s (it survived the Great Fire, though it was greatly rebuilt after it being damaged in the Blitz). In the background, one of London’s newest towers is being constructed in the background. The 'Walkie-Talkie' I think it is called. I like to think there will be a time in the future when kids are trying to figure out the reason for its name and not being able to figure out what a walkie-talkie is supposed to be, just as people do now with such places like Pall Mall and St.Andrew-by-the-Wardrobe. I popped inside for a look around, to learn a bit more about its history. There is an actual Saxon-era arch still standing, and if you go below to the crypt museum you can see some original Roman tiled paving – this church was built on the site of a building from the days of Londinium. On my open-top bus tours years ago I used to tell Americans the two things I knew about this church: Pennsylvania founder William Penn was baptised here,and John Quincy Adams was married here, you know, President number 6. It was nice to finally come and spend some time looking at it and learning about it. Oh, and here is the Tower itself, sketched immediately afterwards among a throng of passing tourists. No introduction necessary. Tower of London

Tuesday 6 August 2013

Tate to Tate Sketchcrawl - August 16th

I recently traveled on the "Tate-to-Tate" Thames clipper boat, and it occurred to me that walking this route would make a good sketching trip.
I've been wanting to do some central London Thameside sketching for a while now, and it seems a good opportunity while the weather is still summery.
So, with the success of Pete's midweek sketchcrawl recently, I thought we could try a Friday afternoon, for a couple of hours sketching. Apologies to those of you at work, we will do another weekend one soon.
To those of you who can make it, I look forward to seeing you!

Date: Friday August 16th 2013.
Time: 3pm
Start location: Tate Modern, at the base of the Millenium bridge
End location: Tate Britain
Finish time around 6.30pm


Monday 5 August 2013

Wapping from across the river

 Last month I took a walk along the Rotherhithe shore of the Thames, at the lowest tide of the year. Mostly I took photographs (some of which are on my Facebook page), but I did do one drawing that I like. I couldn't resist drawing my favourite pub on the opposite shore. Even though it was the lowest tide, the Town of Ramsgate remains out of reach.

Wapping Old Steps from Rotherhithe. Ink, charcoal pencil and crayon on paper, 29x40cm