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

This day will be focused on two locations: Charterhouse Square and neighbouring Clerkenwell. In Charterhouse Square is the Charterhouse, an ancient former monastery and chapel, which has very recently been partly opened to the public, with a new museum. Clerkenwell is an interesting neighbourhood, with a mix of old and new buildings and a concentration of design professions. We will visit the St John’s Gate and museum, including its beautiful Cloister Garden.

This replaces the visit to the Inns of Court originally proposed.

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


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