Saturday 4 February 2017

Let’s draw the Horniman Museum and Gardens - Saturday 25 March 2017

Horniman Museum
Nick Richards

Join us at the Horniman Museum in Forest Hill, South London, which has a wealth of subjects for sketching: the impressive and varied buildings, the museum’s eclectic collections, and all set in 16 acres of gardens.

Key meeting points for the day:
11am: meet inside the main building entrance, near the Navajo sandpainting.
1 pm: meet to share sketchbooks and experiences outside in front of the Conservatory (or if weather is bad, inside the main museum building at the lower ground floor level Gallery Square).
3.30 pm: finish in the same location outside the Conservatory to share sketchbooks and take group photos (inside in Gallery Square if weather is bad).
Horniman Museum
Nick Richards

The Horniman Museum was established by Frederick Horniman, a wealthy Victorian tea trader, traveller and collector. The main building, which was opened to the public in 1901, is an Arts and Crafts Movement building by architect Charles Harrison Townsend, who also designed the Whitechapel Gallery and the Bishopsgate Institute.
The Museum has free admission, although there is a charge for the aquarium (£4 for adults) and some temporary exhibitions. The museum is open from 10.30am to 5.30pm, although the café opens at 9.30 am.

The Walrus
Nick Richards
The Horniman offers lots to draw, both indoors and outside:
* As well as the historic main building with it’s modern extension, there is a modern eco building housing the library, and an ornate conservatory
* The museum’s collections include musical instruments from all over the world, a big natural history collection, and an aquarium
* There are 16 acres of gardens, including a formal sunken garden, a bandstand, unusual trees, and a sundial collection
* There are panoramic views over London from the gardens
* An animal walk (open 12.30 to 4pm) has alpacas, goats, sheep, guinea pigs, rabbits and chickens
* The Horniman hosts a farmers’ market on Saturday mornings, near the bandstand.
Nick Richards

The museum has a café which can get quite crowded. There are other cafes and food shops in the area between the museum and Forest Hill station. It has a shop, a cloakroom and toilets.

Inside the museum there are the usual restrictions on using wet media such as watercolour. They don’t have stools to borrow, so you may want to bring one.

How to get there: the nearest station is Forest Hill, which is on the Overground, and on national rail lines from London Victoria and London Bridge. Further information is available on the Horniman website:

This day is run by Nick Richards with Jo Dungey


Tuesday 31 January 2017


When Tate Modern opened in 2000, the first artist to display work in the gallery’s vast Turbine Hall was Louise Bourgeois (1911-2010). Work on show included Maman (1999), the largest of her spider sculptures.

The spider has become one of Louise Bourgeois’ most well-known themes. Her parents ran a workshop for tapestry restoration. The title Maman alludes to the strength of her mother, with metaphors of spinning, weaving, nurture and protection.

Urban Sketchers London returned to Tate Modern for our sketchcrawl on Saturday 21 January 2017. Here are some of us in the Turbine Hall, looking at the sketches done that afternoon.

Photo: James Hobbs

Although the largest spider sculpture Tate owns, Maman, is not currently on display, the new Tate Switchhouse has an Artist’s Room devoted to Louise Bourgeois. This includes two other spider sculptures on display, which some of us drew:

Lis Watkins

Jo Dungey
Spider 1 (1994)

Marie Desy-Field
Spider 1995


Monday 30 January 2017

Covent Garden

[By John Webb.] I missed the Sketch Crawl before Christmas in Covent Garden however we went to the Ballet a couple of days earlier and fortunately in sufficient time to pop a sketch into the book.  Really need a bigger page and smaller paint box.  The Royal Opera House is going through another makeover - which is good; can't stand still - in fact there have been 3 theatres there since 1732.  The first 2 burnt down, a common hazard in the days of candles and gaslight. The current one dates from 1858 with the most recent 1996/99 major additions making it a fantastic experience...the auditorium retaining its historic wow factor.