Wednesday 31 January 2018

Let's Draw Leadenhall Market – Saturday 10 March 2018

In March we will spend a day drawing in and around Leadenhall Market in the City of London. The area offers contrasts between the Victorian market building and the modern financial district. It is also near historic churches and the garden of St Dunstan-in-the-East.

Leadenhall Market

Key times and meeting points for the day:
11am: Meet in the main entrance of Leadenhall Market on Gracechurch Street
1pm: Meet again in the Gracechurch Street entrance to look at drawings done in the morning.
3.30pm: Meet in the Gracechurch Street entrance to review the day’s drawings and take group photographs.
We could continue to meet and talk in a nearby pub, The Crosse Keys on Gracechurch Street.

Options for drawing

There is a great mix of old and new architecture in this area. Options for drawing include:
Leadenhall market: There has been a market here since the fourteenth century. The building we see today is a Victorian market building designed in 1881, by Sir Horace Jones, Architect and Surveyor of the city of London from 1864-1887, who also designed Billingsgate Fish Market, Smithfield Market and Tower Bridge. The covered market now has shops, bars and cafes although many will be closed on Saturdays.
As the main financial district, some of the modern buildings which now dominate the City of London skyline are in this area:
· the famous Lloyds of London building , known as the Inside-Out Building, architect Richard Rogers

30 St Mary Axe - The Gherkin

· 30 St Mary Axe -The Gherkin - designed by Norman Foster, is very short walk away

The Leadenhall Building - The Cheesegrater

· the Leadenhall Building - the Cheesegrater - also designed by Rogers, Stirk, Harbour and Partners
· 20 Fenchurch Street - the Walkie Talkie - architect Rafael Vinoly, looms over the area.
There are also others which are under construction in the area.
Amid the contemporary office buildings can be found some much older buildings including several churches which pre-date the Great Fire of London of 1666:
· St Andrew Undershaft, on St Mary Axe near the Gerkin, was constructed in 1532 but is under scaffolding at the moment
· St Helen’s Bishopsgate, shown in Olga’s watercolour, on Great St Helen’s off Bishopsgate, dates from the twelfth century, and is unusual in being designed with two parallel naves

St Ethelburga

· St Ethelburga, 78 Bishopsgate, was largely destroyed by IRA bombing in 1993; reconstructed, it reopened as a Centre for Reconciliation and Peace

St Katherine Cree

· St Katherine Cree, 86 Leadenhall Street, was built in 1628-30
· St Botolph without Bishopsgate is an eighteenth century church with a small garden.
Also, St Dunstan-in-the-East , (St Dunstan Hill, EC3R 5DD) - Church and garden, hidden gem of the City of London, with a beautiful set of stone stairs and the grounds one of Sir Christopher Wren's churches. Damaged in 1941 the Church has been made into public gardens.
If the weather is wet, we will have an opportunity to draw inside the market, which is under cover. There is also a covered area at the base of the Leadenhall Building (the Cheesegrater), and there are many cafés around Monument and the southern end of Gracechurch Street to find shelter.


Leadenhall Market is one of the oldest market sites in the City of London. It has been a market since the 14th century. Popular with merchants for centuries, Leadenhall Market survived the Great Fire of London and many re-building works. The original façade of the market can be seen at the north west entrance. The current market building was created in the late nineteenth century.
Leadenhall Market is a popular filming location and can be seen in many movies including: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy; The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus; Hearafter; and Love Aaj Kal. Part of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (the first film in the blockbuster series) was filmed in Leadenhall in 2000/2001. The market was used to represent the area of London leading to the popular wizarding pub The Leaky Cauldron and magical shopping street Diagon Alley. The pop group Erasure also filmed their music video for Love to Hate You in the market in 1991.

Practical information

Leadenhall Market is roofed but not heated, so dress warmly. There is some seating in the market, but drawing elsewhere, it would be useful to have a portable stool. Leadenhall Market can be found in the heart of the City of London, at Gracechurch Street, London EC3V 1LT. Public areas of the market are generally open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, although the shop and restaurant opening times vary, with most in the immediate vicinity closed at weekends. There is more information on the Leadenhall Market official site:
Leadenhall Market is near several underground stations– Bank, Monument, Aldgate, and railway stations – Cannon Street, Fenchurch Street, Liverpool Street. Nearby bus routes are 25, 48, 35 and 40.
The suggested pub for meeting after the sketchcrawl is The Crosse Keys on Gracechurch Street:
This pub is also part of the City of London Community Toilet Scheme, which means members of the public have free access to their toilets whether or not they are a customer.
There are other cafes and pubs in the area, although some are closed at weekends. The best areas to find cafes are around the Monument or in and around Liverpool Street Station.

This day is run by Olga Mackness and Cathryn Worrell


Saturday 27 January 2018

Sketching the Wellcome Collection

[From Julie Bolus] I had a great time sketching at the Wellcome Collection museum last Saturday and catching up with Urban Sketching friends I hadn’t seen for a while. 

It was my first time to experience this fantastic collection of medical curios on display and especially in The Ayurvedic Man: Encounters with Indian Medicine exhibition. 

I was initially drawn to sketching and appreciating the aesthetics of a wide range of medical instruments like obstetrical forceps and amputation saws on display.


My favourite sketch of the day though was the one below of a human body with all its internal organs beautifully carved from wood. It reminded me of the game Operation I used to play as a child.


Wednesday 24 January 2018

Let’s draw at Tate Britain - Saturday 24 February 2018

Sketch by Lis Watkins

Join us in February at Tate Britain in Pimlico, the home of the national collection of British art from 1500 to the present day. Explore the collection, the building inside and out, and the surrounding area. Draw inspiration from artists who have represented London, including Turner, Sickert, Passmore, and French artists in exile. The day is free of charge, no need to book, just turn up with your art kit.

This sketch crawl replaces the proposed meet-up at Westfield Shopping Centre included in our published 2018 programme.

Key times and meeting points for the day:

11am: Meet at Tate Britain, just inside the Manton entrance (see photograph below). The Manton entrance is the modern entrance at the side of the building on Atterbury Street. (The entrance at the front of the building up the steps is the Millbank entrance.)

The Manton Entrance

1pm: Meet in the foyer inside the Manton entrance to look at drawings done so far.

3.30pm: Meet again in the foyer inside the Manton entrance to look at drawings done and take group photographs.

We could then go to Tate Britain’s Djanogly Café for chat and refreshments, or there are several pubs in the area.

Tate Britain is open from 10 am until 6pm.

Admission to Tate Britain’s permanent collection is free. Tickets or membership are required for temporary exhibitions. There are restrictions on art materials which can be used inside the galleries – more information below.

The front of the Tate Britain
Options for drawing include:
· The building interiors and exterior

Sculpture by Henry Moore
· The permanent collection of paintings, drawings, sculpture and installations, including works by artists who have portrayed London

J. M. W. Turner’s sketchbook

· The current temporary exhibition ‘Impressionists in London’ (ticket or membership required) which shows works painted in London, including many location views, by French artists in exile and escaping the Franco-Prussian war

Chelsea School of Art
· Next to Tate Britain, the Chelsea Art School
· Across the river, the famous MI6 building, and Vauxhall Bridge
· There are riverside walks on both sides of the River Thames and west of Vauxhall Bridge you can see extensive new development, including the new USA embassy – but ‘in an off neighbourhood’ according to Donald Trump!

The new USA embassy from the riverside walk


Tate Britain is the original Tate Gallery, opened in 1897. It now houses the British national collection of art from 1500 to the present day. The original building was designed by Sidney R. J. Smith, the Clore Gallery which houses the Turner Collection is by James Stirling, and there have been recent developments by architects Caruso St John.

Clore Gallery
Practical information

Admission to Tate Britain is free of charge for the building and permanent collection, with a ticket or membership needed for the ‘Impressionists in London’ exhibition.
The nearest underground station is Pimlico on the Victoria Line, and there are several nearby bus routes; more information is on the Tate website (link below).
Tate Britain has a café and restaurant, cloakroom, toilets, stools and a shop.
In the galleries, permitted art materials are: dry materials such as pencils, graphite sticks, fine-tipped pens, wax crayons, conte and charcoal pencils (must be wood or plastic encased), oil pastels encased in paper. Loose dry materials such as charcoal and soft pastels, and paints are not allowed.

The day is run by Lis Watkins and Homephoenix Wong


Tuesday 23 January 2018

We drew the Wellcome Collection - January 2018

There was a big turn out for our first sketchcrawl of 2018, which was at the Wellcome Collection on Euston Road.

It may have been cold and wet outside but inside there was plenty of energy among the group and a wide range of subjects to sketch, from the architecture to the often grisly medical exhibits.

Sketch by John Trotman

Sketch by James Hobbs

Sketchers making good use of the comfortable Reading Room

Lunchtime 'throwdown'

We met at lunchtime to share sketches and ended the day with a final sketchbook 'throwdown' and group photo, before gathering in the Wellcome Café for tea and more sketchbook sharing.

Sketchbook 'throwdown' at the end of the day


Monday 15 January 2018

Drawing Attention - New Year, new format

Drawing Attention - January 2018 issue

If you haven't yet spotted the January 2018 issue of Drawing Attention, the official monthly newsletter of Urban Sketchers global, have a look at the shiny new zine format. It's also available in pdf format.

Drawing Attention communicates and promotes official Urban Sketchers workshops, symposiums, sketchcrawls, news and events. You'll also find news about Urban Sketchers chapters around the world, and advice about the practice of on-location sketching.

Closer to home, the next Urban Sketchers London sketchcrawl is coming up this weekend, Saturday 20 January at the Wellcome Collection, a free museum and library 'exploring health, life and our place in the world'. One item of interest is the only mural Picasso made in England. By coincidence, it was ten years ago this week the mural was unveiled at the Wellcome Collection.

JD Bernal's biographer, Andrew Brown, made this copy of the Picasso mural. © the artist

Remember to consult the complete list of all forthcoming Urban Sketchers London sketchcrawls for 2018. And if you haven't stopped by the Urban Sketchers London accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Flickr lately, check out what everyone's been up to. It's going to be a great year for Urban Sketchers London -- we look forward to seeing you.