Thursday 4 October 2018

Let's draw the National Army Museum - Saturday 17 November 2018

Our venue this month is the National Army Museum, in Chelsea. Re-opened in 2017, this museum tells the history of the British Army since the times of the English Civil War down to modern times. It provides the opportunity to draw the building, the exhibits and the visitors.

If the weather is good you might also like to draw the Royal Chelsea Hospital, the spectacular retirement home for army veterans, designed by Sir Christopher Wren, right next door. The grounds are open to the public, although we won’t have access to the interiors.

There is no charge for the event, and no need to book, just turn up with your drawing gear.

Meeting points and times

We will meet in the museum at 11.00 am in the Atrium. This is to the right as you enter, down some stairs.
We will meet again at lunch at 1pm in the open area at the entrance, near the reception desk.
Finally, we will meet at 3.30, again in the Atrium.


Founded in 1960, the museum was re-opened in 2017 in a refurbished venue on Royal Hospital Road.

The museum tells the story of the army, from the English Civil War, right down to modern times. There are five permanent exhibition areas, plus another currently showing an exhibition about the SAS (but for which there is an entrance charge).

Maybe the skeleton of Napoleon’s horse, Marengo, captured at Waterloo, would be a challenge:

The Royal Chelsea Hospital occupies a 66-acre site, adjacent to the museum. Designed by Wren, with further work by Sir John Soane, the hospital is home for 300 retired servicemen – the Chelsea Pensioners.

Practical information

Entry to the army museum is free. Expect a bag search on entry. They have asked that no ‘messy’ materials be used for drawing, so please do not use anything that might spill, splash or crumble. Be aware also that you will be drawing among many visitors, so try not to cause an obstruction.

The museum is about 10 minutes’ walk from Sloane Square Underground (District and Circle lines). Alternatively, the 170 bus runs from Victoria, and stops outside the museum:

There are toilets and a café in the museum.

The museum’s website is here:

The day is run by John Swanson and Olga Mackness.  The photographs are by John Swanson.