Tuesday, 31 August 2021

Let's draw Pitzhanger Manor and Walpole Park in Ealing: Saturday 25 September 2021

Sketch by Zane Karklina

(Zane Karklina writes)

The general theme for this month is History. We chose Sir John Soane’s country home Pitzhanger Manor as the base for the day.


Sir John Soane was one of Britain’s most influential architects who, among other things, designed the Bank of England.

Pitzhanger Manor sits in the beautifully landscaped Walpole Park, and the area surrounding the manor is rich with Victorian revival architecture, which will provide many sketching opportunities.


Pitzhanger Manor is under 10 minutes’ walk from Ealing Broadway station, accessed by the Central or District Line. Buses 65, 207 and 607 also stop at Ealing Broadway.   


There are many cafes and restaurants on the surrounding streets as well as Ealing Broadway Shopping Centre. Public toilets can be found in the shopping centre, Walpole Park and Pitzhanger’s 2 cafes - Soane's Kitchen and Pitzhanger Pantry. 


In case of rain, cover can be found in the nearby cafes or the shopping centre. 

Food and drink are available from Pitzhanger's Pantry, a kiosk in Walpole Park open daily from 09.00 until dusk, and from Soanes' Kitchen, a spectacular cafe/restaurant space inside the original walled kitchen garden, normally open Wednesday to Sunday from 09am until 10pm. 

Entrance to Walpole Park is free. Tickets for Pitzhanger Manor are available for purchase on a timed-entry basis at £7.70/£4.95 (or £3.50 if you have a National Art Pass). Details are available on the Pitzhanger Manor website.

Plan for the day

11 am 

Meet at the entrance/in front of Pitzhanger Manor (see photo)


1 pm and 3 pm 

Throwdowns and photos will be on the stone benches located behind the Manor in Walpole Park.

In keeping with our theme of the day, here’s a brief history of Ealing in case it inspires sketchers to venture beyond the Manor and its grounds 

For centuries Ealing lay on the main road from London to Oxford, and travellers could change horses and refresh themselves in many inns along the way, what is now known as Uxbridge Road.

By the end of the nineteenth century, with improved travel in the form of trains, canal boats and horse buses, people could more easily access Central London for work but still live in what was still considered the countryside. Ealing was known as the Queen of the Suburbs!

In 1800 the architect Sir John Soane bought a property to escape from London’s smoke and smells, a space to entertain his guests, and showcase his architectural skills. In 2019, Pitzhanger manor opened its doors after three years of restoration to match Soane’s original design. Fortunately, parts of Soane’s garden were also preserved, now known as Walpole Park behind the Manor.

In 1852 Christ the Saviour Church was designed by Sir Gilbert Scott, inspired by 13th century Gothic style with its ragstone medieval tower. 

In 1888, Charles Jones, the council’s surveyor, designed the impressive Gothic Revival style town hall as a status symbol of the prosperous borough. It also housed a free library and three swimming baths. Jones’ career spanned over 50 years and he was responsible for much of Ealing’s Gothic revival style architecture. 

Opposite the Town Hall is Filmworks Cinema, with a preserved Art Deco facade of the historic Empire cinema that closed in 2008 and still hasn’t reopened. The building of the new Ealing Broadway shopping centre, opened in 1985, however, drastically altered part of the centre of Ealing. 

Ealing's claim to fame was also the film studios which produced the Ealing comedies of the 1950s, including The Lavender Hill Mob.

Ealing Studios opened its doors 1902, making it oldest continuously working studio facility for film production in the world. Over the years it has hosted countless iconic blockbusters and TV shows, comedies and documentary productions, including Dr Who, Monty Python,  Downton Abbey and Bridget Jones, to name a few. Starting life as film studios, they became famous for comedy films in 40s and 50s, then for over thirty years it became the home to BBC TV productions. In its heyday more than 50 film crews used Ealing Studios as their base.

The parish church - Church of St. Mary's - dates back to at least the early twelfth century. It is a 10 min walk down St. Mary’s Road. On the way you can glimpse the University of West London, the former Ealing art school, which celebrates some of its most famous alumni -- Freddie Mercury, Ronnie Wood and Alan Lee.


Thursday, 26 August 2021

We drew Stoke Newington reservoirs - 21 August 2021

Morning sketchers group under the Coal House Café canopy

[Isabel Carmona writes]

It is so good to be out sketching again with other sketchers, welcoming new participants and saying hello to older acquaintances.

I’ve been wanting to come to this oasis of greenery in North East London for a while and finally the day came, with London drizzle and even rain. That didn’t deter us, we found shelter under the canopy of the Coal House Café overlooking the East Reservoir. 

Morning throw down

There are two reservoirs -- the West Reservoir is a venue for water sports, the East is the home of the Woodberry Wetlands. The sketches of the day recorded both areas but most of us stayed overlooking the wetlands where we did the throw down.

A selection of sketches below

Sketch by Zita Kasp

Sketch by Jia You

Sketch by Adam Topor

Morning and afternoon sketches by Martin Stone

Sketch by James Hobbs

Sketch by Fei Yin

Sketch by Alison Gardiner

Sketch by Sufian Ahmed

Afternoon throw down

Afternoon group


Tuesday, 3 August 2021

Let's draw Stoke Newington reservoirs: Saturday 21 August 2021

James Hobbs, Woodberry Wetlands

[James Hobbs and Sasala Wickramasinghe write]

Let's draw Stoke Newington reservoirs: Saturday 21 August 2021

Our general theme for August 2021 is Urban Nature and we’ve chosen the Stoke Newington Reservoirs as our location for the day

For our August gathering we are meeting to draw at the reservoirs at Stoke Newington, a nature reserve and watersports venue within London’s Zone 2 and a short walk from Manor House tube station. The West Reservoir, which was the location of a recent edition of the Sky Landscape Artist of the Year (featuring our own Helen Hayhoe), is a venue for sailing, wild swimming and other water sports. The East Reservoir is the home of Woodberry Wetlands, opened by David Attenborough in 2016, and home to a diverse range of migratory birds. While the reservoirs are a haven for wildlife, it is in an unashamedly urban setting, with new developments along the reservoirs’ north banks, with cafes, pubs and shops close at hand. 

Manor House tube station is on the Piccadilly line, about 15 minutes from King’s Cross. Take Exit 2 from the tube station and walk down Woodberry Down, which is straight ahead. Turning right at Woodberry Grove, or earlier, will bring you to the reservoirs.

Plan for the day


Meet by the water sculpture (above) on the north bank between the two reservoirs. It is beneath the tallest towers close to Lordship Road. 

1pm and 3.30pm

Both throwdowns and the final photo will be by the stepped seating by the water sculpture.

There are cafes and toilets around the reservoirs. 

There are cafes and toilets at the watersports centre by the West Reservoir, and at the East Reservoir. 

The Naturalist pub (with an outdoor seating area) is behind the playground on the West Reservoir, and the Zer coffee and juice bar is up the footpath behind the water sculpture. There’s a supermarket and other shops under the towers on Woodberry Grove.

In the event of bad weather, there isn’t much in the way of shelter, although there is a large awning by the cafe at Woodberry Wetlands on the East Reservoir, with views across the water.

There is more about Woodberry Wetlands nature reserve at this link.