Tuesday, 19 October 2021

Let's draw the Design Museum: Saturday 20 November 2021

Drawing by Mike Whalley

In November we draw the Design Museum, off Kensington High Street.

'The world's leading museum devoted to contemporary design in every form.'

[By Jimmy Lu and Helen Hayhoe]

The Design Museum holds permanent and temporary exhibitions and events on various aspects of design and is hosted in a recently renovated Grade II* listed building.Visitors can also sketch nearby Holland Park, which has gardens in different styles, as well as the elegant façades of Kensington High Street.

The day is free of charge, no need to book, just turn up with your art kit.

Sketch in Holland Park by James Hobbs

Key times and meeting points

11 AM
Meet at the paved area outside of the main entrance of the Design Museum. The area has outdoor seating and is surrounded by attractive landscaping. The Museum entrance has a canopy that can provide shelter in case of rain.

The Design Museum café is not currently open (this could change), but there is a café in Holland Park, or you could stock up on coffee and sandwiches in the area around High Street Kensington underground station.

1 PM
Meet again at the paved area outside of the Museum entrance to look at drawings and take photographs.

3.30 PM
Meet again outside the Museum entrance to look at drawings and take final group photographs.

We could then go to the Britannia pub a little way down Allen Street, on the opposite side of Kensington High Street, third road on the right. It's also a good drawing venue, with wood-panelled walls, leather armchairs and real ale.

Options for drawing

The Design Museum is at 224-238 Kensington High Street – see map below.

Source: ArchDaily

The Museum is a Grade II* listed building and a landmark building from the 1960s previously housing the Commonwealth Institute. It had stood vacant for over a decade, before the site was redeveloped by OMA (Office for Metropolitan Architecture), and the building interior by John Pawson. It displays contemporary design and innovation. There is a permanent free exhibition, Designer Maker User, and tickets for a new exhibition, Waste: What Can Design Do? can be booked online

Nearby Holland Park is set back from Kensington High Street, along a path beside the Design Museum. The park surrounds a Jacobean mansion, Holland House, named after its second owner, the Earl of Holland, whose wife was the first person in England to successfully grow dahlias. The large park has playing fields, woods and the Kyoto Japanese garden with a waterfall and Koi carp. There are also formal gardens, wandering peacocks, a small café, and toilets. 

Kensington High Street itself has many interesting buildings. The most fascinating drawing opportunities are the buildings in the squares and streets off the high street. 

Photo by Jimmy Lu

Practical information

COVID-19 visit information

Since COVID-19 and its variants remain even though restrictions have been lifted, it's sensible to take all necessary precautions to keep ourselves and fellow sketchers safe throughout the event. The risk of infection for outdoor events is low, but basic guidance still applies: please do not attend if you feel unwell, wear a face covering when you're close to others, give people space, and practice good hand hygiene. There is also the option of self-testing before the event. 

No  advance booking is needed to see the free exhibitions. Inside the Museum visitors are encouraged to wear a face mask and keep social distance. 

The Museum café is temporarily closed. All COVID-19 information can be found on the Museum website.

Getting there

The nearest Tube station is High Street Kensington Station on the District and Circle Line. Leaving the station, turn left on Kensington High Street. The Design Museum is further along on the other side of the road (just past the Cass Art shop). 

Other stations within a 15-minutes’ walk include Kensington Olympia (Overground and Southern), Earl’s Court (District and Piccadilly) and Holland Park (Central). There are also many bus routes running along Kensington High Street. Cycle parking is available in front of the Museum. 

The Design Museum is free to enter with no pre-booking for permanent exhibitions. There is however a charge for temporary exhibitions (pre-booking required). There are toilets inside the Design Museum and in Holland Park. All areas of the Museum are accessible by lift. 

The Museum café is closed, but Kensington High Street has many cafés and sandwich shops. 

See you at the Design Museum!

The day is run by Jimmy Lu and Helen Hayhoe.

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Location map


Thursday, 7 October 2021

We drew Pitzhanger Manor - 25 September 2021

(Zane Karklina and Sasala Wickramasinghe write)

Morning sketchers group on the stone benches behind the manor

We're still going strong with the live sketchwalks: third one since pandemic restrictions lifted.

Despite some dreary weather earlier in the morning, we had another great turnout of over 40 sketchers throughout the day.

Again, we welcomed quite a few new sketchers as well as our regulars.

Most of us stayed within Pitzhanger Manor and Walpole Park, and captured the impressive Victorian revival architecture and the grounds from many different angles. 

Sketch by Zane Karklina

Sketch by Patricia Burbridge

Pitzhanger kitchen gardens sketched by Puja 

A few sketchers also captured the exhibits by the New British Sculpture artist Julian Opie:

Sketch by Sarah Minty

Sketch by Helen Hayhoe

And some of us ventured out to draw other places of interest on Ealing Broadway:

Ealing Town Hall by Cynthia Barlow Marrs

The Welsh Presbyterian Church on Ealing Green, by Martin Stone

Everyone gathered for a final group photo on the grounds with Pitzhanger Manor as the backdrop:

Afternoon group behind the Manor

Another successful Urban Sketchers London meeting was rounded off with a drink at the BrewDog pub on Ealing Broadway; and even the sun came out! 

Drink and chat at the Brewdog, sketched by Adam Topor

Our next meeting will be held on Saturday the 16th of October in Woolwich. The theme for October will be Regeneration -- please see the blogpost for more details.

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