Friday 3 September 2021

Drawing Attention September 2021

The official zine of the Urban Sketchers organisation

Drawing Attention September 2021

 Open in ISSU

Drawing Attention, the official quarterly zine of the Urban Sketchers organization, communicates and promotes official USk workshops, symposiums, sketchcrawls, news and events; shares news about USk chapters; and educates readers about the practice of on-location sketching.


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.