Friday, 9 December 2022

Let’s draw the V& A and South Kensington - Saturday 21 January 2023

Cast Court at the V&A
Sketch by Jimmy Lu 

[ Led by Jimmy Lu and Rachel Bone ]

For the first sketchcrawl of 2023 we will be drawing in South Kensington, home to the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) and several other cultural institutions.

This area is known for its high profile cultural institutions. In addition to the V&A, there's the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum, the French Institute -- especially its Grade II-listed Art Deco reading room (open from 1 PM onward) -- and the Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, better known as Brompton Oratory

There is no cost, just wrap up warm and bring your drawing gear.

The Cast Court - Room 46a
Photo by Cynthia Barlow Marrs 

Options for drawing


In the V&A we are spoiled for choice. Here are just a few of the many subjects suitable for sketching:

• The Cast Courts -- Monumental Antique, 
Gothic and Renaissance plaster reproductions of ornamental architectural details and figurative sculptures from around the world 

The main courtyard -- also known as the John Madejski Garden -- and the Sackler Courtyard

• The view over South Kensington from the Ceramics section on the top floor.

The dome of the Brompton Oratory from the top floor of the V&A
Sketch by Cynthia Barlow Marrs 

Please follow the V&A’s guidelines for sketching:

• “We encourage sketching and drawing of objects with graphite and coloured pencils or white chalks.

• Please do not use charcoal, crayons, coloured chalks, watercolours, spray paints, adhesives, fixatives and other wet materials, as they may be a risk to our collections and visitors.

• Please also note that scissors and sharps cannot be used.

• We want you to be comfortable when you sketch and draw. We offer stools in most galleries for those who would like them.

• Please remember to respect the objects, cases and plinths, and do not use them as drawing boards or make any marks on them.

• On the rare occasion that sketching is prohibited within an exhibition or specific parts of the museum, please respect those conditions of access.”


For those brave enough to sketch in the cold, there are plenty of outdoor options.

• Exhibition Road, one of the first “shared roads” in the country, in which the separation between vehicles and pedestrians is deliberately reduced

• The Queen’s Tower on the Imperial College campus.

Unfortunately, due to the current refurbishment of the Natural History Museum Gardens, the ice rink will be closed.

The John Madejski Garden at the V&A
Photo by Jimmy Lu

Key times and meeting points

11 AM

Meet in the main courtyard, also known as the John Madejski Garden (see photo above). In case of inclement weather, we will meet inside the Raphael Court (room 48a on the ground floor, where you will find the Raphael Cartoons, one of the greatest treasures of the Renaissance in the UK).

1 PM

Meet in the main courtyard to look at sketchbooks and take a lunchtime group photo. In case of inclement weather, we will meet inside the Raphael Court.

3.30 PM

Meet back at the same spot to look at the day’s work and take a group photo. In case of inclement weather, we will meet inside the Raphael Court.

If you would like to stay for a while and chat, we will then move to the V&A Café on the ground floor.

Practical information

The museum is located in Cromwell Road, SW7 2RL. The main entrance is in Cromwell Road, with another entrance in Exhibition Road.

Entrance to the permanent exhibitions of the V&A and the other museums is free of charge. All the museums have cafés and toilets, and there are more places to eat in the area close to South Kensington station.

The nearest Tube stations are South Kensington and Gloucester Road (District, Circle, and Piccadilly lines) just five (South Kensington) or seven (Gloucester Road) minutes' walk from the V&A. As South Kensington can be very crowded on weekends, it is worth remembering that Gloucester Road is a quieter station, and is situated very close to the museum.

For additional practical information please consult the V&A website, where you will find a map of the museum and a Q&A.

COVID-19 visit information

The V&A has posted the following COVID guidance:

If you or anyone you live with has COVID-19 symptoms, or if you have recently been in contact with someone who has COVID-19, we ask that you please postpone your visit to V&A South Kensington.

We have installed protective screens at shop and café points and are regularly cleaning all areas of the building throughout the day.

Urban Sketchers London remain alert to national guidance about COVID-19 and its variants. 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
  • Practice good hand hygiene.

Location map

See you at the V&A!

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