Monday, April 14, 2008

The shoreline at Bankside

Bankside shoreline
8" x 10", pencil and coloured pencils in Moleskine
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

This is a part plain air sketch of the shoreline on the south side of the River Thames at Bankside. the bridges you can see are the Blackfriars Railway Bridge and then Blackfriars Bridge carrying the road just beyond it.

This sketch is described as 'part plein air' as it started to drizzle shortly after I started - so it was finished at home. I think the colours might appear ever so slightly more exciting than reality! ;) There were no people in the picture when I started but they appeared as I drew so I popped them is as they give a great sense of scale.

Out of the picture and on the other river bank, next to the railway station was the site of the Norman fortress Baynard's Castle which stood in the southwest corner of the City of London, where the walls met the River Thames. It burned down in the Great Fire and the site is currently occupied by an awful lot of concrete. I used to have an office in a completely undistinguished concrete slab office blocks at Puddle Dock where I was based while working all over the UK in the nineties. Those bridges were the view out of my office window - so they're a very familiar sight for me.

Out of the picture and over to the left is the Bankside Gallery, home of the Royal Watercolor Society and the Royal Society of Painter Printmakers. I'd just come from my visit to the RWS Spring Show on its last day. You can read a post about the show on my other blog later today.

The River Thames was low yesterday, hence why the shoreline was exposed. Over on the other side of the River one can see the wood associated with the old wharves to the east of the Millenium Bridge up to Queenhithe.

The remains of old wharves on the north bank of the Thames
(Left) The view from Millenium Bridge - looking east
(Right) The entrance to Queenhithe
copyright Katherine Tyrrell
Queenhithe was originally presented by King Alfred the Great in 883 AD to his brother-in-law Ethelred, who in the same year was made the first Earldorman, or Alderman. It acquired its name after the dues and profits from the docks were dedicated to the wife of Henry I, Queen Matilda. The area probably began life as a Roman dock, but was known in Saxon times as Aedereshyd. Indeed, it contains the remains of some Roman baths. With the oldest and possibly the only extant Saxon harbour in the world, the area has always been known as a trade centre, used extensively until the 20th century by the corn and later the fur and tea trades.
Port Cities - London
Below is a present day bird's eye view of the location of Queenhithe and the wharves and this is a very old map if the area.

This is a new experiment using Google Maps - please let me know if you think it works or whether it makes the blog too slow to load.

View Larger Map



  1. The learning point from the inclusion of Google Maps is DON'T DO IT if you need to edit a post!!! The whole post just disappears into thin air if I go into the edit function. Weird.......

    This is the link for my review of the Royal Watercolour Society Spring Show at the Bankside Gallery

  2. Thames mud has never looked so good as this before! Love the colours.

  3. Thanks Dave. I could of course have gone for the "mix loads of colours and end up with mud anyway" approach - but that takes too long! ;)


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