Sunday, June 15, 2008

More sketching at Bankside

River Thames series:Bankside Shore #2
pencil and coloured pencils in sketchbook

copyright Katherine Tyrrell

Every time I go to the Bankside Gallery I look to see if the tide is out - and if it is, out comes the sketchbook. I've got a fixation about the view towards Blackfriars Bridge and the 'beach' at Bankside just in front of the Bankside Gallery. You can see another recent sketch in The shoreline at Bankside.

Above is a very rough sketch - done entirely while sat the other side of the railings and at the top of the steps down to the 'beach'. I'm wondering whether to have a go at doing a values based impressionistic drawing - hence the emphasis on values and lack of detail.

I seem to do so many of the Thames that I've decided - like Whistler - to have a Thames series!
(see Whistler Month: Thames Views and Whistler Month: The Thames Set, Etching Papers and watermarks)

I bought a book at the Bankside Gallery while I was there. It's all about the house at 49 Bankside which has the reconstructed Globe Theatre as its neighbour on its left (as you face it) and the Tate Modern as its very near neighbour on its right. The book is called The House by the Thames by Gillian Tindall. Here's a synopsis of what it's about
Just across the River Thames from St Paul's Cathedral stands an old house. It is the last genuine survivor of what was once a long ribbon of elegant houses overlooking the water. Built in the days of Queen Anne, it stands in the footprint of a far older habitation. Once, on this spot, was the Cardinal's Cap, a timbered Tudor inn; its vaulted cellars are still there, beneath the bricks and plaster and panelling of later centuries.Over the course of almost 450 years the dwelling on this site has seen changes on the river and in the city on the opposite bank. From its windows, people have watched the ferrymen ferry Londoners to Shakespeare's Globe; they have gazed on the Great Fire, and seen goods from all corners of the world transported from the Pool below London Bridge. They have watched new bridges rise, and the ships change from sail to steam. They have also seen the countrified lanes of London's marshy south bank give way to a network of wharves, workshops and tenements - and then seen these, too, become dust and empty air. Rich with anecdote and colour, empathetic, scholarly and textured, The House by the Thames is social history at its most enjoyable. Gillian Tindall excels at description and at picking out the most fascinating details. Some of the people who have lived in the house have been skilled; some were prosperous traders in the coal and iron on which Britain's industrial revolution ran. Some were rich and flamboyant; one was an early film star. Others have been among London's numberless poor.
Random House / Chatto and Windus
  • Wikipedia - Bankside
  • British History online - Bankside (including reference to 49 Bankside)
  • Approximate walking times to Bankside:
    • From the London Eye – 30 minutes
    • From the Royal Festival Hall – 21 mins
    • From Waterloo station – 18 minutes
    • From Tower Bridge – 21 minutes
    • From St Paul’s Cathedral – 13 minutes
    • From Mansion House station – 15 mins
    • From Southwark Station – 10 minutes
    • From London Bridge – 3 minutes


  1. AnonymousJune 15, 2008

    What a fascinating book - I'll have to see if it's available state-side or through Amazon UK. I enjoy your blog very much. I live in California and can't visit England as often as I would like. Your sketches and commentary are a brlliant substitute until my next trip.
    Erin in Morro Bay, California

  2. Thank erin

    Now funnily enough I've actually visited Morro Bay. I spent a night there on my big road trip driving down Highway 1!


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