Saturday, April 18, 2009

Just time for a cup of tea - and a sketch

Tea at The Wolseley
8" x 11", pencil in Daler Rowney sketchbook

copyright Katherine Tyrrell

Sorry for the long break. It feels quite weird to be out and about sketching again after having to spend so long (nearly 3 weeks) with my leg elevated. However - a new sketchbook was christened on Thursday!

After our visit to the Queens Gallery to see From Bruegel to Rubens - Masters of Flemish Painting we walked across Green Park and up to Piccadilly to visit the bookshops.

"He who must not be bored while I sketch" should know by now that when I say "must have a cup of tea" and drag him into a building that what I actually want is a cup of tea....and a sketch.

He passed on tea at the Ritz saying we wouldn't pass the dress code(!) so I took him next door to The Wolseley at 160 Piccadilly. This is a cafe-restuarant in what's known as the "Grand European tradition" and the building is Grade 2 listed. Each day it serves over 1,000 people between 7am and midnight.

Fortuitously we got a table right next to the entrance which gave me a great vantage point. So I ordered a pot of Earl Grey and armed HWMNBBWIS with a copy of the Financial Times and I sat down to sketch in the time it takes for him to read his paper and for me to drink two cups of tea. The best bit was listening to what the Maitre D had to say to the people who were arriving for tea. The worst bit was I kept losing my view as people lined up to be seated!

To me the room looked like a curious mix of ocean going liner from the 30s (walls, floor and metal work) crossed with Viennese cafe (cakestands) - although apparently I got the architectural influences all wrong. I gather it started off as a prestigious car showroom and then became a bank!
In 1921, Wolseley Motors Limited commissioned the architect, William Curtis Green, to design a prestigious car showroom in London’s West End. He drew on Venetian and Florentine influences and made the interior very atmospheric with its grand pillars, arches and stairways.
I think I'm going to have to go back and have another go at it's definitely an interior I'd like to sketch again.

I finished up by visiting the art section of Hatchards and spent far too much on art books again! New bookshelves need to reach the top of the 'to do' list!


  1. Congrats on getting up and around again for your favorite activity. You made me laugh with your "he who..." designation. It sounds like you all make good accommodation to each other's quirks!

    Lovely sketch--and I do so enjoy your blogs. Thanks for all the hard work you do to keep us all informed.

  2. Your Maitre D jumps right off the page, Katherine - so authentic. It sounds like a perfect afternoon. I'm sure I'm not the only one reading about it with envy.

    Delighted you are back on your feet and giving an economic boost to the bookshops.

  3. I know they'd go under without me Robyn - just got to do my bit! ;)

  4. So glad that you are back on your feet after such a long confinement (doesn't that sounds utterly Victorian?). And very glad you made sure you got your tea. You recreate a lovely atmosphere, and I agree with Robyn that the Maitre D jumps right off the page.


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