Friday, June 25, 2010

Sketching Antibes in the Courtauld

Sketch of "Antibes" 
by Claude Monet at the Courtauld Galley
11.5" x 8" in Large Moleskine Sketchbook, pencil and coloured pencils
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

In order to avoid the rush hour after my recent sketching trip to Robert Street and the Embankment, I finished the afternoon with a visit - with my sketchbook - to the Courtauld Gallery at Somerset House.

I really enjoy sketching paintings in galleries.  If you get the time right it can be a nice peaceful activity and the guards are generally very interested and supportive of your appreciation of the art they spend their working lives looking after.  The big bonus about using dry media (eg pencils and coloured pencils) is that I never present the galleries with a problem as I'm not going to make a mess or cause a problem.

Sketching and painting in the Gallery

You may use these materials in The Courtauld Gallery:
Fine-tipped pens; all pencils; wood or plastic encased pastels/charcoal or crayons.

These materials are not permitted in th Gallery:
Paint or other wet materials; charcoal; permanent markers; fixative spray; oil pastels not encased in wood or plastic.
Courtauld Gallery: Visitor Information - Photographing and Painting
My sketch is of a very famous painting of a tree at Antibes in the south of France.  It's one of my favourite paintings and I used to have a postcard of it on the wall of my college room in Cambridge.  Antibes was painted by Monet in 1888 and the Courtauld acquired it in 1948. 

It's really nice to be able to sketch it from "life" as it were!

Cortauld Gallery - Tips
  • There is very precise guidance as to what art materials you can bring into the gallery and use (see above)
  • The Courtauld Gallery does have sketching stools available if you ask which means you don't need to take your own.
  • You can also take photographs of the paintings in the Gallery   although you can't use a tripod or flash and you are not permitted to video
  • If you belong to the Art Fund, entrance is free.
  • Further details for visitors


  1. A very clever and satisifying sketch, Katherine. Apart from it being a great capture of the painting, I love the frame, the shadow and that beautiful chair sitting so firmly on the floor. Brava.

  2. Actually I ran out of space to get all the legs of the chair in! :) Mind you I like the crop so that's OK

    The interesting thing when sketching paintings is to get the shadows on and of the frame right - I find it makes all the difference.

  3. What a lovely sketch. I honestly think that the legs of the chair being cropped that way lends more focus to the actual painting! Beautiful.

  4. I'm sure Mr. Monet would enjoy seeing you sketching his work. Great job!


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