Monday, June 14, 2010

St Mary Axe: The Gherkin and St Andrew Undershaft

This is 'hot from my sketchbook' having been completed while I sat this morning on the stone steps of the old facade fronting the Lloyds Building (home of Lloyds of London - the insurers).

The Gherkin and St Andrew Undershaft from Lloyds
10" x 8". pen and sepia ink and coloured pencils
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

I was in the City to pick up the one drawing which remained after two of my drawings sold at my drawing group's exhibition at the Brokers Wine Bar which is a hop, skip and a jump away.

This is where I was sat at  Lloyds old home at 12 Leadenhall Street - looking northeast over to St Mary Axe (a street) and St Andrew Undershaft - the very old chuch bottom right located on the corner of St Mary Axe and Leadenhall Street.

I particularly liked the juxtaposition of the old and new and the changes in scale over time for important buildings (which you see everywhere in the City of London).  Plus I really loved the reflection of the clouds in the plate glass of the building on the left.

When they build on the site behind the hoardings in the foreground you won't be able to see this view any more..........

The Gherkin

30 St Mary Axe is known as The Gherkin due to its shape.  It's 180 metres tall and, currently, is the second tallest building in the City of London.  It was designed by Sir Norman Foster and is the first ecological tall building in London.  It opened in May 2004.

On the Norman Foster website there is a slideshow about the building

The Gherkin stands on the site of the former Baltic Exchange which was very badly damaged by a Provisional IRA bomb in 1992.  I well remember the streets around and about after the bombing.  Masses and masses of paper absolutely everywhere and lots and lots of broken windows in all the tall buildings nearby.  I was working not far away at the time and suddenly began to see the point of the 'clear desk' policy and putting your paperwork away at night.

St Andrew Undershaft

The church located on the corner of St Mary Axe, right opposite the Lloyds Building, is St Andrew Undershaft.   It is one of those very rare churches in the City of London.  It escaped damage by the Great Fire of London in 1666 and was also undamaged by the bombing during the London Blitz of 1940-41.  The first church on the site was built in 1147 and the present church was bult in 1532.  It was designated a Grade I listed building in 1950.  It was fully restored after the bomb attacjed in 1992 and 1993.

A couple of rather special people are associated with the church.
  • Hans Holbein the Younger (1497–1543) - King's Painter to King Henry VIII - was a parishioner of the church during the time he lived in London
  • John Stow author of the Survey of London was buried here in 1605.  His Survey was published in 1598 and documents the buildings, social condition and customs of London in the time of Queen Elizabeth I.  I've got some engravings of his survey and he's always been one of my heroes!
The John Stow monument in the parish church of St. Andrew Undershaft

Notes and Links:

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on the double sale, Katherine. Wonderful!

    How interesting to know you are sketching a view that won't exist in the future. That will have a few people scratching their heads :)


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