Fenton is one of the six towns of the Potteries, Stoke-on Trent. It’s the one that wasn’t included in the writing by Arnold Bennett. Many of you will know that Stoke is currently in the run up towards the bid for the City of Culture 2021 so I thought I could play a small part and share some of the architecture of the Sixth Town that may fall under the radar.
Driving along Victoria Road, Fenton last year, a row of dark red brick houses caught my eye and I pulled over to take a better look. It turns out that there’s quite a surprising tale of connections for me behind the history of these buildings but more on that next time.
So, fresh from the drawing board, some work in progress pictures of Victoria Road in the Hitchman Street Conservation area, Fenton.
This is a row of terraced houses built on a philanthropic model for pottery workers towards the end of the 19th century. There is a comprehensive write up about the history of the conservation area here.
Look closely at the gables and there are some wonderful terracotta tile patterns.
The thought that has gone into the design of the fronts is consistent, balanced and although intricate, it all adds up to a really attractive terrace.
Back to the drawing now and more about this next time.
It’s Christmas Eve so this will be a short one. Just wanted to say thanks for all the follows and comments this year and to wish you all the warmest wishes of the season.
Also, some of you sketching fans may be interested to learn about the Society of Architectural Illustration – full of great drawings by architectural illustrators all over the world. I have been working towards joining this society for some time and not long ago sent off a few examples of my work. I’m really pleased to have been elected a member and the Wedgwood Door, Burslem is now my profile avatar!
I will close with a section of St Edward Street, Leek, where last Saturday I had a coffee in Spout (served up in Blue Calico Burleighware – fantastic!) with a great view of the opposite side of this historic street – formerly known as Spout Street.
There’s many a fine building in Bonny Burslem but none with an entrance quite like the one into the Wedgwood Institute.
I recently finished the Wedgwood drawing which I began a few months ago. I picked up the pencil for this one having been influenced some time ago by a poster I bought of the entrance to the Natural History Museum, London, by Alfred Waterhouse.
I bought and framed this poster when I was an architecure student and it’s now on the wall of our son’s flat, an architectural student, thirty+ years later! I still love the drawing and this is what made me choose to spend some time on the Wedgwood entrance with its intricate tile and terracotta details.
I’ve used traditional pigments with gum arabic on some very heavy (600 gsm) hot pressed watercolour paper. I really like the combination of the warm French and English Ochres, against the bright green malachite and azurite. I’m also hooked on using the pigment called ‘Caput Mortuum‘ – it seems to end up on quite a few of my icons!
It has been a treat to pause and spend time on a small part of a street but it only makes me want to zoom in further and pick up on the terracotta work. This is quite a rich subject which I may explore in future having been sidetacked by some of the tiles in Newcastle under Lyme.
Not long ago I received an email from Mr Tom Renshaw who used to live at no 9 Stone Road Eccleshall. Tom had received a birthday card from his daughter which showed the cottages closer to the town centre which I drew a couple of years ago.
Tom gave some insights into the earlier life of some of the buildings – the wooden fronted building used to be a corn merchant, ‘F.Gardner’ and the building next to it a bakery, ‘where we would buy bread fresh from the oven and eat it without butter or anything else’.
When you reach 82, why not celebrate the whole year? It allows me time to wish you a very happy belated birthday Tom and to sign off with a close up of your former home.
The ink has just dried on The Square, the third drawing in the Audlem series. The Square is in fact more of a triangle which is formed around the T junction between the Nantwich Road (A529) and the A525 (Stafford and Shropshire St). This is the oldest part of the village and its heart. You can read more about the history of the village on Audlem Online
Looking back two years, the first drawing (seen below) stretched from the Post Office to the Methodist Church.
You can just see the southern side of ‘The Square’ in the middle.
A year later and Cheshire Street appeared. This shows the ribbon of buildings lining the side of the A529 from the edge of St James’s Church up to No 17.
Now I can share the latest drawing which although relatively short, contains the third side of the Square.
My thanks again to Judy of ‘Williams of Audlem’ who is stocking signed limited edition prints of the drawing. I’m only doing a very small print run of 20 from this drawing, available to order in one size 500mm x 200mm. Unframed prints are £54 each.
There are two framed prints in stock at Williams, one in matt black and the other in mahogany, for £125. If you are in Audlem for the festival over the Bank Holiday, call in and have a look – all prints can be seen together as a set. If you can’t get to Williams and would like to buy any of the Audlem series, drop me an email (RonnieCruwys@drawingthstreet.co.uk).
This is a flashback to a drawing I did last year following a wintery visit to the walled gardens at Keele. I was slowed down at the time by a few fractures but wanted to record the bothies as soon as I first saw them.
So here we have the finished drawing of 32 to 56 High Street, Eccleshall, complete with guest appearances by local residents. This has been great fun to include you all and I hope you can still recognise yourselves…
Greetings cards are now in stock at Gallery at 12 in Eccleshall of this latest drawing. Prints also available to order and you can see the drawing in full over on my website:Drawing the Street.