Thought I would share a few pics of the couple of days spent sketching another stretch of the Holloway Road. This time I brought along a length of cartridge paper which I had prepared at home with a wash of gum arabic and French and English Ochre pigments, to give the paper a bit of warmth.
Note the colourful tote bag by the French American artist Gwenn Seemel – I admire her outlook on copyright as well as her colourful artwork.
I’d packed half a dozen clothes pegs to clip the paper to a folder which seemed to work quite well. Even though it’s non-stop busy along this road, several people stopped to pass the time of day with me and thanks to Sean for taking this photo and sending it to me.
The drawing is now complete, scanned and can be seen in full on my website. Limited edition prints are now available to buy.
A few months ago, Coleen got in touch with some thoughts on living in Albermarle Mansions and kindly told me about the Islington and Finsbury website which maps all the local soldiers who went to war showing a poppy where they lived.
A brief record of each soldier summarises their life. It struck home when I realised that it was close to 100 years ago that one young soldier, Harold Ffoulkes, only 18 years of age, had lived in and set off from this building never to return.
Countless soldiers lost their lives, and indeed still do, but this one had caught my attention and I didn’t want his anniversary to pass unacknowledged. I couldn’t find a photo of him, nor much other than the following entry:
Private Harold Ffoulkes (3332)
7 Albemarle Mansions Holloway Road London
Served in B Company 19th Battalion the London Regiment, and died in France at the age of 18, on the 26th of July 1915 and is buried in Noeux-Les-mines Communal Cemetery, France, grave reference, I. A. 10.
26 July 1915
This Saturday will mark 100 years since Private Harold Ffoulkes died. It’s not much, but I will think of him and his young life and the family he left behind as he set off from this building, his home. May he rest in peace.
The last few days have been spent mostly on trains and buses and taxis – no bicycles other than the above. I have only caught a passing glimpse of the awful events that have happened in Paris, but am heartened by the response of seeing so many drawings and cartoons appear online with ‘Je Suis Charlie’.
Drawing has become so much part of my life that I would now feel quite lost without pen and paper and I think the best tribute we can make to the lives lost is to pick up our pens, so much mightier than any sword or gun for that matter, and write, draw and give thanks for their lives lived to the full.
So a couple of drawn days in my life – collecting my son on his return form Hong Kong – our first Christmas without him – shhh… he missed a good one!
All this sketching needs fuel – found at the pre-sketched Golden Croissant on the Holloway Road!
May the souls of the French artists rest in peace and thanks for reading.
Over the summer, I spent some time down in London, with our son. I was in the middle of Sketch Book Skool drawing frenzy, making the most of every moment I could to draw – even on the top of a London bus!
Once you start sketching, you can’t help but notice how much more you want to draw and it was during this time that I made the rash promise to myself that I would draw the Holloway Road.
After a few months preparation I have begun to work on the first of what I hope will be many more drawings, but thought you would like a flavour of what’s to come with some of my summer sketches.