Gallery at 12 in Eccleshall is a firm supporter of the work done by Shape Arts . Each December the Gallery holds a charity day to fund raise for them and this year it tied in with ‘RED’, their winter-themed exhibition by all the co-operative membership. I’d love to say the words ‘Beam me up Scottie!’ and be transported back to the Gallery for the day but in the meantime I got out my red oxide ink for some fresh sketches of Eccleshall and posted some new work to the Gallery from their long-distance guest member.
These are cropped images from four little original drawings of Eccleshall, all mounted ready to frame. I’ve also made sets of cards of these as handy stocking fillers.
You will always get a warm welcome in the Gallery and Eccleshall is such a picturesque place to visit – if you live in the area, why not head over.
If I don’t post again before Christmas, here’s wishing all my readers a very happy one and hope you get many peaceful sofa moments!
This is West Port in Lanark, my new Scottish home town which I’m enjoying getting to know as I draw and share my work online.
Since moving here last summer, I’ve drawn six Lanark streets, all of which had something to catch my eye. How timely that the Tolbooth Lanark is kindly hosting an exhibition of my drawings of these streets just as I’ve reached the milestone of 50 drawings.
It will be on from Mon 28th October to Sat 9th November where I will be showing these as well as Kirk Road in Dalserf and a few originals from York, where I grew up.
You have to keep your eyes on the road whilst driving along West Port but it’s one of the key ancient streets – or ports – in Lanark, steeped in history and legend if you scratch below the surface. The town became a Royal Burgh in 1140 so there was plenty going on before this date to be granted this noble status.
I haven’t had much time to update you on work in progress lately so let me skim over the last few streets which I’ve drawn here. They are on my website now where you can see them in more detail. Broomgate (not to be confused with Bloomgate), runs at a right angle to the High Street.
Broomgate is a street which holds a rich and varied history. To focus on no 38, its past use includes a school, a house for the headmaster of Lanark Grammar School (early 19C), a Poorhouse in the 19-20thC and possibly used as a Drill Hall in WW1.
This isn’t a history blog but I do like to record anything relevant for my archive blog drawingthedetail. If you have any knowledge of the past uses for any of these buildings I would love to hear from you.
Living history happens as I draw and I love it when I can record the people who belong to the street. Here on my Broomgate drawing you can see Ainsley from Nirvana Yoga (being followed by a passing rainbow as I drew) and Kym, who runs the Wallace Tea Rooms, spotted for a moment sitting outside with me this summer.
Heading back along the High Street and around the corner towards Wellgate you will discover another street full of traditional colourful Scottish rendered buildings. Gone are the Staffordshire bricks!
If you look closely at the bottom of the chimney stack you can see the initials DW and a date carved into the masonry – 1893.
Spot the smaller proportions/roof line of these older shops below.
As with all my drawings, I scan them at high resolution and have a small number of signed limited edition giclee prints available.
These will be available to buy/order during the exhibition at the Tolbooth or get in touch RonnieCruwys@drawingthestreet.co.uk. More information is available on my website Drawing the Street
Next post I will tell you about my sketches of Lanark that I have drawn just for the exhibition – all being framed at the moment but here is the first one…
My sincere thanks for reading and an extra big thank you to those who have been with me over the last few years!
Back to Eccleshall for the sixth street in the ongoing series. When I began Drawing the Street, it was with the intention of adding morsels of history to the buildings which I draw. These are personal histories or facts that I record on my archive blog Drawing the Detail which is accessible for anyone researching their ancestors or simply wanting to know a little more of who lived where, what they did or made and so on.
Whilst I was working on this drawing, I noticed on ‘Eccleshall Today‘ that someone had posted about a recent visit to Shrewsbury Prison where he had seen a notice about an execution of an Eccleshall man, William Griffiths, back in July 1923. It appears that William and his mother, Catherine Hughes, lived somewhere on this steet, probably in one of the buildings to the left and given today’s understanding of events, would have probably been sentenced to manslaughter rather than murder. If anyone has any recollections from family or friends about this, I would be interested to hear from you.
Back to the drawing! I always mix up a range of red and yellow ochres and get started with the brickwork once the pen and ink underdrawing is done. I work in thin washes building up the colour so I can get subtle variety in the brickwork.
I will close on a small finished section of the drawing featuring No 8, Stafford Street. This is now home to Bowcock and Pursaill, solicitors. I smiled when I looked at the 1871 census as I thought it was appropriate that a launderess named Rebecca Bradbury, once lived here. I am sure she spent her life seeing it all come out in the wash.
I did a double take when I walked past York Street, Leek this summer. The most ordinary row of terraced houses transformed by the green-fingered, creative occupants into a shared garden enjoyed by inhabitants and passers-by alike. What a generous attitude!
It’s been a while since I’ve drawn a residential street, the last one was Well Street in Newcastle-under-Lyme. Looking back, I seem to be getting a bit more colourful!
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).
A few months ago, I met up with a couple enjoying a quiet drink outside Merckx Bar on the High Street in Eccleshall. I had just dropped off some prints of Eccleshall High Street into Gallery at 12 and was taking a few photos for the second drawing of the High Street, so I could add some real people to the benches outside Mercks.
From this enjoyable but momentary meeting, I was asked if I might draw the Old Vicarage. I hadn’t seen this building before, but possibly because it was hidden away behind a very tall hedge, with only a glimpse through the gate.
The hedge has since been thinned out so that this handsome, Staffordshire red brick building with rusticated brick quoins, is a little more visible from Church Street. It was built in the Queen Anne style and is listed grade 2.
It’s good to look at buildings from a different angle. It has made a pleasant change to draw the Old Vicarage as a one-off perspective, and I’m pleased to have recorded another of Eccleshall’s listed buildings.
The drawing of 1-35 High Street is also finished, here’s part of it. Limited edition signed giclee prints are on sale at Gallery at 12, the Arcade, High Street, Eccleshall.
It has been quite a month. Apart from finishing off a few more drawings in between a few fun family events, quite a lot has been happening.
First of all, a big thank you to Paul at the Stone and Eccleshall Gazette who found my work on the web and then gave me a fab introduction to Eccleshall with his generous write up. This has been so timely and I really appreciate this vote of confidence. It was published just as I had placed the first framed print of Eccleshall High Street on the wall of Gallery at 12.
Just before this happened, my Instagram site (@ronniecruwys) took off. I have been posting work-in-progress photos for the last 9 months and have been using hashtags to connect with other artists interested in the same subjects, for instance #Eccleshall or #Drawing #Architecture. It has been great to connect with people all over the world and share stages of my work in progress. One drawing (of Audlem) got reposted on to another site and within 2 days had over 30,000 likes. Crikey. Meanwhile, Stone Road Eccleshall is getting a respectable response too.
I would also like to give a big vote of thanks to my new Instagram buddies @carolineiam @daveh500 @eddequincey for pointing me in the direction of Gallery at 12, where I have since become a member, and for giving me such enthusiastic support!
What’s more, I actually met @carolineiam last night in Eccleshall, in one of those wonderful moments of serendipity!
Starting with the grade 2 listed building home to Wyn’s and the old Sweet Shoppe:
No 2, on the corner is early C19.
Next along is the Arcade, home of Eccleshall’s artists’ co-operative, Gallery at 12 and the lovley coffee shop The Artisan.
British Listed Buildings Online is a great resource for the history of our streets. The building to the right of London House is listed grade 2, early C19. London House is also listed grade 2, and probably late C17 or early C18.
I do plan to continue with drawings of Eccleshall so please follow this blog if you would like to be kept up to date – or over on Instagram. Thanks for reading.
I have been drawn back to the Great North Road, this time up in York. The Roman road from London can be traced closely beneath the present day A64, entering York just a little north of Blossom Street and Micklegate and neatly illustrated on the British History Online website (scroll down on the link site for the map).
I mentioned in an earlier post that I went to school in York and Micklegate was my cycle route into town. Of course, much has changed and I see that the first building on the street is now occupied by Bike Shed, hopefully ready to greet the forthcoming Tour de Yorkshire. Brilliant! I will be there in the crowds again this year.
Micklegate is a long street and this drawing is only about a third of one side but I have discovered that there are seven Grade I, 26 Grade II* and 117 Grade II listed buildings in Micklegate alone!
Having made a great journey north himself, my father would often speak of the ancient roads in and around the city and how in the past, convicts would have been taken from York Castle prison along Micklegate, then Blossom Street and out along what is now the A64 to Tyburn, on the Knavesmire. Dad had been given a very old book ‘the Criminal Chronology of York Castle‘ which is a register of all those unfortunate souls executed at Tyburn since 1379 with many awful insights into life and death within the city. Dad passed the book on to me and it’s a sobering read.
Events don’t seem so long ago when I think that most of these buildings would have been extant on ‘Saturday 6th March 1761, when Ann Richmond, a fine young girl, was executed at Tyburn Without Micklegate Bar, for setting fire to a stack and barn belonging to her mistress’. The buildings on Micklegate would have been some of the last that she saw.
I got lost in thought whilst drawing Micklegate. I kept thinking of my parents, John and Mary Sharp (nee O’Donoghue), who lived in York for over 50 years and I took the liberty of drawing them in, looking into Brigantes window – which incidentally is the name of a Celtic Romano tribe – apt for my English dad and Irish mum. Our much loved old Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Arran is included, no shadows of course!
Micklegate holds many names which have gone – the Blake Head is one that I really do miss when I visit York. I don’t like seeing buildings unused so it is great to hear that this is now home to the BlueBird Bakery and the Rattle Owl. With great names like that, I hope they go a long way – best of luck to you!
I gather from the York Press that ‘Plans have also been submitted to the council to excavate the cellar of the property which is believed to be sitting on top of a Roman road, with hopes of incorporating it into the current building design and allowing it to be displayed.’ Exciting! Look forward to hearing more of this!
Micklegate House (c1752) below, was the former town house of the Bourchiers of Beningbrough.
The drawing stops at the point where it meets Barker Lane, hopefully to be continued. To see all the drawing scanned in full length, please visit www.drawingthestreet.co.uk
Limited edition prints will soon be available at Blossom Street Gallery and Framing. Please email me directly and I will happily reserve one for you. A small number will be available to buy from me directly.
Thanks to my Holloway twitter buddies, @RuthRobinsonLon, @TheHornseyRoad, @HollowayLife and in particular Mark Perronet @AtomGalleryN4, prints of some of my Holloway Road drawings are now up on display in the Atom Gallery, Stroud Green Road, London N4. It’s a five minute walk from Finsbury Park tube station.
The exhibition opens tonight and runs until 4th April 2015. I really wish I could be there but I am grounded with three pelvic fractures, a fractured drawing arm and a chipped elbow. All my own doing as I fell on our own doorsteps, in broad daylight and stone cold sober!
Good luck to everyone showing at the Atom Gallery and thanks Mark, for this wonderful opportunity.
Over the past year, I have been regularly posting sketches and work-in-progress photos on social media. It has been a bit of a slog understanding how it all works but it has gradually paid off as I get a real buzz when people who live or work in the buildings respond positively to my sketches and a conversation kicks off.
I was delighted when @TheHornseyRoad got in touch to ask if they could use my sketches of Bathurst Mansions on a blog post. Of course I said yes – I was intrigued to discover a little more about the building.
It turns out that on 2 Feb 1903, Bathurst Mansions was the birthplace of Hilton Edwards, who went on to direct Orson Welles in his first and last role on stage: ‘Few men of the present day theatre have sought so consistently to throw off the shackles of conventional drama as Hilton Edwards and Orson Welles have done’. There is more to read about this fascinating insight into the life of these buildings on The Hornsey Road blog post.
I draw these street scenes and sketch buildings because they mean something to me and I would miss them if they disappeared. Bathurst Mansions are quite a show stopper, standing proud on the corner of this busy crossroad. If you pause for a moment and look up, you will notice the care and skill that has gone into crafting the masonry, it really is a work of art.
Discovering insights into the life of buildings is one of the main reasons I draw streets – to record them as moments of living history; the drawings are brought to life with such nuggets of memory.Thank you @TheHornseyRoad.
Thanks for reading and keep in touch with me on Twitter @RonnieCruwys
PS Watch out for those Stokies playing Arsenal at the weekend, my husband and son will be there hopefully singing Delilahs and shouting ‘Go Stoke!’