Tag Archives: pen and ink drawing

Post Me a Letter

Post Office, Front Street, Acomb

I’ve been making my way through a long list of unfinished jobs – gradually bringing things I’ve started to completion. A theme in my drawings caught my attention as I noticed several post offices and letter boxes feature in the streetscapes. I like to include some of the street furniture – bus stops, telephone boxes etc to bring some context.

My most recent street drawings of Acomb, York are now up on my website. I started a set of four drawings back in February 2020 and it has taken 18 months to get them scanned. I return to my former workplace to do this – it gives me the chance to see my old workmates at HHA in Stafford (see later on in this post) . I will write more about the Acomb drawings in another post but wanted to take a moment to look at post offices on my streetscapes.

Lets scroll back through my work …. here we are in Lanark, 2019 on West Port. The Post Office is now on Bannantyne Street but this letter box remains outside the location of the old PO on West Port.

Mucky Paws now settled in Lanark’s former Post Office
Post Box on the corner of Greenside Lane and Hope Street, Lanark

There’s a rare Victorian (VR) letter box built into the wall outside Christ Church on Hope St, Lanark, well maintained in painted pillar box red.

Post Box – VR Victoria Regina – outside Christ Church, Lanark.

Moving down to Eccleshall in Staffordshire, I picked up the Post Office on Stafford Street, where there is a substantial ‘ER’ post box outside.

Post Office, Stafford Street, Eccleshall

You can see the rest of this street here on my street archive blog.

Next up is a sketch I made of the letter box on the platform at Stoke-on-Trent station.

Post Box on the platform at Stoke-on-Trent station

This is a bit of a personal favourite as it has a connections to old friends in Staffordshire. This one is a ‘GR’ – George Rex.

Stepping back on the Drawing the Street time line, we reach Audlem, Cheshire. Back in 2014 there was a Post Office here on Stafford Street.

Post Office (long since gone) Stafford Street, Audlem, Cheshire

Last of all, is Market Place in Burslem. This too was drawn in 2014.

Post Office, Market Place, Burslem

A regular double sized ‘ER’ post box sits outside the PO Burslem. Here, I included one of my work colleagues, with a bag inscribed ‘HHA’ (Horsley Huber Architects), which marked that the office had been involved in some repair work on this building back then.

I love these little details. They bring the drawings alive!

Thanks as always for reading,

Ronnie

The Tolbooth: from Jail to Jewel of Lanark

The Tolbooth, Lanark

A recent post by Tolbooth Arts has prompted me to look a little further into the history of this significant Lanark landmark. It sits at the bottom of the High Street with the Provost’s lamp (from the 1890’s) standing outside. The lamp is a relatively recent feature in it’s history – the third of the Tolbooth buildings to have existed on this site since the early 1400’s.

Lanark is one of Scotland’s oldest Burghs and back in the 12th century it was a favoured hunting ground for the Kings of Scotland. Over the years, the town has been a creative hotspot for shoes, gloves, saddlery, weaving, oil, and knitwear whilst the Lanark markets traded in livestock and agricultural implements. A walk through the Closes of Lanark give a great insight into the layers of history woven into the town.

Information boards on the wall of McKenzie’s Close – drawings by Kirsten Harris Art

The Town Council would have had a Council Chamber – a ‘Tolbooth’ in which to hold their meetings and to serve as a base for their officials, the treasurer and town officer. The Tolbooth served as a point for collection of customs or charges imposed on all goods brought in to the town for market. The ‘Customer’ or ‘Tacksman’ based here had control of the weights and the ‘Tron’ or public weighing machine located nearby.

The first building referred to in Lanark records was located approximately on this site and is thought to have been built around 1400. By 1571 it was in a ruinous condition and was replaced by a building which survived until 1778 but the Council didn’t have the funds to repair it.

‘Gentlemen of the Tolbooth’ – Volunteers Ernest, Tom and Millie, Christmas 2019

However, this was when the “Gentlemen of the County” stepped in and offered to pay for erecting a new building entirely at their expense with the one condition that they were allowed to use the Upper Hall as a gathering place. This is the Tolbooth building that exists at present.

There is plenty more on the history of the Tolbooth on the Discover Lanark website and on the Canmore website.

In 2017 The Tolbooth Trustees embarked on the redesign of the ground floor unlocking the buildings potential as a gallery, heritage centre and arts hub open daily manned by a dedicated group of volunteers. For the past few years that I have been living near Lanark, the Tolbooth has indeed been a creative hub and I’ve been delighted to have participated in several exhibitions with many happy hours spent sketching inside and out – a few examples follow:

Streetscape opposite the Tolbooth
Richard Price giving a pottery demonstration in the Upper Hall
Lanark’s town pigeons settling down to roost for the night

The Tolbooth Christmas shop has been a growing success over the past few years and artists are well underway preparing new work for this year’s stock, myself included.

Skilled creative work of local artists in the Christmas Shop
Lanark’s town Crier taking shelter in the Tolbooth, wearing Thomson Blue Tartan

Look out for the next exhibition – ‘Clyde Valley – Garden of Scotland’ coming very soon to the Tolbooth – more on that in the next post!

In the meantime, I will sign off with this drawing of the Tolbooth Lanark. It will be in the Christmas shop from November, or get it touch with me or a volunteer at the Tolbooth. Price is £225 framed (20 x 17in) which includes a commission towards the upkeep of this fantastic community hub.

Thanks for reading, Ronnie

Eccleshall Glows Red

High Street, Eccleshall with the Arcade – home to Gallery at 12

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!

Fifty Streets 3/3

Dog Groomers and Turkish Barber…not to be confused

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.

West Port, Lanark

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.

No 38 Broomgate (middle building)

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!

2-62 Wellgate, Lanark

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.

Three completed drawings ready to scan

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

Small prints by Smith York Fine Art Printers, Ironbridge, of first three Lanark street scenes

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!

You keep me going! Ronnie 🙂

St Nicholas Clock tower from The Wallace Tea Rooms

It will all come out in the wash

pen and ink illustration of Eccleshall Staffordshire
The west side of Stafford Street, Eccleshall, waiting to tell a story.

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.

pen and ink drawing of eccleshall
Black and white under-drawing

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.

egg tempera
Warm ochres for Eccleshall brickwork

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.

egg tempera in red and yellow ochre
Applying thin washes of paint to build up colour

red and yellow ochres on Eccleshall brickwork
Warming up the brickwork colours on 14 (right) -22 (left) Stafford Street

Stafford street Eccleshall
Street taking shape in colour

No 8 Stafford Street
Bowcock and Pursaill, solicitors at No 8

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.

Thanks for reading

Ronnie

 

Leek Sunny Side

York Street, Leek, North Staffordshire
York Street, Leek

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!

York Street, terraced houses of Leek
Street Garden

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!

This drawing has now been scanned and is up in full on my website Drawing the Street. The first few prints are now ready and they look great, thanks to Simon and Valerie at Smith York Printers, a signed limited edition of only 30 prints, 60cm long and £75 each, ready to go up in Gallery at 12‘s exhibition ‘A Winter Gathering’ at the Foxlowe Arts Centre, Leek.

Hope to see some of you there at the Foxlowe Preview on Friday 18th November, at 7:00 pm.The exhibition runs until New Years Eve.

More about drawing the second Leek street to follow soon….

Bury and hilton and terraced houses on York Street Leekt
Bury Hilton Surveyors on York Street, Leek

Thanks for reading

Ronnie

flowers on york street leek
Hearts in the window and flowers on the door

 

 

 

Three Sides of a Triangular Square

Long view The Square Audlem
From the Lord Combermere to The Crown Mews

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.

Smith York Printer Audlem Drawing Cruwys
Simon getting colour matches against the original drawing on the first round of limited edition prints (Smith York Printers, Ironbridge)

You can just see the southern side of ‘The Square’ in the middle.

The Square Ronnie Cruwys 1.jpg
‘The Square’ from the first Audlem drawing

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.

Cheshire Street and Stafford st
Cheshire St (work in progress) seen below the first street drawing.

Now I can share the latest drawing which although relatively short, contains the third side of the Square.

The Square Audlem Ronnie Cruwys 1.jpg
The latest drawing seen in full

 

The Lord Combermere.jpg

1 and 2 The Square Audlem.jpgCrown Mews The Square Audlem.jpgMy 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).

Have a good week and thanks for reading.

Ronnie

A Glimpse Behind a Tall Hedge

old vicarge eccleshall staffordshire
Glimpse of the Old Vicarage

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.

Merckx Belgian bar Eccleshall
Summer evening after work at Merckx Belgian Bar

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.

gate to old vicarage eccleshall
Gate to the Old Vicarage, Eccleshall, date shown as 1703

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.

sepia line drawing of the Old Vicarage
First stage of drawing the Old Vicarage – inked out in sepia

pen and ink drawing of old vicarage eccleshall
Late summer’s afternoon with the hens roaming freely in the garden

old vicarge Eccleshall side view
East side of the Old Vicarage

pen and ink drawing of Old Vicarage eccleshall
Finished drawing of the Old Vicarage, Eccleshall

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.

high St Eccleshall drawing
Part of Eccleshall High Street Drawing

Thanks for reading. Ronnie

Gallery at 12, 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.

drawings of eccleshall, Micklegate, Keele walled gardens
A few drawings more

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.

stone and eccleshall gazette
Paul’s generous write up in the Stone and Eccleshall Gazette.

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.

Screen grab of stone Road Eccleshall drawing work in progress
Instagram approves of the Stone Road

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!

So, back to the Eccleshall drawing.

This is now scanned and on the website www.drawingthestreet.co.uk if you want to see it full length.

 

Starting with the grade 2 listed building home to Wyn’s and the old Sweet Shoppe:

Eccleshall  high Street
Katherine House, Eccleshall Pharmacy, Wine Etc, Spencers, the old Sweet Shoppe and Wyns

Eccleshall the old sweet shoppe and Wynns
Close up of the old Sweet Shoppe and Wyns

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.

pen and ink drawing of gallery at 12 Eccleshall
The Artisan, The Arcade with Gallery at 12, Eclipse and Little Monsters

gallery at 12
A glimpse into Gallery at 12, High Street, Eccleshall, with my first few small sized prints up.

clock at james du pavey
Quick sketch over coffee at the Artisan last Saturday – Clock outside James du Pavey

 

the Bell Eccleshall
No 24, a grade 2 listed building, Eccleshall Library, Francesco Hair group and The Bell listed grade 2, Eccleshall

drawing of Star Pizza and London House
Star Pizza,  London House and Nisa

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.

Ronnie (@ronniecruwys)

 

 

Tyburn and the Spirits of Micklegate, York

Colour over micklegate drawing
Laying the first washes of colour in egg tempera and natural pigments over Micklegate

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).

bike shed drawing york
Bike Shed and S.o.t.a. Hairdressing on Micklegate

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.

drawing of Micklegate
Heaven Scent and Portfolio, Micklegate

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!

leo drawing
Detail: Warm glow of Heaven Scent with a basking Leo

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.

Micklegate
Curtain Up  and Brigantes.  My parents John and Mary Sharp with our old dog Arran looking in the window of Brigantes

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!

spirits of Micklegate
detail: Mum, Dad and our recalcitrant old Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retreiver – Arran

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!

Blake Head gallery
Wonderful book shop and cafe – sadly long gone

micklegate york
DW hair and Army careers recruitment.  The Rattle Owl and Bluebird Bakery in the former Blake Head Bookshop site.

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!

drawing of York nags head
Nags head, Coles Solicitors, Rumours

Micklegate House (c1752) below, was the former town house of the Bourchiers of Beningbrough.

grade 1 Micklegate house drawing
Micklegate House, grade 1 listed, flanked by grade 2* listed builidngs

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 for reading.

Ronnie ronniecruwys@drawingthestreet.co.uk