Thursday, 14 October 2021

Tuesday 2 November, Union Chapel

Our next visit is to the Union Chapel in Islington. It is a nineteenth century Gothic revival Congregational Chapel, which is used as a music venue as well as being a functioning place of worship.

The address is 19b Compton Terrace, N1 2UN. Compton Terrace runs parallel with Upper Street separated by a strip of community garden. The nearest tube and overground station is Highbury and Islington and numerous buses run along Upper Street including the 4, 19, 30 and 43.

The Chapel staff are expecting us but the Chapel has proved difficult to access in the past, as it is short staffed and generally not open to the public in the working day. We meet at 11 am, Janet's number for the day is 07815 772857 and Sue's is 07975 864142, so do call if you can't find us. If you can be there on time this would probably help, as we may have to go in through the back.

There is a community garden outside which is open to all and a good fall back if we find it difficult to get into the Chapel. We will update nearer the time. Upper Street is also full of people, activity and buildings!

During the summer we increased the numbers of outings to take advantage of the good weather and the easing of Covid restrictions. With the onset of Autumn we aim to seek out more covered but not enclosed venues and to go out once a month on a Tuesday. 

Sunday, 10 October 2021

October 5th 2021: Visit to the West Highgate Cemetery

 A dozen artists came to the Western Highgate Cemetery on a day which was supposed to be dry but which developed rain clouds and rain around lunchtime.  Despite this downpour, some hardy types made it through to the afternoon.  We had a fascinating and fruitful day steeped in antiquity.  Most people focussed in on the amazing and unique architecture, of mixed historical styles cheek by jowl, but some took in the heavy tree cover (and the trees are immensely tall), and some were attracted by angels and the lion!   

One artist couldn't make it and sent in an image from another cemetery, New Southgate, perhaps we should go there another time. 

See below what we made of it.

Image below by Cathy Burkinshaw

Image below by Avis Dennis

Images below by Janet Payne

Images below by Gafung Wong

Image below by Christian Cook

Images below by Daniel Lloyd-Morgan
Images below by Sue Lees

Image below by Diane Umemoto

Image below by Alison Sandifer

Image below by Alison Gardiner

Images below by Maggie Pettigrew, who was captivated by the tomb of the Menagerist, George Wombwell, 1777 - 1850, as well as by a herald angel. 

Reflective angel below by Peter Hassell

Image below by Tricia Sharpe, of an angel in New Southgate Cemetery

Tricia sent in the following comments as well: "The cemetery is now called New Southgate but it was The Great Northern Cemetery that was built in the 1850s when the central London cemeteries were closed. The dead were brought from Kings Cross on special trains that ran to what is now New Southgate station and then on a spur line to the cemetery. The cemetery is still in use – it has a crematorium now of course, a Jewish section, and Greek Orthdox etc, and is the resting place of a leader of the Ba’hai faith that is a point of pilgrimage.


It has its full complement of angels etc as you will see from my pic. This is on a re-purposed painting – and the weird dark terracotta shape leaning on the right is a memorial stone next to the angel that was falling over. I tried to hint at the tree behind with the blue shaped leaves."

Details of our next sketching day in November will be published shortly.

Sunday, 26 September 2021

Highgate East Cemetery

It was a really lovely autumn day when we ventured to Highgate East Cemetery, with dappled autumn sunlight through the trees. Seven artists attended and we all worked hard. This is not the easiest venue to get to but we managed it.

But no-one painted or drew the cemetery's most famous resident Karl Marx!

We took picnics and had a chatty lunch in adjacent Waterlow Park before returning for the afternoon session. 

Don't forget Tuesday 5 October 11 am at Highgate West Cemetery which is the really spooky one. We are trying to get in one more outdoor venue before the glorious weather changes.

Below pics from

Sue Lees


Feroz Antia

Janet Payne

Vanessa Whinney

Gafung Wong

Gill Steiner

Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Tuesday 5 October: Visit to the WEST Highgate Cemetery, Swains' Lane, Highgate, N6 6PJ

Following a pleasant visit to the EAST Highgate Cemetery today (report and images to follow) we have decided to go to the Western Highgate Cemetery (across Swain's Lane from the Eastern Cemetery), which has only recently become accessible to the public without going on a guided tour.

The West Cemetery is older than the East Cemetery, and has some seriously exotic architecture.  It has a gothic entrance area, and the walk up the hill takes the visitor into antiquity via the ancient Egyptian Avenue  and the Circle of Lebanon.    The effect is stunning.  This is the absolute tops in Victorian burial arrangements.

We will meet at 11 o'clock inside the main entrance area of the Western Cemetery.   The Egyptian Ave and the Circle of Lebanon are at the top of the hill reached by the main path which is where we suggest we make our way.

Further details of the Cemetery here:

The nearest tube is Archway and the easiest way to get to the Cemetery from Islington and northern locations is to get to Highgate Hill and walk through Waterlow Park.   There are buses running up Highgate Hill.

Entrance to the West Cemetery costs £10, and we think that tickets bought today for the East Cemetery may be offsettable against the £10, so those who came today should bring their receipts.

We are hoping for a golden October, but just in case, bring your umbrella, and a sketching stool.

Sue's mobile number for the day is:07975864142 


Sunday, 5 September 2021

Wednesday 1st September: Visit to the Dalston Eastern Curve Garden in Hackney


The Dalston Eastern Curve Community Garden proved a popular venue for Art in the Park, 15 artists visited (though not all on quite the same day). The Garden is beautifully designed and maintained, and full of fascinating quirky features. Unfortunately, the day we went was yet another of this summer's no sunshine days, so there was no glancing light through the rows of trees. However, it did not quite rain, so art creation was unimpaired. We loved the "rus in urbe" nature of the Garden, which is a narrow sliver of green surrounded by buildings - and where there are no buildings there are big construction plans behind the high fences - and which reminded us of French impressionist paintings of people at tables under rows of trees.

We mostly worked on paper, but one artist went fully three-dimensional, utilising her own garden in situ. We focussed on many things, the umbrellas, the amazing coloured greenhouse, the splendid gabled entrance area, some of the wall-art, but we surely have not covered all the cameos to be seen within the garden. We very much appreciate the opportunity given to us by Marie Murray, the Garden's organiser, to come in during the hours set aside for community groups, and we would love to revisit, perhaps at a diffent time of year, in the future.

The Garden has to make its own way in the world, and its finances took a hit during lockdown when the cafe was shut. They need donations to keep going on a free-to-enter basis, so have set up a crowdfunding box with gofundme, and the link is here: It would be nice if people could put something in to this.

The Garden has been under threat from development since its beginning as a temporary feature for most of its existence, and there is ongoing consultation on the "Dalston Plan" to put in a mass of redevelopment and six hundred homes all around. The Council has now recognised the value to the community, and to the area, of the Garden, and it is no longer under threat of being built over or turned into a through route. The need for the trees and plants - and users - to have sufficient sunlight has also been recognised in the latest version of the Plan, but whether the developers will be able to resist adding a few more storeys here and there is debatable. The draft Dalston Plan is open for comment until 1 October 2021, the link is here I am sure additional comments on the need to avoid overshadowing would help.

One more comment on the day's adventures: a woman behind the cash machine in one of the local shops told one of us the sad story of her needle-phobic son, in his early twenties. He had refused to have the vaccine, had caught covid, had had it really badly, had spent time in an ICU (with lots of injections) and was now home with brain fog and exhaustion, long covid in fact.

Enjoy our artwork!

And do not forget our next sketch date: Tuesday 21 September, Highgate Cemetery East, Swains' Lane, Highgate N6 6PJ, see details in previous post and please check a map for location. (We have decided that postcodes may not be entirely helpful with open spaces.)

Images above by Gafung Wong

Images above by Diana Butement (left) and Priscilla Worley (right)

Images below by Diane Umemoto

Images below by Lindsay Topping

Image above by Daniel Lloyd-Morgan

Images above by Feroze Antia

Images below by Gill Steiner (left) and Feroze Antia (right)

Images above by Peter Colley (left) and Janet Perkins (right)

Images above by Tricia Sharpe (left) and Janet Payne (right)

Images above by Sue Lees (left) and Janet Payne (right)

Images above by Sue Lees (left) and Diana Butement (right - this drawing is an extra image from our recent visit to St Mary Abchurch)