members and friends assembled in St Bartholomew the Great and
those who had not visited this stunning Norman church before were
astonished that such a large and superb example of Romanesque
architecture could be found in London. The church was founded in
1123 as an Augustinian monastery and was duly dissolved by Henry
VIII in the 1530s—however the east end, with its stunning runs of
Norman arches survived as a parish church. The later
medieval lady chapel also survived, plus part of the cloisters. The
building survived the great fire of London because the old priory walls
remaining to the south stopped the fire moving northwards.
church is deeply atmospheric, but demanding to draw, with all its
arches and perspectives, and changing light. However, when we looked
at our work after lunch in the cloister café, we found that we had all
done rather well with this difficult subject.
visit would be worthwhile, but we must remember to get to the café
early, before supplies run out! A summer visit would enable people to
sketch the arch of Smithfields, which is visible from the road outside
the church, and a selection of interesting old pubs and houses.