More Drawing in Museums

2013-05-31 10.36.12As part of this adventure in learning to draw over the last couple of years the surprise discovery is that I really quite enjoy drawing in museums.  It’s an unlikely revelation; sitting in a public place, sketchbook on lap, allowing people to peer over my shoulder and pass comment on my efforts, doesn’t sound like the sort of thing that would appeal.  Proof that you don’t know until you try…..

On the second day of drawing this week it was doubly enjoyable then, to find that not only were we drawing in a couple of museums, but that we would be visiting one I’ve not been to for several years, and one I had never previously known existed.

We started the day at the Grant Museum of Zoology, part of UCL, a small high room filled with glass cabinets filled with animal 2013-05-30 10.48.32skeletons and specimens in jars.  It’s free and open every week day afternoon, but we had a special appointment in the morning and had the place to ourselves.  A special thrill was that if we chose to sketch a small item, the curator allowed it to be taken out of the vitrines and placed on the table in front of us for close up inspection.

I chose the dogfish skull because it looked so extraordinary, and then, a bit too late,  realised how difficult it is to draw something that is essentially white, and suspended in water.  Let’s call it a good learning experience.

After the morning of exclusive occupation we had to cede the room to the ‘public’ who were already forming an eager queue on the steps outside.

In the afternoon we went to the Wallace Collection, a place I’ve not visited since I was a regular visitor when I worked in an office just around the corner and used to eat my sandwiches on one of the benches outside in the summer.

As well as the red damask wallpaper and The Laughing Cavalier, the Collection also contains a massive collection of armour, swords, stirrups and sundry gauntlets and spurs from around the world.  I chose a spear, I think mostly because I liked the tassles hanging from it, which, in this context, is as good a reason as any.

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