This was another commission this autumn carried out for a tennis enthusiast to give as a present to another member of his Club.
I had been intending to carry on with a few Oxford Colleges in the New Year, and had spent some pleasant days over the summer visiting them to find and prepare the best viewpoints for drawing, when a lady from Alberta in Canada commissioned this one of University College to give as a present to her son who had just graduated.
The designer of the Entrance Court and Clock Tower at Birmingham was the Edwardian Architect Aston Webb, who at the time had the largest Architectural practice in the country. His buildings include the V&A, Christ's Hospital and the Royal Naval College at Dartmouth. He is best known for his work in recreating the Mall into a more appropriate Imperial Style by refacing Buckingham Palace in Portland Stone and designing Admiralty Arch.
The curved series of linked square pavilions that make up the original buildings of Birmingham University have rather more of an oriental than an English feel to them, though the use of red brick banded with a buff coloured sandstone to some degree compensates for this. The corner turrets of the pavilions are tapered, following the idea of the entasis of a classical column, and the areas of blank brickwork are decorated by mosaic panels on the theme of work and industry by the Arts and Craft artist Robert Anning Bell. The Tower is simply enormous and was presumably originally intended to be visible from the City.
Sal and I had an enjoyable trip to Durham this spring, staying right across from the river from the Cathedral in a delightful and very original small hotel, recently opened, called 40 Winks. The owner recommended the small clearing and bench nearby from which I ultimately chose this viewpoint. The growth of trees on both sides of the Wear Gorge makes the Cathedral hard to view from its most famous viewpoints, by the bridges and down on the river, and I had to do quite a bit of pruning to draw this.
Turner cheated like crazy with his view, see below, twisting the Cathedral across the peninsular to make it, admittedly with great success, much more dramatic.
Inside it is the best Norman church we have, with the vaulting and the nave elevations all put together at the same time. Bishop William of Calais, the patron of this building in the 1090s certainly chose his master masons well.
I have just finished this drawing of Darwin College Cambridge, and anyone who has punted up to the Lock on the way up to Grantchester will have seen this attractive building on the Mill Pond of the Cam, known to the College as the Old Granary.
It adjoins the house, Newnham Grange, built for a corn merchant in 1793 that became the home of the Darwin family and which was left by them to create the founding buildings of the new college in 1964. George Darwin was responsible for the remodelling of Newnham Grange after he bought it in 1885, and I assume that he also had a hand in the balconies and bay windows which give this building its unique charm.
Darwin has a trademark dining room, dating from the 60s, by Howell Killick Partridge and Amis, who also did the Grad Pad which faces the Granary across the Cam. The building just visible on the right is a 1993 library and study centre by Jeremy Dixon and Ed Jones.