Earlier in the year, I was commissioned to paint both ends of Maunsel Street, a London Westminster street.
I am fortunate in that I have a job that sends me where ever the client chooses. So just when I think I know an area pretty well, I get a commission and discover that I didn’t really know it at all. Maunsel Street is just such an example. It is situated within a tight collection of streets between Victoria, and Westminster Gardens, right in the centre of London.
Over the years, I could have taken a turn off of Victoria street as I walk up and down there often. The wall of modern glass and steel blocks, however, always seemed to have put me off so I carried on walking. I simply didn’t know that this vibrant residential community was still in place.
Drawings of Maunsel Street, Westminster
In amongst it all, you can even find a well used street market in Strutton Ground. Not a homogenised representation of a market either that just sells sourdough bread and organic olives to bored tourists. No, this sells fruit, veg, doughnuts and questionable training shoes too. Small but perfectly formed.
Like many of my commissions, a street can look pretty conventional at first site, ‘just like any other street’ you might say. Though once you start drawing it, out its unique and particular features begin to show themselves. Maunsel Street for example has a tiny turn on it at one end, I could see no obvious reason for this, it may have been following an ancient land boundary.
Also, half way down in between the rows of Georgian terraces is what looks to be a large red brick Victorian building which seems to have a more industrial feel to it. It may well have been a small engineering factory at one point judging by the entrances.
The visual watercolour of Maunsel Street, Westminster
The most interesting thing though was that from the South East end of the street you can see the Victoria Tower of The Houses of Parliament sitting above a huddle of low rise apartments. It set off the view perfectly and I had to put it into my final piece.
Once I had both early watercolour visuals sorted, I was a bit chilly and more that a little hungry. I popped into the family run Regency Cafe around the corner for a fry up. Whilst eating, I mused over the Tottenham Hotspur memorabilia on the wall. Very local.. almost.