In March I was asked to paint a picture for a 50th birthday party. The subject of the painting was venue for the party, namely The Carpenters Arms pub in Fitzrovia, London. I was exhibiting at The Mall Galleries so I had an opportunity to get the initial visual just before a Private View on a mild March afternoon.
From the Carpenters Arms website
‘Combining the best in British pub hospitality with individuality, character and quirky charm, The Carpenters Arms is located at the heart of Fitzrovia, with its generous peppering of independent boutique shops and close proximity to lively Tottenham Court Road and Soho.
Well-connected by Warren Street, Goodge Street and Euston stations, The Carpenters Arms is the perfect setting for a laid-back yet distinctly memorable drinking and dining experience. Whether you’re looking for a lazy lunch, family dinner or social eats and treats with friends, The Carpenters Arms offers tempting and flavoursome food, an explorative drinks menu and a genuine, welcoming atmosphere to suit all occasions.
With traditional wood-panelling, sumptuous furnishings and contemporary touches, The Carpenters Arms is dog-friendly and has a private function room for hire, but its best-kept secret is its rooftop beer garden – a rare treat for London pub-goers and perfect for lazy afternoons, al-fresco dining or just a glass of something special on a sunny afternoon.’
Where is Fitzrovia, London?
As mentioned the pub is in the area commonly known as Fitzrovia, the area occupying a block of streets jammed in between Oxford Street, Tottenham Court Road, Cleveland Street, and Euston Road to the north.
The name probably derives from the Fitzroy pub which is close by. Interestingly for such an old part of London the name was only coined in 1940, lord knows what it was called prior to that.
The area was made famous in the interwar years by London’s bohemian, and literary set such as George Orwell and Dylan Thomas.
They would hang around the local pubs swapping tales and stories. Naturally they soon disappeared once the Hoi polloi caught up and started to gawp. Off they went to Soho leaving just a bunch of Blue Plaques in their wake.
Painting of The Carpenters Arms, Fitzrovia
As I worked on my initial watercolour I mused that a Dylan Thomas may well have visited The Carpenters Arms at some point, it being an early 30’s structure sat on a crossroads. I am assuming that it was attached to an older block at one time though i expect that it was done over by Hitler, or worse, the local London council’s post-war vandalism.
Today it looks a mite out of place in among all the modern blocks which reach above it. Thinking on it, when looking both ways on the crossroads, I couldn’t see a single other building that had roof tiles. They were all faceless blocks.
Moving on, the client wanted her, and her husband outside the pub, so on my initial painting I worked them in and made a note to place them more accurately on the final piece. Once I had finished the tree on the left, it started getting cold and I was losing the light, so I moved onto The Mall Galleries to the Lynn Painter, and Stainers exhibition.
When I got back to the studio, I had enough in my notes to complete the final painting in the warm! Thankfully I had a happy client too.
Walking up to the Mall Gallery I got a fine treat, one of my other paintings was chosen to advertise the Lynn Painter, and Stainers exhibition. You can see more about that exhibition here.