Middle Temple, October 2016

A discerning group of us gathered to do justice to capturing the ancient, quaint, glorious and imposing buildings arranged around courtyards that make up Middle Temple on an early autumnal October day. The sun shone, though getting chilly, so we started with a coffee at the Temple tube station café, and then did a recce. During my career as a business consultant to law firms, I have often walked through Middle Temple, wandering on to Chancery Lane, so know various parts of it, but have never taken the time to stop and paint: what a treat!

Dating back to 1608 when James I granted the Inn’s estate to be held under ‘Letters patent’ the now 43 buildings are a wonderful mix of age, architecture, fabric and construction. Most famous is the late twelfth century Temple Church built by the Knights Templar as their headquarters and all of us had a go at capturing its glorious sweeping arches. Middle Temple hall, dating from 1574 provides lunch daily, and has a 29-foot oak table donated by Elizabeth I.

We worked in watercolour, ink, acrylics and oils. I always think working pleine air really forces us to capture what we see swiftly, as the light changes, to say nothing of our muscles caught standing or sitting for too long. Creating several images builds observation, and also allows for fun experimenting with colour, tone and palette. Whilst the buildings have an air of calm, the barristers, lawyers and porters seemed to be hurtling about, dragging or pushing bags and trolleys along the little paths, alleyways and cobbled roads. Next time I will aim to capture them as well as maybe the inside of some of the buildings.

We broke off for lunch at the Fleet Street Press and found the queue of young lawyers interested In our work! After a restoring bowl of soup we set off again into the slightly chillier air for the afternoon minus Clare and Marg/Phillippa who had to bailout. We re-grouped for a swift tea and then home, feeling very pleased with our efforts. Maybe there is scope for us to return to Middle Temple in the Summer when the very well tended gardens will be in full bloom.

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