Friday, 19 February 2010

Drawing Room

Established in 1855,  Cornelissens near the British Museum is possibly the most attractive art supplier in London.  Its original wooden cabinets are full of delicious things like steel nibs, gold leaf, graphite powder and all kinds of arcane preparations.

I went there to get  Sennelier Le Maxi drawing blocks because I love their unusual square format and crisp creamy paper.  With 250 sheets at your disposal there's no need to worry about messing up the blank page.  The last time I got artist's block,  my old friend John Dougill at my studio suggested that I get a hundred sheets of paper cut to the same size and work my way through them in a diligent way but at the same time not caring too much about the result.  By about page 30 you really get into the flow!

image from

So here I went..

Images taken from my hand and from Anatomy for the Artist by Sarah Simblet pub. Dorling Kindersley


  1. There are not many lovely old shops like that left.
    I must say --- I draw in pastel and sennelier make the best pastels but.. I cannot find them in Australia sadly. I think they are too expensive to import and then you have to sell them and make a profit. I imagine their paper would be wonderful too!!!!

  2. lady jicky - I agree Sennelier is a wonderful make. The drawing blocks weren't cheap but a good investment I tell myself.

  3. Strong work, Rose. I used to work at a stationery shop in Chapel Hill, NC that had formerly been Ledbetter and Pickard. Some of the stock drawers were still full of relatively high end pen nibs and antique fountain pens that had been returned to the previous store for repair. My employer gave them to me on the condition that I clean the other junk out of the drawers. Shortly afterward I found a sizable collection of commemorative silver coins, which made my employer very happy.
    Sadly, the place is some kind of sports clothing store now. Sometime I'll post something on its bizarre history as a restaurant where the wait staff sang opera.

  4. Lovely and the blue of the pads is worthy of "coffee table" book status(very Hermes-but bleu and more useful!) I love the old shops- very few in my area-mostly feed and seed stores, ha!

  5. rurritable, thank you. I do envy you inheriting the nibs and fountain pens.
    I know you will entertain us beautifully with the tale of the restaurant and the opera singers. Don't delay!

    la - I think you were reaching for the fact that these gorgeous objects are Smythsons blue. I hadn't thought of the coffee table angle but will now.


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