At the Tower with Spitalfields Life

Highly appropriate follow-up to Edward I’s castles, his next big building campaign was enlarging the Tower fortifications…

My latest contribution to the lovely Spitalfields Life, with many thanks to the Gentle Author for getting me in, and the wonderful staff, and Yeomen Warders, for their welcome, and taking me to a few out of reach corners!

August 19, 2012

words by the gentle author

Yeoman warders’ cottages built into the wall of the Tower

Spitalfields Life Contributing Artist Joanna Moore spent a couple of days at the Tower of London this week and made these sketches published here today. Joanna lives nearby the Tower in Wapping and walks past it every day, yet when she got inside she found the sunshine and heat of recent days proved to be a challenge. “Everyone thinks it must be lovely drawing outside in the sunshine, but in fact the light bleaches all the colours and it’s better in the early morning, when there are more subtle tones,” Joanna confessed to me. So Joanna was given a dispensation to arrive before the Tower opened to the public, which is when most of these drawings were done. “It was a privilege to have the Tower to myself and I found more of the character of the place became apparent outside visiting hours,” Joanna confirmed in excitement, “so now I want to go back and do more drawings in the early mornings.”

The Byward Tower with the Bell Tower in the foreground.

Looking over Henry VIII’s Watergate and Baynard’s Tower to the Thames.

Looking through the arch of the Bloody Tower to the White Tower.

Looking from the roof of the White Tower to the Thames.

Entrance to the White Tower.

The eleventh century Chapel of St John in the White Tower is the oldest church in London.

Visitors sheltering from the rain beneath the arch of the Byward Tower.

Alan, Yeoman Warder.

“Merlin the Raven is the cleverest raven at the Tower, she buries half of her breakfast under a tree outside the Queen’s House and returns to eat it later.”

Traitors’ Gate where Anne Boleyn and Thomas More entered the Tower.

Looking towards Tower Green, where Catherine Howard and Anne Boleyn had their heads chopped off.

Looking across St Peter ad Vincula, the Chapel Royal constructed in 1512, towards the Gherkin.

In the gallery of St John’s Chapel in the White Tower.

The White Tower – construction began at the order of William the Conqueror in 1078.

Drawings copyright © Joanna Moore