British Museum Study Day with the Bridget Riley Art Foundation (20th March 2017)

On Monday 20th March I attended a OCA study visit and  where I was privileged to be allowed to enter the drawing archives at the British Museum. The British Museum is fast becoming one of my favourite museums and after this visit is winning the title.

We met with Sarah Jaffray who works for the Bridget Riley Art Foundation who had an impressive knowledge of the art history, the drawings we viewed and is clearly extremely passionate with what she does. I could have listened to her taking about the drawings and other elements of art history all day, it was extremely informative.

Sarah explained that the point of our visit-the artist Bridget Riley had set up the foundation to encourage students to draw from drawings (as Bridget Riley once did). Bridget Riley herself believes it can enhance a students drawing ability through the theory that each drawing has captured an element of the context of the time in history in which it was created. We can all learn something from previously used techniques, methods and how the marks are made. Due to copyright I can’t display the original pictures however below are some of the sketches I made from the original drawings.

I have already absorbed the learning intentions from the Drawing study into my own technique. I love the theory behind the BRAF especially as I wasnt sure if drawing from drawing was frown upon or not. I am a strong believer in learning from Art History to progress and will be more confident to experiment with learning from drawing from drawing as I did in Exercise 2 Three Figures Standing pose.

We only had approximately 1 hour to draw the drawings, I found I discovered more about the drawings whilst drawing them. The intricate detail in Van Gogh’s drawing of La Crau from Montmajour, France May 1888 (Media: Oil and dry brush, white gouache, charcoal and graphite on thin laid paper). In my sketch I tried to really simplify the marks used to examine how they were created. Interestingly  St Remy was drawn in the far background of this drawing which was the focal point of Barbara Hepworths drawing that we were shown.


Artist: Vincent van Gogh Subject: La Crau from Montmajour, France, May 1888 Media: Oil and dry brush, white gouache, charcoal and graphite on thin laid paper

Here are my notes from my sketch book about the drawings.

Notes -Van Gogh drew what he saw and the marks were what he saw not an abstracted version. Picasso always drew what he saw. Abstraction is a process of elimination, not just a ‘a drawing a child could create’. I also want to do some more research on the story behind St Remy and Van Gogh ( I think it was where Van Gogh was institutionalised).

I found this drawing the easiest to replicate.


Artist: Eugène Louis Boudin Subject: Groups of figures near Planches, Trouville, 1866 Media: Graphite, with watercolour



Artist: John Napper Subject: Dried plants, 1958 Media: Black and pink chalk, touched with bodycolour and white



Artist: Gabriel de Saint-Aubin Subject: The interior of the artist’s studio, 1780 Media: Black chalk.

The interior of the Artists Studio by Gabrial de Saint- Aubin initially I didnt pay alot of attention to this drawing but now is the most memorable drawing from the day.  I ended up sketching this drawing from default, I was intending on drawing Henry Moore when I started studying this  drawing whilst waiting for a space and I ended captivated by it. Due to its age I can show a picture of the original. The sense of place and atmosphere that is captured within it I find mezmerising. I then found the shapes of the objects and shapes made by the negative space within the composition really interesting to draw. I could have just drawn the negative space between the objects. Gabrial de Saint- Aubin was close to death at the time he produced this drawing and it captures the limited belongings of the artist. I can see that my quick sketch is out of proportion and not an accurate depiction (objects off point, too large and need re positioning).

“A unique chronicler of bohemian Paris under the reign of Louis XV, Gabriel de Saint-Aubin was a marginal artist who roamed the streets of the capital his entire life, a sketchbook in his hands” (Louvre).


Other drawings that I viewed but unfortunately ran out of time to sketch were:

Artist: Henry Moore Subject: Shelter sketchbook Media: Pen and black ink and graphite, with wax crayon and watercolour

Artist: Paul Signac Subject: Still life with bowl of fruit, 1926 Media: Charcoal and watercolour

Artist: Frans Snyders Subject: Game and fruit, 1594-1657 Media: Pen and brown ink, over black chalk

Artist: Thomas Girtin Subject: Eidometropolis (Blackfriars bridge and St Paul’s), 1800-1801 Media: Pen and brown ink, with watercolour; squared for enlargement

Artist: Barbara Hepworth Subject: St Rèmy: Mountains and Trees I, 1933 Media: Graphite on paper

Lourve Exhibition Gabriel De Saint Aubin At:




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