A page in my new Moleskine sketchbook/art journal I started during my holiday in England, inspired by my favourite art shops in London. There's a number of shops I always enjoy going to when in London, and I'm sure that some of you might like to know about them too, so here's my list of favourite London shops.
Cornelissen: my favourite, and in my favourite area, Bloomsbury, 105 Great Russell Street. A wonderful shop where you find everything your art-heart desires. The shop itself is worth a visit, it's like a step back in time to when artists relied on their trusted colourmen to provide them with paints, before the invention of paint tubes and synthetic pigments. It's a bit more expensive, as they don't usually have so many sales and special offers as some of the others, but there are a number of things you won't find in any of the other shops. Apart form painting materials, they also have tools and materials for printmaking, guilding etc. Among the things I come here for are oil paint sticks, and "liquid metal" metallic acrylics.
Cowling & Wilcox: there are several branches in London, but the one I usually go to is their Soho branch, at 26-28 Broadwick Street. They often have special offers with up to 40% off Liquitex paints, for erxample. It was also the only one where I found Liquitex Soft Body paints. They have some general arts and crafts materials too, as well as stationery.
Cass Arts: also has several branches in London, one of which very conveniently right around the corner from Cowling & Wilcox, at 24 Berwick St. I come here for the Derwent Sketching pencils, which have an extra wide graphite core. They ufusally have some great special offers, although I was beginning to get slightly worried when the sales assistant kept running off to get a free jar of clear gesso with the paints, a box of pencils instead of the individual pencils, etc. ..., as I was trying to figure out how to fit all that extra stuff into my suitcase.
Other specialist shops:
Shepherds Falkiners: back in Bloomsbury, 76 Southampton Row. A specialist shop for fine papers and bookbinding supplies. On the ground floor, you'll find the most tempting range of beautiful patterned paper, and a whole lot of patterned cardboard boxes in all shapes and sizes. In the basement are bookbinding supplies and tools.
Blade Rubber Stamps: Another fine Bloomsbury shop, in 12 Bury Place, pretty much opposite the main entrance of the British Museum. They have a wonderful range of stamps, mostly wood mounted, but also other kinds of stamps, and ink pads, as well as scrapbooking and card making supplies, and a selection of Stampington magazines.
And last but not least, a shop that has been on my list for ages:
Intaglio: 9 Playhouse Court, 62 Southwark Bridge Road, not too far from Tate Modern. The place to go to for everyting about printmaking: tools, materials, and a range of books too. Unlike the others, this is not really a shop to go to for just having a look around and browse, but rather one where you have to more or less know what you want. This is also the reason why I have never been htere until two weeks ago, when I wanted to buy some wood engraving tools.
I was really very proud of myself that, after already having bought some stuff I could easily have got here at home as well, I didn't end up buying wood blocks as well. It really did seem rather silly to fill up my suitcase with wood. But after looking at the websites of the art shops here at home, it doesn't seem like such a silly idea after all anymore. So now I might end up ordering wood blocks form England soon. Luckily, most of the above shops do mail order (although last time I checked, Cowling & Wilcox had ridiculously high shipping costs to Switzerland, something like starting at £40 or so). I just hope that Intaglio have normal shipping costs, like the rest, otherwise, I might have to start planning my next trip to London soon :).
Linking up to Paint Party Friday, which I unfortuantely missed for the past three weeks. And if you know more great shops in London, please share!