Friday 20 July 2012

Shopping in London

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.

Art 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!


  1. Wonderful page and thanks for sharing the shop info! :)

  2. Wonderfully informative post ~ loved seeing and hearing about art shops in London and excellent sketches ~~ thanks, ^_^ (A Creative Harbor)

  3. What a great tour through the art stores! I love how you've used images of the store with your sketching!

  4. Wow! How come colour looks so amazing in your Moleskin but I found it terrible on mine? It looks amazing! I love how the lines of the portrait distort across the brushes etc. SO clever and such an interesting page! :0)

  5. Oh wow! Now I want to book a flight to London and explore these fantastic shops. Your journal page is beautiful. Thank you for sharing this little slice of life with us.

  6. eine genial schöne Doppelseite ist das! Schmacht!

  7. What a fun romp through London art shops! Your drawing of brushes and pencils etc is terrific! How I'd loved to have been along on the trip!
    Great photos! Thanks for sharing. HPPF!!!

  8. Gorgeous pages in your moleskine sketchbook!
    Love that they were inspired by your travels in London!
    I loved my time in London,'s a great place for artists to be! :)
    Happy PPF!!
    Mixed-Media Map Art

  9. I am insanely jealous that you get to go into all those gems!! Just looking at the photos my heart started racing! Love the pages. The brush sketch is one I want to do...another one on my to-do list!! :)

  10. Ooooh, shopping for art supplies in London...I think you just described a dream vacation for most of the people in this group! Great journal pages.

  11. The artful shopping in London looks really devine. You have definately sniffed out the best of the best. Happy PPF

  12. Love the drawing of your brushes.... and the trip to the art stores was fab.... really enjoyed it... wish I was there looking through them all...xx

  13. Aah, Bloomsbury. Also home of the finest library in the world. Sorry, second finest - there's one somewhere near Zurich which is quite good apparently ;o)

  14. I love your rendition of the artist tools. They look marvelous next to the photographs you took of the art shops. I've never been to Europe, but God willing I'll make it someday and visit art shops like the ones you featured. Blessings!

  15. great pages. . . I want to go shopping there too!
    cheers, dana

  16. I've been absent from PPF from the past three weeks too until this week--amazing how much you can end up missing being part of an artists' network.

    Anyway great shopping guide: I have no plans to go to London any time soon unfortunately. Those shops sound very cool.

    And great shop on the paintbrushes. Even the subtle touches like the bits of white and the darker green really give the piece depth.

  17. Interesting page and interesting shops. I'd love to visit London some day.

  18. How fun! And I love the way the outside of the shop looks--very British!

    Love your sketch, too--

  19. Es inspiriert mich immer sehr, Deinen Blog zu besuchen !!! Ich liebe Deine Scetches und diese "London-inspirierten-Seiten" sind besonders schön!! Ich liebe, wie Du all die Pinsel gemalt hast, mit all den winzigen Details und den abstehenden Haaren ;)