The Duke’s Legs Akimbo in Brighton

22 Aug

Ink sketch: The Duke's Legs.


Taking a break for a few days in Brighton, we went to see The Guard, hilariously funny film, at The Duke of York’s Picturehouse. It’s an independent cinema built in 1910 in a rather over-the-top Victorian style; one of those buildings that looks like a wedding cake, all white and stuccoed and covered with curly bits. The most distinctive thing about The Duke’s though is an enormous pair of shapely lady’s legs clad in black stilettos and black and white stripy stockings sticking out of the roof. It’s the sort of sight that makes you think someone’s spiked your drink with something nefarious.


I don’t know when they arrived, or why, but they turn a conventional municipal building into something rather groovy. There’s also a lovely mature passion fruit plant scrambling over the stonework. I stood more or less directly underneath the legs, so there’s some acute foreshortening going on. I’m not that keen on drawing architecture and those Victorians were way too fond of decoration for my liking and it made my job much harder – all that frippery took ages to sketch. The drawing is done in Faber Castell Pitt drawing pens in sizes S, F and B into my folded sketchbook, which is why there is a colour cast over some of the drawing.


Earlier, we walked past the Royal Pavilion built for George the 4th, which is way over the top like a cross between St. Basil’s in Moscow and a giant exotic mosque, a fantastical building, but it’s a pity that Brighton and Hove Borough Council has decided to paint the entire thing in magnolia. Of all the boring colours on the planet, magnolia has to be the MOST boring.

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