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London, You're Beautiful: An Artist's Year [Paperback]

David Gentleman
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
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Book Description

3 May 2012

David Gentleman has been drawing London all his adult life. But can you look afresh at the place where you live? Over the past year he has immersed himself in his home city to try and find out. London, You're Beautiful, the resulting book of sketches, drawings and watercolours, arranged month by month, shows a year in the life of London, and reveals the city that is hidden in plain view. David's notes on his work offer us a privileged insight into how an artist sees and captures the ever-shifting light and colours, movement and figures of a teeming city as it moves through the seasons. He describes how he chooses techniques and materials to render the spellbound children at his grandchildren's Camden primary school; the spectacular transformation of Hendon's streets from brown to pink to green with April's cherry blossom; the strange world evoked by the city under snow. Through David's eyes we see London anew as he shows us how the sun turns rubbish-strewn ditches into enchanting waterside glades, or how just twenty-two lines on paper can deliver the dazzling complexity of Canary Wharf's windows.

This book is for everyone who would like to understand how an artist works, for lovers of the Olympic city that will be celebrated in London 2012, and for those who long to see a familiar world, transformed.

David Gentleman, born in London in 1930, is a watercolourist and printmaker, working in many media and scales. He has designed British stamps and coins and the platform-length mural at Charing Cross tube station, well-known to Londoners, that is blown up from his wood engravings. His studio is at the top of an early Victorian house in Camden Town between the crowded, rackety Camden Lock and the green spaces of Regent's Park and Primrose Hill.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Particular Books (3 May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846144736
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846144738
  • Product Dimensions: 14.7 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 142,378 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Exquisite and original as always, David Gentleman gives us delights and surprises on every page (Claire Tomalin )

So many of David Gentleman's drawings are for me familiar territory. I've lived in three of the locations he pictures and even have my hair cut in his barber's. David has spent a lifetime depicting with wit and affection a London he has made his own, in this book looking at some of its neglected corners. So London, You're Beautiful is a tribute which, if I can't quite endorse, it's only because beauty often brings with it exasperation. So for me (and I suspect for him) it's London, You're Beautiful -- so how about taking a bit more care of yourself? (Alan Bennett )

I cherish David Gentleman's marvellous new book of watercolours (Libby Purves The Times )

He delivers a poetry of exultant concentration...Gentleman is an artist-designer who has worked across an exceptionally wide range of formats (Julian Bell Guardian )

The artist and illustrator, 82, has been responsible for some of the most-seen public artworks in this country ... Just as memorable, in a different vein, is the work in Gentleman's gorgeous new book of watercolour paintings (Nancy Durrant The Times )

Well-known for his captivating illustrations...a highly talented artist (The Lady )

Perhaps the last of the great polymath designer / painters (Camden New Journal )

Selected as a Guardian Literary Event of 2012 (Guardian )

About the Author

David Gentleman is a painter and printmaker, working in many mediums. He has designed British postage stamps and coins, and the platform-length mural, blown up from his wood engravings, well-known to Londoners, at Charing Cross on the underground. His studio is at the top of an early Victorian house in Camden Town between the crowded, rackety Camden Lock and the green spaces of Regent's Park and Primrose Hill.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sketch and the City. 24 April 2012
By J. Mcdonald TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is an excellent little volume of work by the redoubtable David Gentleman, showcasing both his distinctive on-the-spot sketches and some his more finished studio works - hard to tell the difference sometimes - his style retains such freshness and immediacy.
I`m an artist myself; on receiving this book, I took it to pass around my painting students; "There you go, folks - that's how you should be keeping a sketchbook, look how easy it is!" Of course it isn't easy; Gentleman's ability to capture the essence of his subject in a few well-placed pen strokes are the product of both innate talent and years of practice in working from direct observation. Difficult three-point perspectives are rendered effortlessly in quite unforgiving media - dip pens, felt tips, watercolour. But the liveliness, the feeling of just "going for it" is inspirational - this is a book that will have wide appeal, but if you draw or sketch at all, you'll want this.
There is a short introduction by Mr. G. in which he reveals his materials and working practice and many of the notes throughout the volume mention the techniques used for specific illustrations - a couple of studies, for example on pages 354/355 are rendered using watercolour, wax resist and oil pastel, very reminiscent of John Piper.
London has long been a subject for Gentleman; I only have a tourist's knowledge of the city, but that hardly matters - his work captures the vibrancy, beauties and life of his subject admirably. The sheer amount of work, its diversity and execution packed into its 400 pages make this a highly recommendable book, whether you are a practicing artist or an interested layman.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just love it 22 Feb 2014
By PipC
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Just love David Gentleman's loose style. Captures so many of London's hidden gems. Must go and see some of the sites I am not familiar with.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just great! 4 Feb 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
What would you expect from David Gentleman but the best.
His enthusiasm for this great city, warts and all, is recorded in his great ability to depict graphically it's moods, people, architecture and diversity.
I bought a copy and then bought more for friends who had visited the city and one for a real Londoner how was delighted with it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic watercolours of London 23 Dec 2013
By C. Kidd
Format:Paperback
I've enjoyed over the last few months dipping in and out of London, You're Beautiful: An Artist's Year by David Gentleman. For a number of years I've had a love affair with London - the vibrancy and diversity of the city.

This little book (approx. A5 size), contains 400 pages of on-the-spot sketches and more polished studio works rather than the usual book of photographs of the city. The watercolours bring something different to the many familiar views covering a large range of the city over one calendar year showing the seasons and weather that London experiences.

It is clear from this book just how much Gentleman loves London and this book will be enjoyed by anyone who shares his love of this great city.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars David Gentleman 23 Dec 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A lovely artist, his paintings are always excellent, and his wife comes from Suffolk - enough said! Keep on painting David.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a perfect gift 16 May 2012
By the lambanana TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
WHO
===

The author, 82 year old David Gentleman has set about capturing London through the seasons.

SEASONS
=======
We know parks change massively from season to season but this book highlights the coldness of winter on some of London's gems and then the contrast of the summer sun on London's finest buildings.

QUALITY
=======
They're not photograph type quality, instead they are quite beautiful watercolours, which is ideal for capturing the look and feel of London.

THE ORBIT OLYMPIC SCULPTURE
===========================
It's up to date, including the Olympic mash of metal thing.

GIFT OR TREAT
=============
Whether you love or loathe London the book is a lovely coffee table type book. Ideal to dip in and out of.

An ideal gift for those who visit or live in our capitol city.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A charming collection 27 April 2012
By S. J. Williams TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This book is (generally) an absolute delight. From very sketchily produced scenes to more fully 'worked' pieces, Gentleman gives us a marvelous range of impressionistic images of London, from grand and imposing familiar scenes to the everyday and even prosaic. (See page 17 for the latter: a lovely little study of plastic crates on a cart.)

For me the interest lies less in 'London' than in the quality of the drawing and painting: with a few pen and ink lines and a limited range of colour washes, the images spring into life and many are really quite beautiful. Time after time I found my page turning arrested by a beautiful sketch such as Guildford Street (p96), a place I don't know and have little interest in finding, but the sketch is wonderful, not least for the economy of means. And while spaces and buildings dominate there are some superb drawings of people, whether as 'extras' to the main subject, or as the focal point of a captured moment (a young woman buying clothes - p303).

Some of the sketching with a heavier line does not, for me, always succeed, such as Bedford Square (p97), inside an Oxford Street department store (p393) and Queen Victoria Street (p60). And there are some surprising failures, in my opinion, amongst images of well-known sites: the British Museum's Great Court seems to have lost all its airy spaciousness which is part of its great appeal. But the successes far outweigh these minor misses. And many of the 'set piece' drawings of famous views and landmarks remind us why Gentleman has been such a successful artist.

The book itself, though a paperback, is really well made, with section sewn pages which won't fall out even with the frequent browsing this book is likely to get. It also has its own matt dustwrapper.

A lovely (not so) little book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Sketchers Paradise !
This book is a sketchers paradise !.
David Gentleman takes you through the changing seasons month by month over a year. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Orient 1948
4.0 out of 5 stars timeless visual diary of London
Gorgeous sketches and watercolours of varying quality of the architecture, bustle and atmosphere, and general panorama of London. Read more
Published 11 months ago by D&D
3.0 out of 5 stars Size a bit small
Bought as a gift - recipient very happy but it was a bit on the small size - next size up might have been better.
Published 13 months ago by jlp
5.0 out of 5 stars Artists' sketchbooks
Really enjoyed looking through the sketches. As an aspiring artist myself, it was also a great educational treat to see how the subject matter was simplified and presented to the... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Jayra
5.0 out of 5 stars London, You're Beautiful
Customer Video Review
Length: 1:21 Mins
Published 14 months ago by Parka
5.0 out of 5 stars IF YOU LOVE lONDON, YOU WILL LOVE THIS BOOK
It sits on the table and I find I am constantly picking it up and looking at some of the drawings and revisiting many places in London in my imagination. Read more
Published 17 months ago by B. Handcock
5.0 out of 5 stars The world's greatest city beautifully illustrated
This 400 page book provides a fascinating insight into into David Gentleman's perception of the hustle and bustle, architecture and overall cityscape of London. Read more
Published 17 months ago by William Percival
5.0 out of 5 stars David Gentleman
Love all of his illustrated books of cities around the wworld. Bought this as a present for a dear friend.
Published 20 months ago by ceegee
5.0 out of 5 stars crebes
David Gentleman is a particular favourite of mine and I have the majority of his publications. What is interesting about this is that there are recent drawings of places seen in... Read more
Published 23 months ago by Crebes
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