My son was meeting friends in town (for the first time!) to go to the Mart – the funfair which starts its annual migration on 14th February at King’s Lynn. For him this was the prospect of much excitement, for me the prospect of a couple of hours in town with nothing to occupy me. I planned to spend my time in the Museum, but when I arrived, complete with sketching kit and high hopes, it turned out it was closed. Oh.

Too cold to sketch outdoors for a wuss like me, my Plan B was to try the Library. King’s Lynn Library is a Victorian building, made from local carrstone and red brick in ornate style. I walked round in the bitter wind, and behold! It was, amazingly, open.

I was not the only person seeking sanctuary there. There was a diverse selection of patrons, a strong reminder for me of the invaluable service libraries like this one provide to a very wide cross-section of the community.


The library was as lovely inside as out, with lots of high, small-paned windows and wooden shelves. And lovely plants! I commandeered a comfortable chair near to what I thought would be a good view. The plants seemed so happy on their window-ledge, they had to be the stars.

For once I took the time to do a proper pencil sketch, as I was worried about perspective issues. Then a fineliner for the main lines, at which point I took a photo (on my phone, hence the awful quality), fearing that adding paint would mess up the picture entirely.

Lynn library ink drawing

But nothing ventured, nothing gained (plus I still had 45 minutes left), so I got stuck in with the watercolours, trying to render an approximation of the deep brown of the sandstone window, and the terracotta pots. The light was very interesting because although the sky was bright outside, the internal lighting was bright too, so I didn’t see the kinds of shadows and highlights you’d normally expect. The shelves and audiobooks were last to be added, and I think it shows. I was rushing then, because my time had flown and it was time to pack up.

Lynn library watercolour

On reflection, the area I like best is the reflected purple/blue light on the window opening and the way it contrasts with the view of the carrstone building behind. All in all, this was a happy afternoon, both for me and my son, proving that you can at least please all of the people some of the time.


30 thoughts on “Sanctuary

  1. A beautiful painting 🙂 You’re so lucky to have such a beautiful library to while away a few hours in. Glad to hear that your son’s solo trip went well too, it can be a bit nerve wracking (for the parents) when they begin to spread their wings a little!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful painting, Rebecca – love the intrigue of outside the window, and it has a sort of gentle, quiet feeling to it that suits the library. And what a lovely place it is – very jealous. I’d be camping in there frequently!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My husband’s family used to live in King’s Lynn 100+ years ago & we went there for a long weekend. It is such a lovely town – I wish we had more time to explore you. I love your sketch – it seems to capture the peacefulness and beauty of the library.

    Liked by 1 person

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