Martin Karlsson’s pictures outside Tate Modern

The garden at the back of Tate Modern has gone to make way for the extension and its worksite.

However, the long hoarding round the back has just been decorated with over a hundred drawings by Swedish artist Martin Karlsson.

He includes places on the Thames Path which you may have just passed such as St Saviour’s Dock and the little St Mary Overy Dock by Southwark Cathedral.

He also has a drawing of Stephen Duncan’s Old Father Thames relief found upstream on Elm Quay.

Martin calls his show London: An Imagery after Gustav Dore’s 19th-century book of drawings. It’s worth looking round the back.

See pages 31, 34 and 40.

Lowest tide next week

The Thames will have its lowest tide for five years on the morning of Wednesday 3 March.

Thames 21, London’s waterways charity, is organising a deep clean of the river bed. Volunteers are invited to put on old clothes and meet at the south end of Hammersmith Bridge at 11am.  The event will be over by 1.30pm.

Maidenhead improves Cliveden view towpath

News has reached me of improvements to the path between Islet Park House in Maidenhead and Cookham’s Mill Lane.

This comes from the Royal Borough of Maidenhead which has been responsible, with a Natural England grant, for widening the path and repairing the bank.

The erosion problems were mainly tackled early last year whilst the new stone surface and reduced gradient at bridges are more recent achievements.

I look forward to enjoying it shortly. Not all improvements are for the better but it is interesting that thought has been given to people with impaired mobility on this very attractive stretch with Cliveden views.

See page 100.

Paul Nash and Wittenham Clumps

Paul Nash’s Wittenham Clumps painting is on the poster advertising the Paul Nash exhibition at Dulwich Picture Gallery. It’s also the cover picture for the catalogue.

This star picture, called Landscape of the Vernal Equinox, has been lent by the Queen. This is because the painting was purchased by the Queen Mother who hung it at Clarence House.

It was one of Paul Nash’s last works and was painted in 1943 from far away Boar’s Hill where he used binoculors.

He attempted the view 26 times so it’s interesting to find in the exhibition an early watercolour, dated about 1913, of Wittenham Clumps.

This first picture is painted from the other side when Nash stayed with his uncle at Sinodun House on the road out of Wallingford. This is appropriate for another name for the landmark is the Sinodun Hills.

At the time he wrote about the marvellous countryside with “grey hollowed hills crowned by old trees”.

The show has other early work clearly influenced by William Blake. There are also pictures of Swanage where he spent much time.

Paul Nash: The Elements continues at Dulwich Picture Gallery daily except Mondays; admission £9; until Sunday 9 May.

See page 154.

New lighting in Southwark’s Clink Street

Clink Street, running under Cannon Street railway line bridge, used to be a delightful Dickensian road between warehouses. It may be too light soon.

The details are on the London SE1 website.

Although this stretch of the Thames Path, just west of Southwark Cathedral, is not alongside water it was thought to be an important part of the river experience in London when the national trail was planned in the 1980s.

Zoffany 200

This year is the 200th anniverary of Johan Zoffany’s death.

The artist, closely associated with the River Thames, died on 11 November 1810.

It seems that the bicentenary exhibition planned appropriately for Thames-side Tate Britain has been cancelled for fear that it will not attract enough people.

The Royal Academy of Arts has stepped in but cannot fit it in until 2012. Fortunately that will be the 250th anniversary of Zoffany’s arrival in England from Germany.

But this year there is publication of a book Johan Zoffany: Artist and Adventurer by Penelope Treadwell (PHP £50; paperback £30).

This seems expensive but the book is a delight and has 200 colour illustrations.

The author is an expert in her field and was fired to write the book by living in Zoffany’s riverside house at Strand-on-the-Green.

When Zoffany lived in Covent Garden he had a country home at Chiswick. Its church is depicted in The Sharp Family painted in 1779. The family are on the towpath opposite with the Thames and church seen to one side of the group.

He knew Hampton well and in 1762 had painted David Garrick and his wife taking tea by the river. He also depicted them outside the Shakespeare Temple, again with a river view.

The artist is most associated with Kew where he is buried in the churchyard on the green. His tomb looks out to the Thames and his house beyond at Strand-on-the-Green.

See pages 54, 55 & 68.