RDS Recommends with David Gardner

March 31, 2024

David Gardner, artist, RDS tutor and Drawing Year alumnus, takes us through his perfect Bank Holiday Monday in London including art, food and some historic cultural gems...


Maison_Bertaux @Maison Bertaux

Maison Bertaux, Greek Street, Soho, W1D 5DQ

This is a good place to start the day for breakfast. I usually go for the French Almond Croissant or the Cheese Croissant. I’m sure there will be hot cross buns this Easter weekend. It all goes together perfectly with a pot of Earl Grey tea. I go early in the day and catch up with Tania and the regulars. There is a beautiful collection of oil paintings (interior spaces, still life, and lush landscapes) in the upstairs gallery, painted by the artist Jon Wealleans. Maison Bertaux is my favourite place in all of London. They have been baking French patisserie on the premises since 1871. A true gem of Soho.


The Courtauld, Somerset House, Strand, WC2R 0RN

Venture down to The Courtauld to see Jasper Johns: The Seasons – a new group of prints created by one of my favourite artists. Frank Auerbach’s Charcoal Heads are on display too! I always make a b-line to Manet’s painting A Bar at the Folies-Bergère – this is one of my all-time favourite paintings.

St Mary le Strand @St Mary le Strand

St Mary le Strand, Strand, WC2R 1ES

Cross over the road to St Mary le Strand church. The church is a fine and beautiful example of baroque design by James Gibbs, and it is about to be beautifully restored. It’s a nice place to sit in peace and quiet amongst the busy hum of central London. I like to draw and write here.

Waterloo-Bridge-588x408 @London Metropolitan Archives, City of London

Waterloo Bridge
Take a slow walk over Waterloo bridge and look both ways. How wonderful London is!


Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre, SE1 8XX

I have seen some amazing exhibitions at the Hayward Gallery. They always curate engaging shows. Walking around this brutalist building is exciting enough, but it is currently filled with sculpture with the show When Forms Come Alive. Spanning over 60 years of contemporary sculpture, this exhibition highlights ways in which artists draw on familiar experiences of movement, flux and organic growth.

Zedel @Zedel

Brasserie Zedel, Picadilly, W1F 7ED

By now you’ve worked up an appetite! So on to Brasserie Zedel you go! Brasserie Zédel is a grand Parisian Brasserie with an authentic Art Deco interior. Hidden underneath the ZL Café in the heart of Piccadilly, it serves traditional French food at exceptional value, with a 3-course meal starting at under £20. There is usually live music whilst you dine.

The French House @The Franch House

The French House, Dean St, Soho W1D 5BG
And a short walk back through Soho to the French House pub. Filled to the brim with a beautiful mix of people from all walks of life. A true melting pot to have a half pint tipple. Pictures of Francis Bacon, Maggie Hambling and other legends hang on the walls. You’re in good company here. Get a table in the corner if you’re lucky and grab your sketchbook to draw the regulars.

David Gardner is a practising artist whose work deals with themes of presence, absence, memory and trace. After graduating from The Drawing Year in 2019 he joined our tutor training programme and now  teaches on our Public Programme. He regularly exhibits nationally and internationally and he has won numerous awards including the ACS Studio Prize. His work can be found in the collections of Victoria and Albert Museum; the Sir Paul Smith Collection and private collections in Africa, Europe, UK and USA.

Follow @boy.bitten.by.lizzard or visit www.studiodavidgardner.com