Tuesday, 20 March 2012

The North Portal of Cologne Cathedral

This is really a follow up post to the Cologne Cathedral post of a few days ago, see 3 below. In that post I told how my wife, Pat, first came across Cologne Cathedral in 1962.

 We'd got married when we were both just  21 (I'm three days older) in 1959. To save you counting we've been married 53 years - she still introduces me as her first husband, she reckons it keeps me on my toes! OK, so we grew up in the Rock 'n Roll years when Elvis was still trying to get established. Both born before World War 2 .... ''strewth and we're still only kids !

The North Portal, Cologne Cathedral. -  Pen & Ink 20" x 11" John Simlett 1995
When we stood waiting for the tram outside the cathedral, in those far past days, we would often peer into the big 'Dom Hotel', next door, and watch the coming and goings of the rich and the  ...er.. rich. We read the menu outside the main door, and soon realised we couldn't afford a coffee in there, let alone a meal. Similarly we watched the Rhine steamers cruising up and down the Rhine full of tourists.... and couldn't afford them either....the steamers not the tourists :0)
... But!.....
         ... we came back twenty years later. I had spent the years in between as aircrew on long range jet aircraft. I was posted to Germany in 1979 onto the F4 Phantom: fighter aircraft ...Woo Hoo, home most nights and time to draw for the first time in my life and which led to me leaving the RAF three years later to turn professional....
                            ... we laid the ghosts....
                                                                   ...We dined, as a family, in the Dom Hotel! We cruised the Rhine on the steamers ... and much else in the adventure story of an Air Force family, which now included three sons and a daughter.

 Here's a drawing I made in 1995 to commemorate our return. It's a fairly large picture 15" x 12" and doesn't like computers very much.


  1. I love the story behind this drawing! It really made me chuckle! I wonder how many newly weds stood outside pondering over the price of a coffee as you were dining! It proves that good things do come to those who wait :0)
    The drawing is amazing! I really don't think I would have either the skill or patience to do such precise and intricate work. It's quite remarkable :0)

  2. Glad you liked the story. I don't know why I have to draw like this ... it's what I do. I love 'church' architecture, but there's not a lot of call for it - most commissions are typically for aircraft, or off-shore oil rigs (I did the whole of the Brent field for Shell).
    I am writing a self-illustrated biography of the first aviators in Britain though... which is a flying machines - perhaps I should blog about that.

  3. Wow John, this drawing is simply amazing. The depth of detail is quite astounding, but there's such feeling and expression there too. Really, really well done. And I enjoyed the story just as much as Sandra. :)) And just wanted to say thank you for visiting my blog and for your kind comments.

  4. I am really flattered, Crystal. Thank you for your kind remarks. As you may have gathered ... you water colour (color)artists have quite taken my breath away with the sheer brilliance of your work. The generosity you all show to each other is really heartening in this cynical old world.

  5. incredible façade john ..you have a wonderful gift ..precious memories ..the cathedral is so dramatic we visited koln a few years ago...thankyou for visiting my blog

  6. Jane, how incredibly nice of you to dig so deep into my blog and leave such a kind comment. We loved/love Cologne, and Germany/Germans.