My experience of London’s most famous life drawing model

My experience of London’s most famous life drawing model

Barrie Novell

If you look through art history books you read about many muses and models who inspired countless artists. I used to think this only happened in the romanticised bohemian art history books, until last Friday when I read on Facebook that one of my favourite life models, Barrie Novell, had sadly passed away. Suddenly I started seeing more and more posts from fellow artists who had all drawn Barrie as well.

Barrie stood out as a model, his booming voice and charisma filled the room. I remember my first time drawing him as a life drawing ‘newbie’ it was the week after the Brexit vote and as I was the only European in the class, he asked to marry me as he didn’t want to leave Europe. 10 minutes later I got to experience Barrie’s special pose he did for all the new commers, I won’t go into details of what that was. Needless to say, all my fellow classmates found it hilarious I was now one of them and the wider London life drawing community.


Many other people across London probably have very similar experiences.

As anyone who has ever done life drawing will know is most students have  a pile of drawings at the end of the year needless to say across  London a stockpile of Barrie drawings must exist.

Want to see more of this iconic model his portrait was featured in the national portrait gallery many times and he was on the front cover of ‘Royal society of Portrait Painters 2017’

Experiences mentioned are from Walthamstow Life Drawing at the nags head

They will be part of E17 Art Trail (location number 155)


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