Central Arcade

Central Arcade
Central Arcade

Newcastle upon Tyne

Newcastle upon Tyne is full of architectural treasures, one of which is the Central Arcade. It’s a stunning Edwardian shopping arcade built in 1906 within the Central Exchange. Built by Richard Grainger in 1836-1838 to the designs of John Wardle and George Walker, it’s a triangular building. I’ve painted the outside of the building on many occasions. It often appears in my paintings of Grey street, Grainger Street and Market Street. Folk in Newcastle will best remember the Central Arcade as the home of J.G. Windows music. I recall going in to the basement to check out the latest rock music releases as a long haired Genesis fan many years ago!

Watercolours of Newcastle

Back in 1993 I was commissioned to do an original watercolour of the Central Arcade in Newcastle. At the time, I was doing a series of paintings of Newcastle taken from ariel perspectives. The clients had commissioned two other paintings along that theme. They wanted the one of the arcade to be viewed from above too. This was a challenging task, as the Central Arcade is enclosed by a glass roof. Also, there is no public access to the balcony that is on the first floor. I managed to find the caretaker at the time. He allowed me to climb through a small window from a room that overlooked the shopping area below. From this unique vantage point, I was able to take some photographs which were good enough to paint from.


There’s nearly always somebody busking in the arcade but unfortunately on this occasion there wasn’t. A few days later I drew my son Oliver playing his violin. I got him to play on our driveway. Sketching him from an upstairs bedroom window gave me the correct perspective. I was so pleased with the end result that I decided to reproduce the original watercolour as a limited edition print with only 250 in the edition.

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