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So Long, Harry The Pencil

February 20, 2023
by the gentle author

I was very sorry to learn of the death of Harry Harrison (1947-2023) – also known as Harry the Pencil – at the age of seventy-six last Wednesday 15th February.

When I visited him in Mile End once, he showed me this modest little sketchbook that he filled when he was working in Great Sutton St, Clerkenwell, undertaking a single half hour drawing each lunch hour  – most are nearby his office but you will spot a few further afield in Soho, Kings Cross, Hatton Garden & Spitalfields.

Drawings copyright © Estate of Harry Harrison

26 Responses leave one →
  1. Peter H permalink
    February 20, 2023

    What a talent Mr Harrison had. His sketches simplify amazing detail and perspective. Especially admired the Barbican.

  2. Winnie permalink
    February 20, 2023

    These are wonderful. All recognisable without their titles. Lovely notes on some of them of the overheard line of conversation as people pass by. R.I.P Harry. What a great talent.

  3. Max permalink
    February 20, 2023

    These are wonderful.

    I’m sorry to hear of Harry’s passing but I loved seeing how beautifully he captured moments of his life.

  4. Jill Wilson permalink
    February 20, 2023

    Sad to hear of his death but what fantastic drawings he has left us. His depiction of so many different bits of London architecture is superb.

    I just wish I had the discipline to do a half hour sketch in my lunchtime!

  5. February 20, 2023

    HARRY HARRISON (1947-2023) — R.I.P

    Love & Peace

  6. February 20, 2023

    Gorgeous drawings to have as a legacy. They’d make lovely postcards.

  7. Geoff Perrin permalink
    February 20, 2023

    These are wonderful. I’d love to own one.

  8. Peter Harrison permalink
    February 20, 2023

    Absolutely first-class drawings-are there more?

  9. Marcia Howard permalink
    February 20, 2023

    Truly fabulous images, and showing such talent. A bit of a sobering thought as he was only a year older than me. RIP Harry The Pencil.

  10. Annie S permalink
    February 20, 2023

    Beautiful detailed drawings, I really love them.
    RIP Harry and condolences to his family and friends.

  11. Kate Bacon permalink
    February 20, 2023

    These are beautiful. I’m glad you got to meet with Harry so you could share his work. Thank you.

  12. Milo permalink
    February 20, 2023

    Absolutely lovely drawings. Who knows what talent is amongst us as we nibble contemplatively on our ‘pret’ sarnie?

  13. Philip Marriage permalink
    February 20, 2023

    Lovely work – so natural.

  14. Richard Smith permalink
    February 20, 2023

    I really, really like these drawings. Harry was clearly a vert talented artist. I love his individual style of drawing, I wish I could draw like it. Love and Peace Harry.

  15. February 20, 2023

    “Americans are now welcome.”

    I have to be thankful about that, because it would be devastating to be unwelcome in one of my favourite places in the world.

    Thank you, Harry the Pencil, for gifting us with these glorious drawings. When I look at them I can visit my favourite places whenever I like.

    Go in peace.

  16. David Antscherl permalink
    February 20, 2023

    A wonderful talent, both eye and ear. The snippets of conversation recorded are gems, as well as the drawings themselves. Pace, Harry the Pencil.

  17. Cherub permalink
    February 20, 2023

    These sketches are lovely, they come alive when you look at them. They deserve to be on show in a gallery collection.

  18. Marcia Howard permalink
    February 20, 2023

    Great humour in some of them too, especially the Hatton Garden one!

  19. Akkers permalink
    February 20, 2023

    Sad news about Harry. These drawings were really good – what a talented man he was and its great that he left us with these drawings.

  20. February 20, 2023

    I shared this post with some of my art colleagues who are involved with the Urban Sketchers
    project. They were enthralled.

    Wonderful, insightful, skillful sketches. I love the way he was able to convey the volume of
    the buildings, structures — not an easy thing to accomplish. As the artist jotted down:
    “Look for the strongness of things”.

    Thanks for shining a light.

  21. Sue permalink
    February 20, 2023

    Lovely work.

  22. gkbowood permalink
    February 21, 2023

    Now that’s a book I ‘d love to see you get published! His sketchbook is amazing- I want a bound volume so much! What a commemeration that would be.

  23. Baden Smith permalink
    February 21, 2023

    Sad to hear of Harry’s demise, but relieved that it has not gone unobserved, thanks to your offices. What a legacy he’s left.

    May I endorse Susan Hadley’s suggestion – if you ever go into producing sets of postcards, put me down as a customer.

  24. Ann permalink
    February 21, 2023

    Such brilliant pictures.
    Now rest in peace Harry x

  25. Nora permalink
    March 10, 2023

    Beautiful drawings. I love the quality of Harry’s line. Wish I could draw like this…

  26. Keith (Puddy)Robertson permalink
    May 5, 2023

    I only found out about the passing of a dear friend David(Harry)Harrison by my daughter Cordelia find him on Google last night. Harry , Paddy King, David Cooper and myself were inseparable in our school years at The Hewitt School in Norwich, we all lived in West Earlham in Norwich and I think that was the bond. Harry has always been a terrific artist , his first portraits were drawn in coal in my mum and dads whitewashed coal shed, wish we had photos but we couldn’t afford a camera in those days, Harry was the achiever working after we left school at Fielden and Mawson architects in Norwich , he knew his prospects would be better in London and he got married there. His wedding invites were hand drawn with him and his fiancée on the front in pencil just like a photograph. Rest in peace Harry always the artist.
    Regards Puddy and Barbs

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