LoveEast is proud to collaborate with Spitalfields Life to present part two of the exclusive preview of East End Vernacular
This handsome art monograph assembles a magnificent selection of pictures, tracing the evolution of painting styles and illustrating the changing character of the East London streets throughout the last century
Here, The Gentle Author presents a series of extracts from his book…
Compiling a selection of the wonderful paintings of the East End done by artists from the area has been an emotional experience.
I learned that too many of them struggled against prejudice, some because they were poor, some because they were women or some simply because they were East Enders.
In the early 20th century, Grace Oscroft’s family ran a bicycle shop opposite Bow Church and she attended art classes at the Bow & Bromley Institute.
There her tutor, John Cooper, recognised her remarkable talent for painting.
While she was still in her 20s, she won the honour of having a picture hung in the Tate gallery, yet the Evening Standard referred to her as an “East End shopgirl artist”.
As the only daughter, she was expected to keep house for her parents and her brothers, and she never pursued her painting after the age of 30.
John Allin began to paint while imprisoned and achieved considerable success in the 60s and 70s for his paintings of East End street scenes done from memory.
Being an ex-con fuelled his reputation yet his pictures were labelled “naïve” and “primitive”, which denied the sophistication and complexity of his talent as a painter.
Allin had received a disproportionate sentence for receiving three shirts by a judge who wanted to make an example of a cockney.
Supporting herself by working as an artist’s model, Doreen Fletcher painted the East End streets for 20 years from 1980 until the year 2000, when she gave up and put her pictures away in her attic.
During this time the art world was concerned primarily with conceptualism and Doreen’s work was met with a total lack of interest.
If I had not met her a few years ago, her brilliant paintings would still be in her attic but once I showed them on Spitalfields Life, Doreen immediately received recognition for her astonishing talent. I am proud to feature her in East End Vernacular.
Copies of East End Vernacular can be ordered from spitalfieldslife.com for £25.