East End Vernacular

We were kindly sent a copy of the book East End Vernacular:  Artists who painted London’ East End Streets in the 20th. century which the Gentle Author has produced about artists who have depicted East London.   They were mostly locals, trained in the art classes held at the Bethnal Green Men’s Institute, members of the East London Group, and exhibiting at the East London Art Club or the Whitechapel Gallery (during the 1930s, it had an East End Academy).   The style is mostly one of painstaking topographical precision, showing the streets as they were when still much more densely built.   But the book includes, for example, the work of Lawrence Gowing RA who, although the son of a draper on Mare Street, was sent away to boarding school and studied painting at the Euston Road School under William Coldstream;  Anthony Eyton RA who was educated at Canford and studied painting at Reading before the war and Camberwell after;  and Jock McFadyen RA, who has created his own vision of industrial dereliction round Salmon Lane and beyond.   I was surprised that more space wasn’t devoted to the work of Adam Dant, whose graphic views of Spitalfields the Gentle Author has rightly promoted.   But he includes several good discoveries, including the work of Pericles Parkes, who was born in Hampstead Garden Suburb, trained at the Slade, and later lived in Stepney and painted atmospheric big city, as well as back garden, views.


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