Doreen Fletcher’s East End
Hairdresser, Ben Jonson Rd, 2001
It is my pleasure to publish this selection of the remarkable paintings and drawings created by Doreen Fletcher in the East End between 1983 and 2003, seen publicly for the very first time.
“I was discouraged by the lack of interest,” admitted Doreen to me plainly, explaining why she gave up after twenty years of doing this work. For the past decade, all these pictures have sat in Doreen’s attic until I persuaded her to take them out yesterday and let me photograph them for publication here.
Doreen came to the East End in 1983 from West London. “My marriage broke up and I met someone new who lived in Clemence St, E14,” she revealed, “it was like another world in those days.” Yet Doreen immediately warmed to her new home and felt inspired to paint. “I loved the light, it seemed so sharp and clear in the East End, and it reminded me of the working class streets in the Midlands where I grew up,” she confided to me, “It disturbed me to see these shops and pubs closing and being boarded up, so I thought, ‘I must make a record of this,’ and it gave me a purpose.”
For twenty years, Doreen conscientiously sent off transparencies of her pictures to galleries, magazines and competitions, only to receive universal rejection. As a consequence, she forsook her artwork entirely in 2003 and took a managerial job, and did no painting for the next ten years. But eventually, Doreen had enough of this too and has recently rediscovered her exceptional forgotten talent.
Many of Doreen’s pictures exist as the only record of places that have long gone and I publish her work today in the hope that she will now receive the recognition she deserves, not just for outstanding quality of her painting but also for her brave perseverance in pursuing her clear-eyed vision of the East End in spite of the lack of any interest or support.
Bartlett Park, 1990
Terminus Restaurant, 1984
Bus Stop, Mile End, 1983
Terrace in Commercial Rd under snow, 2003
Shops in Commercial Rd, 2003
Snow in Mile End Park, 1986
Laundrette, Ben Jonson Rd, 2001
The Lino Shop, 2001
Caird & Rayner Building, Commercial Rd, 2001
Rene’s Cafe, 1986
SS Robin, 1996
Benji’s Mile End, 1992
Railway Bridge, 1990
St Matthias Church, 1990
The Albion Pub, 1992
Turner’s Rd, 1998
The Condemned House, 1983
Leslie’s Grocer, Turner’s Rd, 1983 (Pencil Drawing)
Newsagents, Canning Town, 1991 (Coloured Crayon Drawing)
Bridge Wharf, 1984 (Pencil Drawing)
Pubali Cafe, Commercial Rd, 1990 (Coloured Crayon Drawing)
Ice Crean Van, 1990 (Coloured Crayon Drawing)
Images copyright © Doreen Fletcher
You may also like to take a look at