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East End Vernacular At Abbott & Holder

January 10, 2018
by the gentle author


It is my great pleasure to curate a room of paintings from my book EAST END VERNACULAR, Artists who painted London’s East End streets in the 20th century, alongside a room of previously un-exhibited watercolours from the thirties by East End artist Henry Silk (1883-1948) at Abbott & Holder in Museum St, Bloomsbury. The exhibition opens at 6pm on Thursday 18th January and runs until Saturday 10th February.

As a complement to the work of Henry Silk who was one of the leading figures of the East London Group in the thirties, I have chosen a selection of paintings by post-war and contemporary artists who took the legacy forward. My selection includes a picture by Roland Collins from the fifties, rarely seen works by John Allin and Dan Jones from the seventies, Doreen Fletcher’s and Peri Parkes’ paintings from the eighties and concludes with recent works by James Mackinnon and Nicholas Borden.

Together these pictures illustrate an extraordinary and vital continuum of painting in the East End which spans the twentieth century and extends into our own time.

If you would like to attend my gallery talk at 6:30pm on Thursday 25th January, please call 020 7637 3981 to reserve a place.



Railway from Rounton Road, Bow

Factories in Bow

Street scene, Bow

Street scene

Approach to Victoria Park

Pond, Victoria Park

Boat Houses, Victoria Park

Blossom in the garden, Rounton Rd, Bow

If any readers can further identify the locations of any of these Henry Silk watercolours please get in touch.


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Henry Silk, Artist

4 Responses leave one →
  1. January 10, 2018

    On the first floor of this building, from 1928-31, the great slang lexicographer Eric Partridge ran his publishing imprint, the Scholartis (‘Scholars and Artists’) Press. The venture failed – the Depression – but EP had already ventured into slang and the rest, at least for those who note such things, is lexicographical history. (PS. I want to campaign for a blue plaque, but the arrangement of windows may make it impossible to site it).

  2. pauline taylor permalink
    January 10, 2018

    The comment above re Eric Partridge reminds me of one of the most amusing titles of a book that we have ever had in our shop. It reads Name Your Child Eric Partridge.

  3. Martin Palmer permalink
    January 10, 2018

    Gentle Author, did Henry Silk do a watercolour of the greenhouses at Victoria Park?

  4. January 14, 2018

    This was in fact a book by EP, published in 1968. However, I note a comment on Pinterest: ‘It was always a running joke in our house when the question of what to name a new kid or pet we would all shout “Eric Partridge!”‘

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