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Doreen Fletcher’s East End, Then & Now

June 6, 2016
by the gentle author

Recently, Contributing Photographer Alex Pink accompanied Doreen Fletcher on a pilgrimage to visit the locations of many of her paintings and Alex photographed what they discovered …

Benji’s Mile End, 1992

Mile End church seen from the park, 1986

The Albion Pub, 1992

Snow in Mile End Park, 1986

Park with train, 1990

Limehouse library, 1986

Shops in Commercial Rd, 2003

Terrace in Commercial Rd under snow, 2003

Brickfields Gardens, 1986

Grand Union Canal, 1983

Hairdresser, Ben Jonson Rd 2001

Rene’s Cafe, 1986

Bus Stop, Mile End, 1983

The Condemned House, 1983

Caird & Rayner Building, Commercial Rd, 2001

Paintings copyright © Doreen Fletcher

Photographs copyright © Alex Pink

Doreen Fletcher’s exhibition LOST TIME opens on Friday 10th June at Townhouse, 5 Fournier St, Spitalfields and runs daily until 26th June

You may also like to take a look at

Doreen Fletcher’s Paintings

14 Responses leave one →
  1. Vanda Human permalink
    June 6, 2016

    It is so sad to see how many of the old buildings have been “destroyed” by graffitti or demolished. Certain of the buildings remind me of my 3rd world country South Africa. Such a pity that so many people have no regard for other peoples property.

  2. David Wallbank permalink
    June 6, 2016

    I really love Doreen’s paintings and the photographer has excelled in finding the exact spots in (I assume with the church it wasn’t possible to get it spot on). If this is read by the administrator – I was a little disappointed that my ‘signed’ John Claridge by ordered by post was not actually signed – especially as I went to the launch do at the French Housr & could have picked one up.

  3. June 6, 2016

    Thanks for showing how the places look today. Valerie

  4. Rachel permalink
    June 6, 2016

    A fascinating comparison between the paintings and the reality of the area’s features and landmarks now. So glad Doreen has finally got a much-deserved exhibition- the paintings are really interesting- and the way she has depicted light in them changes the mundane views into being both unique, socially important and beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Robert Green permalink
    June 6, 2016

    When I look at these then and now comparisons I can’t really see anything that looks better now than it did then, in fact to me the vast majority of locations look much worse now, but with regard to the paintings themselves what these comparisons do emphasize is the incredible accuracy and realism of the artwork, to my eye some of these paintings are virtually indistinguishable from their photographic alternatives, the fact that this exceptional work has been virtually ignored until it started to appear on Spitalfieldslife says far more to me about the ‘false’ ‘elitest’ ‘snob ridden’ artworld than it dose about the quality of Doreen Fletcher’s incredibly talented work, in fact I would even go so far as to pose the question that if this collection of work had been the subject of anything other than largely anonymous views of East London would it still have been ignored by the art ‘establishment’ in the same way ? ? thankfully due to the efforts of the Spitalfieldslife community this wonderful collection of work will now at least get some degree of the recognition it so richly deserves, ps, I would just like to thank all the people who took the trouble to post comments on yesterdays feature on myself, thank you.

  6. Robert permalink
    June 6, 2016

    Great post. Love the before and after scenes but it proves that time has it effect upon the urban landscape as different areas are both left to decay and become gentrified.

  7. Greg Tingey permalink
    June 6, 2016

    Infill is my first reaction – empty spaces with new-build shoehorned into them.
    Then the small shops closing.
    Vanda Human is wrong though – there actually is not that much outright demolition-without-replacement ….

  8. peter harrison permalink
    June 6, 2016

    Well done to Alex Pink for documenting so precisely the sites of Doreen Fletcher’s paintings. In some ways the exercise illuminates some of the main differences between photography and painting as different, yet supporting, art forms. The poetry of Doreen’s paintings is even more poignant because the photographs show how very fragile in many cases the human presence in the urban environment can be. Very sad to see how many of the small shops have simply been wiped out, testifying to the growing anonymity of London as an urban environment.

  9. Linda Granfield permalink
    June 6, 2016

    Terrific comparisons. I like the number of trees that have been left to mature; the buildings are gone but Nature is left to add depth and detail.

    Is the Limehouse Library surrounded by the blue tarps/fences because it will be demolished?
    Hope not!

  10. Gabrielle permalink
    June 9, 2016

    Wonderful series of amazing paintings featuring a special place in my heart, the East End. Pity so much character lost with regeneration. Struck by how ugly the yellow painted ‘boxes’ on roads are. They go uncommented on usually but road markings and street ‘furniture’ is blight on our society.More about money making businesses than safety!

  11. Anna McGregor permalink
    June 9, 2016

    The paintings so beautifully elevate mundane views. The photographic references serve to emphasise Doreen’s superb talent as a painter and colourist.

  12. Helen permalink
    June 10, 2016

    What great then and now views. Doreen’s paintings are fab!

  13. Joe permalink
    June 26, 2016

    I managed to see Doreen Fletcher’s Lost Time Painting’s on the last day of the exhibition and was impressed with the quality of her Art. Her painting’s of the old East End is a record a bygone age that is now largely lost. I was born in the old East East and my Father worked in the Docks so l was eager to buy one of her Paintings but was disappointed to find all the Paintings sold. Congratulations Doreen, a Fantastic exhibition. I’m looking forward to the next one.

  14. Michael Ayres permalink
    September 3, 2016

    Very sad to see so much character lost forever.

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