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East End Vernacular

June 11, 2017
by the gentle author

Provisional cover design featuring ‘St James Rd, Old Ford’ by Henry Silk


With your help, this October I plan to publish EAST END VERNACULAR, a beautifully illustrated hardback book celebrating the work of artists who painted London’s East End streets in the 20th century.

In recent years, the East London Group of painters has been successfully reclaimed from obscurity – but I have found there are plenty of equally wonderful artists who came before and after who also deserve to be recognised, and a survey of all this important work is long overdue. Many of the paintings in the book have not been published before and many of these are by artists who have been unjustly neglected.


There are three ways you can help:

1. I am seeking readers who are willing to invest £1000 in EAST END VERNACULAR to help me bring recognition to this important aspect of East End culture, by cherishing these magnificent paintings in a handsome book. In return, we will publish your name in the book and invite you to a celebratory dinner hosted by yours truly at the end of June. If you would like to know more, please drop me an email

2. Preorder a copy of EAST END VERNACULAR and you will receive your copy in the first week of October when the book is published. Click here to preorder your copy

3. If you own a painting of a street scene that you believe should be included in EAST END VERNACULAR please send me a photograph of it


On this page, you will find a selection of works from some of those artists we mean to include in EAST END VERNACULAR: John Allin, Pearl Binder, James Boswell, Roland Collins, Alfred Daniels, Anthony Eyton, Doreen Fletcher, Geoffrey Fletcher, Barnett Freedman, Noel Gibson, Charles Ginner, Harry Harmer, Elwin Hawthorne, Rose Henriques, Dan Jones, Nathaniel Kornbluth, Leon Kossoff, Cyril Mann, Jock McFadyen, Ronald Morgan, Grace Oscroft, Henry Silk, Harold Steggles, Walter Steggles & Albert Turpin.

The book will include a Prologue with paintings by nineteenth century artists and an Epilogue with works by artists painting the East End streets today including Nicholas Borden, Peta Bridle, Eleanor Crow, Adam Dant, Marc Gooderham, Joanna Moore & Lucinda Rogers.

I shall be opening the Write Idea Festival at the Idea Store in Whitechapel in November with an illustrated lecture on the artists in EAST END VERNACULAR and we are working with Hatchards to promote the book in the West End. There are forthcoming exhibitions this autumn of East London Group paintings at the Nunnery Gallery in Bow and at Southampton City Art Gallery where we will be doing EAST END END VERNACULAR events. Additionally, Townhouse in Spitalfields will be hosting a new Doreen Fletcher exhibition in October.

Consultants to the book include: Fiona Atkins, an expert on 20th century British Art and curator of Doreen Fletcher’s debut exhibition, David Buckman, author of From Bow to Biennale which rescued the East London Group from obscurity, Vicky Stewart, the genius researcher who discovered the Spitalfields Nippers and Alan Waltham who is the authority on the East London Group.

The book is designed by Friederike Huber, the distinguished book designer who has previously designed Brick Lane, East End, London Life, Spitalfields Nippers, Travellers Children in London FieldsUnderground for Spitalfields Life Books.

Over the next week, I shall be publishing features about some of the artists from EAST END VERNACULAR


John Allin – Spitalfields Market, 1972

Pearl Binder – Aldgate, 1932 (Courtesy of Bishopsgate Institute)

James Boswell – Petticoat Lane (Courtesy of David Buckman)

Roland Collins – Brushfield St, Spitalfields, 1951-60 (Courtesy of Museum of London)

Alfred Daniels – Gramaphone Man on Wentworth St

Anthony Eyton , Christ Church Spitalfields, 1980

Doreen Fletcher – Turner’s Rd, 1998

Geoffrey Fletcher – D.Bliss, Alderney Rd 1979 (Courtesy of Tower Hamlets Local History Library & Archives)

Barnett Freedman– Street Scene. 1933-39 (Courtesy of Tate Gallery)

Noel Gibson – Street Scene in Poplar (Courtesy of Tower Hamlets Local History Library & Archives)

Charles Ginner – Bethnal Green Allotment, 1947 (Courtesy of Manchester City Art Gallery)

Elwin Hawthorne – Trinity Green Almshouses, 1935

Rose Henriques – Coronation Celebrations in Challis Court, 1937 (Courtesy of Tower Hamlets Local History Library & Archives)

Dan Jones – Brick Lane, 1977

Leon Kossoff – Christ Church Spitalfields, 1999/2000 (Courtesy of Annely Juda Fine Art, London)

Cyril Mann – Christ Church seen over bombsites from Redchurch St, 1946 (Courtesy of Piano Nobile Gallery)

Jock McFadyen – Aldgate East

Grace Oscroft – Old Houses in Bow, 1934

Henry Silk – Snow, Rounton Rd, Bow

Harold Steggles – Old Ford Rd c.1932

Walter Steggles – Canal at Mile End

Albert Turpin, Columbia Market, Bethnal Green

Click here to preorder a copy of EAST END VERNACULAR for £25


10 Responses leave one →
  1. June 11, 2017

    A good road show today by GA, Friederike and contributing artists. This is my kind of art a portrayal of our world in particular the East End an area of beauty in a different way. These paintings are more durable than photos the detail can be incredible and in time will be very collectable & future proof a time to invest. War artists have given us a historic account of many wars & hostilities, sad some with their lives, painting this ‘ brand’ of art. Their presentations in National Collections are proof of this. Poet John – PS I’m a fan of the ‘matchstick men’ by you know who. I hope artistic people around this world of ours, will read this and perhaps visit the East End of London. !Could be game on for you.

  2. June 11, 2017

    This is such a wonderful project. It’s about time that this work was more widely available. You’ve introduced us to so many neglected artists who were inspired by the East End. I can’t wait for my copy to arrive. Good luck with the fund raising.

  3. June 11, 2017

    Nearing my 93rd birthday and in reasonable health, I can’t find words for your wonderful work, gentle author, and everyone involved in this superb new venture. My connection to the area goes back to grandparents’ generation as immigrants in c. 1900. I’m still glowing with delight…..a treasure and gift beyond words. Wish I could invest but hope and imagine there won’t be any difficulty on that account.

  4. Helen Breen permalink
    June 11, 2017

    Greetings from Boston,

    GA, another project to promote the artists of the East End and their works for posterity with East End Vernacular. Wish you the best in that endeavor.

    I particularly enjoyed “Harold Steggles – Old Ford Rd c.1932.” Reminds me of the American realist artist Edward Hopper (1882-1967) who did similar paintings about the same time.

  5. @rupertbu permalink
    June 11, 2017

    If you are ordering for overseas delivery do let Gentle Author know the destination country so postal rates may be activated and order placed 🙂

  6. Jonathan Madden permalink
    June 12, 2017

    This book is right up my street (forgive the pun), it’s great to see some more contemporary artists like Jock McFadyen included too. I can’t wait to receive a copy, wonderful stuff.

  7. Helen Tomolillo permalink
    June 13, 2017

    Would you be able to feature my parents cafe in the book? Gina’s Cafe, 17 Bethnal Green Road. It would be a great tribute and it was featured as part of your shop front story several years ago? Thanks Helen

  8. June 13, 2017

    GA, you truly ARE the Founder of the Feast.
    Can’t wait to get my copy……..and I trust that there are enough great ideas for an additional
    volume (or two) in the future. Thanks for letting us get in on the ground floor.
    Onward and upward.

  9. June 19, 2017

    Such a wonderful project , I’m really looking forward to seeing the finished article.

  10. Michael Buckley permalink
    July 8, 2017

    What a pleasant web detour I just enjoyed! Someday I would like to visit London. -MB Kansas City, USA

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