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Gram Hilleard’s Paintings Of Churches

November 9, 2019
by the gentle author

Gram Hilleard‘s exhibition ‘The Spaces Between’ opens next Monday 11th November at St Mary Abchurch, Abchurch Lane, EC4N 7BA, and runs daily 11am-3pm until Monday 18th November – with film screenings on 12th, 14th & 18th November at 1:30pm.

Christ Church Spitalfields seen from Brick Lane

“This began a few years ago when I painted St Leonards Church for an exhibition about the Bishopsgate Goodyard development and I became interested with how the space was used. It made me realise that these churches have always attracted the same types of people through the centuries – those looking for sanctuary from the city, the spiritual, the homeless, the lost, and the silent watchers.

I went on to paint another ten churches including those of Hawksmoor whose temple-like volumes have always fascinated me. They were built at the edge of the city next to vacant fields and were perhaps the dreadful developments of their day.

My paintings are best viewed in the half-light of a church and include metallic surfaces that shine in the gloom. They are painted on panel in many layers, sanded, scraped backed and painted again – a process which for me symbolises the strata of time.

As the ever-changing metropolis grows unrecognisable through overdevelopment, these churches remain the same. Their slowly-weathering stones carry the vibrations of past lives and events, giving each place a unique energy. London may be asset-stripping to its own destruction, but its people always gravitate toward the quiet spiritual spaces that have existed for centuries.

Gram Hilleard

St Giles in the Fields seen from the Phoenix Garden

Shoreditch Church seen from Boundary St

St Lukes Old St seen from St Lukes Close

St George in the East seen from Pennington St

London City Mission built upon the foundations of St John Horsleydown

St Georges Bloomsbury seen from Little Russell St

Churchyard of St Anne’s Limehouse

St Alfege Greenwich

St Michael Cornhill

St Mary Woolnoth

Paintings copyright © Gram Hilleard

You may also like to take a look at

The City Churches of Old London

Spires of City Churches

More Spires of City Churches

Nicholas Hawksmoor’s Churches

The Oranges & Lemons Churches


8 Responses leave one →
  1. November 9, 2019

    I love these unusual views, wonderful. Valerie

  2. Fitzrovia Flaneur permalink
    November 9, 2019

    Excellent stuff, Gram. FF / XX

  3. November 9, 2019

    Greetings from Boston,

    GA, thanks for featuring these lovely, timeless London churches painted from unique perspectives by Gram Hilleard. Agreed:

    “As the ever-changing metropolis grows unrecognisable through overdevelopment, these churches remain the same. Their slowly-weathering stones carry the vibrations of past lives and events, giving each place a unique energy.”

    The same can be said about their many surrounding churchyards…

  4. Saba permalink
    November 9, 2019

    The paintings address the very positive role of churches, when they function properly, as sanctuary for all people, even in difficult times. Then again, the lonely people outside the churches asks me why they are not inside the church. I plan to send this to my church group.

  5. Dave R permalink
    November 10, 2019

    Magnificent. Invidious to single out one picture, but John James’s obelisk framed by the blown-out serliana is absolutely as I remember it.

  6. November 10, 2019

    Such interesting perspectives. Some close up and squarely encountered; others glimpse, yet known, through gaps in the jumbled semi – planned urban environment. The church is truly a presence in our capital city.

  7. Peter Jay permalink
    November 17, 2019

    Tried to see these pictures on Saturday but the exhibition was closed. Are they viewable anywhere else in the near future?

  8. November 21, 2019

    A big thank you to everyone who attended and the lovely comments.
    For those who missed it, I would like to exhibit it again, but in a more controlled space.
    A church in some ways in the perfect space but there are many constraints, of opening hours, meetings, services etc; plus as a self-organising artist I don’t have the finances right now!
    In the short term the ‘Spaces Between’ film that was part of the exhibition is in the Official Competition of the Laceno d’Oro Film Festival, Avellino, Italy 1-8 December

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