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Eleanor Crow’s ‘Step Inside’

November 14, 2021
by the gentle author

A few places are available for my last-ever course HOW TO WRITE A BLOG THAT PEOPLE WILL WANT TO READ on November 20th & 21st. This is your final chance to come to Spitalfields and spend a weekend with me in an eighteenth century weaver’s house in Fournier St, enjoy delicious lunches from Leila’s Cafe, eat cakes baked to historic recipes by Townhouse and learn how to write your own blog. Email to book a place.


Portrait of Eleanor Crow at E. Pellicci by Colin O’Brien

I am delighted to present this preview of Eleanor Crow‘s exhibition A Step Inside opening at Townhouse, Spitalfields, next Saturday 20th November. Readers will be familiar with Eleanor’s illustrations that we published in a book as Shopfronts of London, but now she has turned her hand to paintings of interiors and still lifes.

‘I became interested in the play of light across the interiors of shops, kitchens and domestic settings, and this forms the basis of my new work,’ Eleanor admitted to me. ‘I am fascinated by the way light falls from windows across chairs and tables, over pots, brushes and baskets, across lines of bottles and jars – as well as the particular quality of a room. I am attracted to views through doors, a glimpse, a step inside.’

Kitchen at the George Tavern, Stepney

‘I was struck by the asymmetric shape of the kitchen and the huge window casting a soft light across the interior. I love the cream panelled walls and array of pots on the dresser, as well as the blues of the utilitarian plates, bowls and teapot, and the hanging shirts.’

Leila’s Shop, Calvert Avenue

‘The display of wares, backlit by light falling on the ranks of containers and the wedges of cheeses, the pats of butter, the upended bottles, and the arrivals of new produce still in their boxes, exude a calm, quiet beauty. I want to convey how it feels to enter this shop, with its sense of timelessness. I have always admired Dutch interior paintings, and to me this place embodies some of these qualities.’

Straw, Columbia Rd

‘This is a small shop that sells baskets, pots, brushes, candles – items of utility and beauty, new and old. Each basket has its individual form. The daylight is subdued, with a glancing light coming from the west, catching the shapes in the window display. The edges of the room and the baskets frame the composition.’

Berry Brothers Rudd, St James

‘I was delighted to visit the historic rooms at Berry Bros. & Rudd, the family-run wine and spirit merchant founded in the seventeenth century. This interior at No.3 St. James’s St, lit by huge arched windows, is little changed since it opened in 1698. The array of antique wine bottles above the waiting table and chairs, and the wide bench, all attest to the history.’

Courtyard at the Lacquer Chest, Kensington Church St

‘This antique shop opened in the fifties, put on the map by customers including David Hockney, Ossie Clarke, Alan Bennett and Jean Shrimpton. I first encountered it when seeking items for a photograph for a book cover, and have returned to buy pots and vases. I am particularly drawn to this yellow-painted hallway, looking through to the courtyard. Antique shops lure us in with the promise of serendipitous discoveries and this place never disappoints.’

At the George Tavern

‘I am interested in natural light and I liked the brightness of the yellow couch and stool against the soft greys of the room, and the pots not quite symmetrically placed on the mantelpiece. This is a house filled with life and people.’

Kitchen at Sutton House

‘This is the view from the Tudor kitchen of the five hundred-year-old manor house in Hackney. I chose to depict a domestic setting, looking through to a courtyard beyond, and only the face mask and trainers on the woman standing there indicate the modern era.’

Bethnal Green Library

‘Only one door into the library from the entrance hall was open and the library’s future was hanging in the balance of council decision-making. During the pandemic, the library became a vaccine trial centre, causing concern locally whether it would ever reopen. This beautiful building has served the East End for nearly a hundred years, offering the opportunity of reading to countless children and adults, including through the Blitz.’

Kitchen at Townhouse, Spitalfields

‘This basement kitchen is a warm and inviting place, with wooden walls and ceiling painted in muted greys, and copper pans and jelly moulds catching the light. I like the mixture of beauty and utility – the cakes under their glass cloches, the oranges on the counter top and the dark shapes of the cake mixer, coffee grinder and coffee machine, crowned by a pile of white cups.’

Sweetings, City of London

‘This is London’s oldest fish and oyster restaurant, which opened in 1830. The beautiful corner site on Queen Victoria St has been little changed for over one hundred years and is a much-loved institution in the City. I chose this corner because of the light cast from the frosted windows with their blue roller blinds, reflected in the tall mirrored wall panel and bouncing off the rows of glasses and cutlery.’

Bowl of Lemons

‘I like the acidic yellow of the lemons against the blue and white glaze of the bowl, and the imperfections of both.’

17 Responses leave one →
  1. Pence permalink
    November 14, 2021

    Beautiful. Wish I could see the exhibition.

  2. Saba permalink
    November 14, 2021

    Beautiful illustrations!

    Wonderful use of color!

    GA, I would love for you to write about the library.

  3. Hilary permalink
    November 14, 2021

    These paintings are glorious! I am sorry I live too far away to drop by and see them in person .

  4. Annie Green permalink
    November 14, 2021

    Wonderful, peaceful accompaniment to the first cup of tea on a quiet Sunday. Thank you, GA.

  5. November 14, 2021

    Wonderful pastel color views.

    Love & Peace

  6. Mark permalink
    November 14, 2021

    Her bowl of lemons is really nice.
    Oh to be able to paint.
    Time for Nimrod.

  7. Peter Hart permalink
    November 14, 2021

    Wonderful paintings. Love the colours. Thank you.

  8. November 14, 2021

    Greetings from Boston,

    GA, I really enjoyed those interiors by Eleanor Crow. Quite beautiful.

    My favorites are “Kitchen at Sutton House” with the play of light from outside,“Kitchen at Townhouse, Spitalfields” with the reflections on those glass domes covering the delicious desserts, and “Bowl of Lemons” in that lovely bowl – I love lemons!

  9. Adele Lester permalink
    November 14, 2021

    What a talented young lady!

  10. Dr. Klaus Nauman permalink
    November 14, 2021

    Thank you for presenting Eleanor Crow! Beautiful paintings. I would like to see more … but it’s a long way from Cologne/Germany. Has Mrs. Crow an own website?
    Greetings to her!

  11. November 14, 2021

    Wonderful. Descriptive. Atmospheric.
    These rooms seem to radiate with inhabitants that have JUST left. We can almost hear their muffled sounds, just out of the frame. The clutter of cutlery, one-sided phone conversations, a dog’s bark, kitchen noises, etc. It is human nature, I think, to nestle into our surroundings and “claim” them. I can easily imagine the corner table in the restaurant being a “favorite”. Or, the blue and white bowl being “the one” that is always used for lemons. Imagine the anticipation of entering that antique shop? And the aromas in the low-ceilinged kitchen?
    I’m envious of those who will see these full-sized paintings in person.
    Thank you, GA, for shining a light.

  12. Esther permalink
    November 14, 2021

    Wonderful warm colors; I love her paintings 🙂

  13. Lydia Deane permalink
    November 14, 2021

    What lovely work! I hope the artist might be able to do a book of these paintings! Or, in the meantime, can I hope the Gentle Author will share any information about buying prints? It’s even further to London from Eugene, Oregon than from Cologne, Germany!

  14. November 14, 2021

    What wonderful, wonderful images. A very talented lady! I have one of her books, but these are a completely different subject. Thank you so much for sharing.

  15. Bill permalink
    November 15, 2021

    Truly lovely. Also, delicately strong. Excellent composition and coloration framing a very well stated sensibility. Thanks!

  16. Jill Wilson permalink
    November 15, 2021

    These are stunning pictures, beautiful compositions and colours, and all radiating a wonderfully peaceful domestic atmosphere.

    They very much remind me of Vermeer but also the Danish artist Hammershoi whose interior scenes are also filled with wonderful light effects coming through open windows.

    Looking forward to seeing the actual paintings at the exhibition.

  17. Cherub permalink
    November 16, 2021

    These are very beautiful paintings. The bowl of lemons is lovely, I can almost smell the zest and the blue and white bowl is so pretty.

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