The Nunnery Gallery is proud to present a selection of works and archival material from The East London Group of Artists. Celebrated in their own time, The East London Group of Artists flourished in Britain’s inter-war period during the 1920’s and 1930’s, recording passing scenes of East London life through painting and drawing. Surprisingly, today the group is almost forgotten despite having received extensive coverage and recognition in art magazines and periodicals of their day in London as well as provincial and international press.
Members of The East London Group of Artists included Slade School of Fine Art trained artists such as John Cooper, Phyllis Bray and William Coldstream. Leading the group, Cooper inspired and mentored members who were not formally trained. Walter Sickert, another mentor and prominent member also taught local working artists at the classes here in Bow.
Known for their humble beginnings and honest working class backgrounds, the group have been exhibited alongside highly regarded artists such as John and Paul Nash, Graham Sutherland and Vanessa Bell as well as Impressionist artists, Degas, Gauguin, Cezanne and Picasso. Works from the group have been shown in Whitechapel Gallery, The Tate and Lefevre Galleries. Towards the end of their time, two members, Elwin Hawthorne and Walter Steggles achieved the ultimate artistic acclaim by representing Great Britain at the 1936 Venice Biennale.
Gathered from around the country, this is a rare and exciting opportunity to see original works, exhibition catalogues, press clippings and sketchbooks on loan from private collections, museums and government archives, revealing forgotten memories and uncovering stories from the Groups history and local heritage.
The exhibition includes work from a selection of the East London Group of Artists including: John Cooper, Walter Sickert, Harold & Walter Steggles, Henry Silk, Phyllis Bray, Elwin Hawthorne, Grace Oscroft, Cecil Osborne, George Board, Albert Turpin and Archibald Hattemore,
Michael Regan, Associate Curator: “The East London group gave us a body of work which not only stands the test of time but reveals an intimate portrait of the East End. This important group of artists, taught by the master English painter Walter Sickert, produced works which vary in subject matter and style to reveal a significant body of work on show for the first time in the Nunnery Gallery in Bow, East London.”
Rosamond Murdoch, Gallery Director: “We’re excited to show work that reveals an important part of East London history. Many of the scenes depicted are a stone’s throw away from the gallery and reveal the changing landscape and history of East London; from interiors and streetscapes to industrial scenes and East End figures. The show also includes scenes or buildings that no longer exist or were destroyed during the war. It’s a chance to delve into our local history.”