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Rarely shown works on display in new free exhibition

William Westall (1781-1850). The Archway, Upper Holloway

William Westall (1781-1850). The Archway, Upper Holloway

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Islington Museum will host a fascinating free exhibition featuring rarely shown works from some of the nation’s foremost painters, in Islington on Canvas: Art from the Archives.

The exhibition, which opens on Friday, will feature artists such as Walter Richard Sickert, considered one of the most influential figures in twentieth-century British art, as well as Thérèse Lessore and Geoffrey Fletcher.

The artworks selected for the exhibition have been specially chosen by the volunteers and friends of the museum as well as the staff, as their ‘favourites’.  Many of these works have rarely been seen until now.

The exhibition will run until the 24th of February, 2018.

Cllr Kaya Comer-Schwartz, Executive Member for Community Development, said:

Islington on Canvas: Art from the Archives is an is an unmissable opportunity to view some rarely seen pieces from the museum and local history centre’s art collection, including work by several prominent artists.

“The exhibition also brings to light some very skilled, but perhaps not as well-known artists, and introduces them to a wider audience. It’s a celebration of Islington’s very strong tradition of art and culture at all levels.

“All of the works have a local connection and this is a fascinating opportunity to see the way Islington has changed over time, reflected through the eyes of its artists.”


Notes to Editor:

  • Exhibition details are as follows:

    Dates: Friday 1 December 2017 to Saturday 24 February 2018

    Opening times: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday: 10am - 5pm. Wednesday and Sunday (and public holidays): closed

    Admission: Free

    Venue details: Islington Museum, 245 St John Street, London EC1V 4NB

  • From the early 19th Century, Islington began to attract both professional and amateur artists. It was an area of contrasts, with industrialised Clerkenwell and Finsbury in the south and semi-rural Highbury and Holloway and Archway to the north. Together with the centrally located Upper Street area, a place of eating, drinking and entertainment, there was much to inspire the artist.

  • Later, the borough’s many residential squares and terraced villas, as well as its close proximity to the bustling City of London, offered a convenient location for artists to live and work. During the 20th Century many artists were drawn to Islington’s ‘pockets’ of affluence, fading charm and unpretentious atmosphere. Those inspired by the district included eminent painters and members of local art societies. 

  • Walter Richard Sickert (1860-1942), widely recognised as one of the nation’s most foremost painters, became enthused with Islington and had many connections to the area. Sickert often visited Collins’ Music Hall on Islington Green to study the artistes, audience and atmosphere for future works. Between 1924 and 1934, he lived and worked at several addresses in the borough. His third wife, [Elaine] Thérèse Lessore (1884-1945) was influenced by her husband’s love of Islington and was also inspired to capture scenes of local entertainment.

  • Walter Sickert was also a great inspiration to artist and writer Geoffrey Fletcher (1923-2004). Fletcher often referred to Islington as having a “many-sided” character and found the combination of Islington’s affluence and poverty (and the resulting variety of buildings and people that made up the area) intriguing.