Another collection of paintings by The East London Group is now showing at the Nunnery Gallery in Bow. You may remember From Bow to Biennale a few years back, which everyone loved, so a different selection has been arrayed across the walls. This time the main focus is painter Albert Turpin, one of the motley group of amateurs who came together between the wars to paint, in a new exhibition entitled The Working Artist. Albert was a window cleaner, a fireman, and later Mayor of Bethnal Green, so there are rather a lot of paintings of E2, but E3 also gets a look in amongst the 50 canvases.
Several paintings depict terraced streets, pubs or backyards, reflecting Albert's aim "to show others the beauty in the East End", while others show slum areas devastated by bombing. I successfully recognised the location of a few scenes based on how they look today, especially those along the canal, but developmental flux has wiped away most of the other visual clues. This is how we used to live, in muted palettes of brown and orange, with the odd view of rural Essex thrown in for good measure.
The exhibition has been curated by poet Michael Rosen and film-maker Emma-Louise Williams, both of whom came along to the launch last week. Several other events are taking place before Christmas, including walking tours, a window-cleaning-as-art-plus-gin-cocktails do (tomorrow night) and the launch of the Gentle Author's new book East End Vernacular (next Tuesday). Entrance is free, your visit shouldn't last more than half an hour unless you stop off in the cafe, and the nearest public transport location is Bus Stop M.