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Painting the Hamlets

Exhibition and Events
Extended until 15 June 2019

Painting the Hamlets is a display of paintings from our collections which depict landscapes, river views and street scenes in Tower Hamlets. Most of the work featured is from the twentieth century and the artists featured include the former Mayor of Bethnal Green and member of the East London Group of artists, Albert Turpin, whose image of the Jolly Butcher pub in Cabbage Court off Brick Lane is used in the flyer above. Works by Doreen Fletcher, Ronald Morgan, Noel Gibson, Rose Henriques, and Geoffrey Scowcroft Fletcher also feature.

Work has been selected to ensure that all of the borough's neighbourhoods are represented, and for this show we are showing only painting and drawing (not printmaking). The exhibition is being co-curated with us by Atalanta Kernick, an Idea Store Co-ordinator at Cubitt Town Library who is also a fine artist. The exhibition will be open from early next week until 15 June 2019 and we are currently eveloping a fantastic programme of free events to run alongside it inspired by the history of art and artists in the East End.

Events Programme

Exhibition Launch
Thursday 22 November, 6:00 - 8:30pm
Join us for the exhibition launch party with speeches from curators at 6:45pm.
Refreshments kindly sponsored by EastendHomes. Free, no booking required.

Film Screening of 72-82, a documentary by William Raban plus Q&A
Thursday 22 November, 7:00 - 8:30pm
Join us for a rare screening of this documentary exploring the use by artists of hundreds of former industrial buildings in East London to create cheap living and studio space. Material relating to local artists will also be on display. Part of Explore your Archives. Free, no booking required.

East End Urban Sketching Club
The East End has inspired many artists. Create your own artistic vision of East London street scenes using historical imagery from our collections at this series of workshops using watercolours and inks, experimenting with sepia, mark-making and in the final sessions drawing live from East End street scenes.

Saturday 19 January, 1:30 - 4:00pm
Watercolours and Inks

Saturday 2 March, 1:30 - 4:00pm
Acrylic Impressions

Saturday 16 March, 1:30 - 4:00pm
Oil Pastels in the Outdoors

All abilities welcome. Sessions are free and materials are provided. Spaces limited, booking essential via

Talk: Art and the East End by Danny Wells
Saturday 2 February. 2:30 - 4:00pm
Come and listen to stories associated with the history of the East End of London through exploring art; primarily paintings. These include the phenomenon of the East India Company; the effects of Empire on the area and the significance of the Docks. We will also consider the poverty and social reformers of the 19th century; immigration and emigration; and the impact of the two world wars in the 20th century. Free, no booking required.

Half-term creative workshop: East End Street Party
Saturday 16 February, 11.00-1.00
Get your little one to celebrate half term by creating their own East End party street scene, real or imagined. They will be using historic street scene photos from our collections and an array of creative materials. Join us to cut, colour, stick and create! Suitable for ages 6-12 years. All materials provided, limited spaces, FREE but booking essential:

Talk: Artists Who Painted London’s East End: Doreen Fletcher
Thursday 28 February, 6.00-7.30
Join the Gentle Author (Spitalfields Life) in conversation with artist Doreen Fletcher whose work features in the exhibition and has been collected into a new retrospective book. We have signed copies available to purchase. Free, no booking required.

Talk: Jewish Artists in East London
Thursday 4 April, 6.00-7.30
Sarah MacDougall from the Ben Uri Gallery joins us to talk about Jewish artists from 1900-1945 who were living, working or inspired by the East End.
The talk will explore the lives of Isaac Rosenberg, Rose Henriques, Pearl Binder and more. Free, no booking required.

Exhibition tour: Painting the Hamlets Curator's Tour
Saturday 6 April, 1.30-2.30
Join Atalanta Kernick, Curator of the ‘Painting the Hamlets’ exhibition for a guided tour exploring the artists behind the street scenes, and the streets within the paintings. Free, no booking required

Artists' talk: Socially-engaged art practice in Tower Hamlets
Thursday 18 April, 6.30-7.45pm
Visual artists Kinsi Abdulleh and Saif Osmani will explore their socially engaged art practice over many years of working with the Somali and Bangladeshi communities in Tower Hamlets. Through their work, both artists have explored a wide range of issues including race and identity, gender and social justice, space and the public realm, language and cultural heritage. Free, no booking required.