Tag Archives: art

Mysterious painting

(c) Elwin J. Hawthorn; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
UPDATE: See the bottom of this post – the mystery appears to be solved.
Alan writes:

I am trying to trace the location of a painting of “Church near Blackheath“, painted by Elwin Hawthorne and I was wondering if you might be able to help identify the location? His notes for the picture say:- “Vanbrugh Park from the Standard public house”. Looking at Streetview, I wonder whether there was a church on the site of what is now Blackheath High School, Senior School? Possibly the church was destroyed during the war.

Below is where I think he’s referring to on Google Street View, but the outline of the building looks different to me. Any ideas?

Alan has been sent a photograph of the scene by the artist’s son (also called Elwin Hawthorne). It is his Father’s photograph of the scene from which he painted his picture, hence the “squaring up” lines across the image.

Photo Church near Blackheath

Elwin was one of a group of artists known as the East London Group – see Alan’s website here.

Alan writes:

With a bit of help from a “local”, Nick Sack, I think we may have identified the site of the church on Vanbrugh Park; it looks as if it is on the site of what is now the Blackheath Senior School which used to be the Church Army Chapel. I have attached two screenshots from Streetview which show the road outside the School and, in that image, you can just make out the presence of a redbrick house behind the trees on the right; in the other shot, you will see a shot of the building frontage which is extremely similar to that represented in the painting, although it now appears as if one half of what was most likely a double fronted building has disappeared, along with the church next door! It would be fascinating to find out a bit more about the history of the area; whether it was hit during the war and, if so, what effect did it have in the area? I think that what we need now is an identification of the actual church’s name and the history that goes with the area!

The streetview shots he mentions are the same as the location shown in the initial post above.


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A Windmill on Blackheath

A Windmill on Blackheath painting by J.M.W. Turner in the Tate Collection

The excellent blog Transpontine has a post about Turner‘s London paintings. It also linked to this painting, shown above, of “View on Lewisham Hill, Looking Up towards a Windmill on Blackheath 1796-7”.

It also shows how completely rural the area was back then! I always find it hard to imagine.

UPDATE: A different kind of windmills were mentioned on this blog a while back.


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The Sleepwalker may give you nightmares

Blackheath Gallery
If you get a chance, have a look at what’s on display in the Blackheath Gallery at the moment. The paintings by Ray Donley are quite spectacular. I’m not sure I could cope with them staring out at me from my walls – they are generally sinister and occasionally terrifying, but beautifully painted. Don’t rely on the links I’ve selected – they’re much more impressive in reality.

Also Alexis Raggo’s bizarre minature clay totem poles are like a manifestation of the Voynich Manuscript and something from Myst combined. Well worth a look.

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The Birds


Lovely, rather sinister photo of the Bleak Heath by Flickr user Lemon Te. Used by permission.


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It looks like a pint of Guinness settling over Blackheath

1650 Blackheath by Flickr user Andy Linden

An awesome pair of Blackheath photos to see in the new year!  The photo above was taken by Flickr user Andy Linden. Both of these must have been taken at around the same time, I think – they both have a lovely colour to them.

Blackheath Common by Flickr user Baskill
This photo is by Flickr user Baskill. The full set of photos are here


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Artists in Blackheath

Live Form by Haris Kittos 2007
Blackheath seems to be home to a great many artists. There is the Blackheath Gallery on the high street (google map here), which rotates around many different artists (see their site for more info). Recently they had a terrifying oil painting of Amy Winehouse on display, as well as some lovely glasswork. They were swapping exhibits last time I wandered past.

Approaching Storm, Blackheath, by Nathaniel Fowles

There is the Blackheath Art Society, who are holding an open air exhibition in Cutty Sark Gardens on Sunday 17th August from 10am to 5pm. Not to be confused with the Blackheath Art Society of New South Wales, who may well be holding an exhibition, but will be of more interest to people in Australia.

And then there are the individual artists that you find by chance, who aren’t being exhibited on the high street, but thanks to the wonder of the web, can be discovered and admired by anyone with an internet connection – such as Nathaniel Fowles (see right), whose haunting images of Morris Minors on the heath remind me of my parents old Morris breaking down on a dark night many moons ago!

The image at the top of the post is by another Blackheath artist named Haris Kittos – have a look at his page, where you can find a whole series of pencil sketches, as well as other works in acrylics and ink.

And then a different sort of artist – a promo video for a poetry book by Adelle Stripe published by Blackheath Books. Completely bizarre, gothic and vampirical!

(Paintings reproduced by permission).

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Well it doesn’t look like that any more…

The Hare and Billet Pub, Blackheath, old painting

“Near the Hare and Billet Inn” – a section from a painting by Thomas Luny (1759-1837) held in the British Library.  Click here to see the full image.  And a mysterious comment spotted on a message board about a ghost in the Hare and Billet pub:

The Hare and Billet Ghost – a woman in Victorian dress with a bonnet and no face supposedly haunts the bit right outside the pub on Blackheath, just standing there, looking like she’s waiting for a bus. She was supposed to run away with her lover, but hung herself from the elm trees near the pond after realising she’d been jilted. Two of my friends claim to have seen her last November while out jogging, without knowing of her existence. They Googled her and found out the last reported sighting was also in November back in the 70s.

Well, no amount of googling will reveal the Hare and Billet ghost to me!  I’ll just have to head over there, and wait for her to appear.  A few pints should do the trick…

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