In 2004, one of the last paintings I made before my ten-year sabbatical depicted Brothers’ Fish Shop, situated among a row of rather shabby shops strung along the Commercial Road. Although still operating, they looked as though they were not long for this world.
When I took up painting the East End again in 2016, I was astonished to see this row of shops was still there, though long since boarded up and waiting for the grim reaper in the form of the bull-dozer. I was enchanted by the range of blues created by the sunny autumn sky and boards hammered in to defend the interiors (not very successfully), from marauders and squatters. I made two small paintings of the shops Emporium and Pharmacy, omitting the taxicab office because the black Tudor beams on the upper storeys clashed with the colour palette I was employing. Also, I though they appeared artificial….
Three years later in 2019 I heard that the shops had finally hit the ground, but that the taxicab office was still standing. A visit on a sunny afternoon in March confirmed this. Further investigation revealed that the building work had been halted because the black beams that I had found aesthetically unappealing for my composition, turned out to be listed! After this discovery I determined to make a record of this spanner in the works that was causing so much grief to the developers. As I write I believe it is still standing today.
Doreen Fletcher 2020
Still Standing 2020 oil on canvas 51 x 76cm (20 x 30”) unframed