My first post explained the tour we, the Textiliste and I undertook and introduced you to the commission of the street art in 2013 as part of the Dulwich festival. The idea was to ask famous street artists to interpret works that are in the Dulwich Picture Gallery’s collection on the walls, pavements and lamp posts of Dulwich and Peckham. The tour started at Gipsy Hill station and had reached the start of Lordship Lane in SE21 when I broke off. This is the second phase.
Here’s a picture from part one
Lordship Lane was, is, in fact, the epicentre of the tour. While the Picture Gallery itself provides the inspiration and momentum, the real gravity comes from this long road through East Dulwich.
First a bit of background. Like a lot of London over the last 20 years and more, areas that adjoin the long-regarded ‘preferred’ locations and which were once rather tatty and unloved, have themselves become popular. The word ‘gentrification’ has been applied to this process though it is a simple upgrading in truth. The homes remain as they were, largely Victorian and Edwardian terraces with the original features. The difference from previous generations of inhabitants is that until recently improvement equated with modernisation which equated with a clearance of the old and replacement with the new. But sometime in the seventies old and retro became fashionable in areas other than clothes. Camera and the campaign for real ale, ditto bread, the growth of the National Trust, the splurge in the listing of buildings. These were reactions to the successive attempts to upgrade the national infrastructure post war by an explosion of brutalist concrete tower blocks, uniform housing estates made from ticky-tacky, keg beer and fast, and faster food. The fight goes on. One consequence is a taste for some nostalgia, some sense of a wholesomeness lost by the modern world. This can be seen in microcosm in Lordship Lane. Where once it was smoky pubs, pet shops and thrift it is now delis, twee gift shops and cheesemongers. There is an organic butchers, William Rose, where the queues circle the block on a Friday.
They do have great cafés though and as readers will know that is hugely important to us. Personal favs include Le Chandelier, the Blue Mountain café and the Blue Brick café. Public toilets are less straightforward though so you are in the hands of the café proprietors to let you use their facilities if you are not buying. There is a disabled accessible toilet at the library (opposite Barry Road) but that is a poor return for such a long road of much liquid.
So back to the art.
1. And a bit if a disappointment. A continuing one, really. Of all the artists on display the one whose works are most fragile is Delgardo. The first work, on the wall in Gallery Road, had gone, but for a few small blue spots. The next one, at 405 Lordship Lane, took an age to find, not helped by the property owner, claiming to have been around for 3 years saying he knew nothing of any street art. I suspect he was a tenant whose involvement in the project was non-existent but it did mislead us. In the end I came back later and on the white wall out front and down low, hidden by a box, there it sat, still ok if not perfect nick. Delgardo hasn’t chosen one picture from the gallery to use as inspiration but several so I can’t offer you a specific link.
2. Moving on to the corner with Barry Road, opposite the public library, we have a large Nunce on the side of the Plough. This is a comment on Imperialism and not related to the gallery – a queen bee on her hive.
3. We detoured here; you leave Lordship Lane and head towards Peckham Rye (a lovely open space) along Barry Road. Go left at the first junction into Goodrich Road and you’ll find the wonderfully monikered Phlegm and his take on the Triumph of David by Nicholas Poussin.
4. We meandered further along Goodrich until the junction with Landells Road and then headed back to Lordship Lane. We were hunting another Delgardo, which we found on the black base of the white wall of the house on the left corner (coming up Landells). Worryingly the building is being redecorated or something. I hope they leave Delgardo alone. As before this is not based on anything specific and was the one Dog wanted to mark.
5. We turned right back along Lordship Lane. The parade of shops here are the tatty end and you need to drop down, past Townley Road (giving onto one of the Dulwich Foundation schools, Alleyns) before you reach Nappy Valley proper (as this part of East Dulwich is known). First however the tour map tells us we are in for a treat – the Art House. Well BOO HOO. This is what we found.
6. Depressed we could barely raise a camera for the next broken Delgardo on the garden wall at the junction of Heber Road and Lordship Lane. It’s by the fire hydrant.
7. Another detour, along Townley Road to Beauval Road. Another Stik using the Fall of man by Pieter Coecke van Aelst. This one, on a garage, is, well neat.
8. Back to Lordship lane and a large mural on the side of the Patch, a bar restaurant on the junction of Lordship Lane and Pellatt Road. This is by Meah One and based on the Virgin on the Rosary by Murillo. Bit gaudy for my tastes….
9. Things fell apart a little here. The map says there is a Delgardo on a lamp post (gone, utterly) and the first of Christian Nagel’s stylised mushrooms (the only sculptor on the tour) which hadn’t managed to obtain planning permission. So on we ploughed, to Blackwater Lane and its junction with Lordship Lane. Here we have a panel of three artists on the side of Mrs Robinson’s (Agent Provocateur (Alfred Hitchcock), Discreet (Ghost Village), Michael Beerens (he of the sheep in Court Lane – St Sebastian by Guido Reni)), another Nagel Mushroom, then a Stik in the Courtyard of Blackwater Court – based on Guardian Angel by Franceschini – and opposite, on Franklins’ deli yet another Nagel. Here they are:
10. After this little glut, the Textiliste had to leave me but Dog was keen to carry on and it was sunny… Next, wasn’t on the list. There’s a small cinema that’s starting soon – part of the Picture House chain – and I liked the painting on the hoarding.
11. Back to the art tour. We had a coffee, at Franklin’s, to sip on the way and headed for the junction with Hansler road and yet another Stik. This one is really clever. The inspiration is an Unknown Couple by Gainsborough. I’ve taken a liberty and included copy of the painting here so you can easily see how Stik has used the environment for his picture…
11. You can get a little overloaded and, despite having just had a coffee, Dog and I decided on Lunch. We tried the Blue Mountain Café on North Cross Road which was excellent. If you’ve made it this far I suggest you take a break too. I’ll post the next set soon!