The painters in our Kensington collection did not have a central feature like the river upon which to focus their talents. But like many parts of London there are plenty of gardens amongst the houses, shops and churches, some of them grand, some almost hidden.This picture by Arthur Clay is a view of a late afternoon from Kensington Gardens. There’s a layer of mist on the ground, some dimly glowing street lights and a single illuminated window.
We need a view of Kensington Palace, so here is an unusual example.
The picture shows part of the Gardens under cultivation during the Great War. It looks like another cool autumn day.
The picture below is closer to the usual idea of the Gardens, a bright summer scene which could be any time between the 30s and the 50s painted by an unknown artist.
Below is another summer scene called “The Elms “by Beatrice Pedder.
It’s also set in that same indeterminate summer time.
On the border of the gardens the setting is more specific.
A rainy day in Kensington Gore in 1921 also by Arthur Clay. A pre-London Transport London General B-type bus with an open cab takes on passengers on a quiet day for traffic as perhaps they all were in those days. (I have someone who tells me this sort of thing)
On the edge of another park an artist called Kenneth Graham shows what he calls the Old Wall in Melbury Road.
A dog investigates a tantalising smell while its owner, a young woman stands by. The date unrecorded in our records might be as late as the 1960s. It’s still a quiet summer day though.
Behind the walls and fences you can find many gardens like this one:
Gledhow Gardens by Patrica Willis.
Here is a garden seen from two interiors, in a pair of paintings by Estella Canziani.
Estella Canziani lived in a house in Palace Green. She also painted watercolours and sketches, several of which are in our collection, along with family photographs. We’ll come back to the Canzianis another day.
Further north is another large private garden, painted in 1919 by Dacres Adams.
The picture of Kensington Gardens in the mist is one of my favourites from the Kensington collection but I’m also fond of this picture, not strictly a garden view but another of someone passing by the wall of a garden. In the evening a lone figure carrying a case makes his way home.
Perhaps he is heading for the shop out of which a welcoming light spills. Perhaps he is hurrying to catch the indistinct woman in the distance ( I should say it was a woman). This is Kensington Church Walk, an obscure byway if you don’t know Kensington, a little like Lord Dunsany’s Go-by Street if you remember that. The artist’s name is Walker. No relation.
It was a long hard haul loading the post tonight. WordPress have improved the process and it took some time to work it all out.
On another subject this Saturday we’re having an open afternoon at Kensington and Chelsea Local Studies. It will be more like Open Basement than Open House, as I will be leading a couple of tours through the archive rooms. I’ll be showing some of the actual pictures featured in the last couple of posts, along with some of the other prints and photographs featured on the blog. I know lots of you don’t live anywhere near Kensington but if you do and you fancy a look come along. Email me if you want to come so I can get some idea of numbers.