One of the benefits of being part of Art Plumstead is the chance to attend events organised by other local groups which are shared by AP members. Today was perfect weather for a photographic walk organised by Rich Sylvester in association with Thames21 exploring the area’s association with Turner. A few AP members joined this free walk which started at North Greenwich Station before joining the Thames Path down towards the Cutty Sark. There were plenty of other photography enthusiasts. Rich pasted a number of reproductions of Turner’s works onto structures along the way, as a temporary installation and homage to the artist.
Rich explained how Turner didn’t quite fit into the mannered atmosphere of the late 18th Century art world, coming as he did from an ordinary background (his father was a barber and wig maker in Covent Garden). A shrewd business man, Turner was known to have charged patrons of his work for the price of the cab to deliver his paintings. He was interested in the history of the area, but also in the new technology that was being developed. Rich illustrated this with postcards and prints of Turner’s work at periodic stopping points along the way.
On the site of fields that were bought up by investors in the 19th Century, industry has almost disappeared from the area as it is turned into a land of ‘lifestyle apartments’, but there are still clues to the past along the water’s edge. Already more buildings are being knocked down for the next phase of residential development East of Greenwich. This is apt, since Turner himself was plagued by building works as soon as he designed his own country retreat at Twickenham, forcing him to forsake it after a few years. Instead of sketching as Turner would have done, we were invited to take photographs. Here are a few of them.