Like the other men and women who took classes in painting from John Cooper at the Bow and Bromley Evening Institute from the mid-1920s, and exhibited together as the East London Group, Henry Silk was not an artist by profession. A Basket Weaver (his uncle Abraham owned a basket shop in Bow Road), Silk was badly effected by gas in WWI and lived for the rest of his life with his nephew Elwin Hawthorne (also a member of the East London Group) in Rounton Road, Bow, where all of the works in this exhibition were painted.
Silk became well known and admired for his small Still Lives. They are at the heart of what Cooper (and Sickert when he lectured at Bow) taught the Group – that the most familiar, every-day objects and our surroundings are worthy subjects. He was one of the most active members of the East London Group, exhibiting from their first exhibition at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in 1928 through to the Group’s last at Alex Reid and Lefevre in 1936.
The recent revival of interest in the artists of the East London Group can be credited to a number of people – family members in particular have done much to publicise the Group’s works online and through exhibitions (the Bow Arts 2014 show was an enormous success). However, none have done more for the reception of the Group than David Buckman, whose wonderful and extensive study From Bow to Biennale: Artists of the East London Group was published by Francis Boutle in 2012 and has recently gone into a second, revised edition (many of you will remember the loan exhibition we held here at Museum St to launch the book, the first East London Group exhibition since the ’30s). You can read David on Henry Silk at the Spitalfields Life website.
NOTE: Nothing will be sold before the exhibition opens at 6pm on Thursday 17th November.
If you are unfamiliar with our buying procedure for the opening day please contact us.
All works are sold mounted in hand-washed conservation board
and framed using UV non-reflective museum glass.
Provenance: The artist’s family by descent.