Connecting the dots on the trail of Chiswick’s artists

Image above: Statue of the artist William Hogarth; photograph Jon Perry

Celebrating Chiswick’s art history in a short walk down Turnham Green Terrace from Chiswick High Rd to St Michael & All Angels Church

Director of the Chiswick Book Festival, Torin Douglas, is hell-bent on making sure it is known that Chiswick is the cultural centre of the universe.

If you forget about places like Florence and Venice for a moment, we have quite a good claim, considering our history includes writers such as Alexander Pope, one of the most prominent English poets of the early 18th century, through to novelist EM Forster, Nobel prize winning poet W.B. Yeats and playwright Harold Pinter.

In terms of painters, we have William Hogarth of course. Johann Zoffany, Camille Pissarro and J.M.W Turner have Chiswick connections.

 

There are already several ‘Exploring Chiswick’ art trails on the Chiswick Book Festival website, and from today there’s a new one highlighting Chiswick’s public art along Turnham Green Terrace from the Hogarth statue at one end to the Yeats sculpture at the other.

Images above: Close-ups of Hogarth’s dog Trump and the painter’s hand; photographs Marianne Mahaffey

Beginning with Hogarth …

If you wondered why we the Hogarth health club, the Hogarth youth centre, Hogarth primary school, the Hogarth flyover and the Hogarth roundabout, it is because the artist William Hogarth (1697 – 1764) once had his country home here.

Hogarth is known as ‘the father of English painting’. Hogarth House, now tucked away behind a tall wall beside the A4, was where he came to get away from the craziness of 18th century London life, which he satirised in his pictures.

Image above: Statue of the artist William Hogarth; photograph Jon Perry

A committee of local volunteers raised the money for the statue, created by Jim Mathieson, and it was unveiled in October 2001 by Ian Hislop and David Hockney. The celebrations to mark its unveiling included two birthday parties at Chiswick Town Hall, with food and drink and 18th century entertainments.

Many private individuals in Chiswick gave money, but among the major business sponsors were the developers of Chiswick Park, Hogarth Health Club and Sainsbury’s Local.

Image above: Artist Giovanna Iorio with Sonic Serenity: Chiswick Bridge and the Infinite

On to the W4th plinth …

Admire the statue of Hogarth opposite the High Rd end of Turnham Green Terrace, then head down the terrace to the railway bridge and you will see the lastest in s series of community art works on the ‘W4th plinth’.

Abundance London has organised the use of the wall space on the railway embankment for large art works chosen by the public and a panel of judges. The most recent to go on show is a piece of work by Giovanna Iorio, unveiled on Saturday 13 January 2024.

READ ALSO: New community artwork unveiled on the ‘W4th plinth’

Sonic Serenity: Chiswick Bridge and the Infinite is what the artist and poet describes as a ‘Voice Portrait” and has been made using a spectrogram to transform voices and sounds into a huge collage. This  creative process blends photography, sound, poetry and prose to make the invisible visible.

Image above: Chiswick Timeline

Next stop the Chiswick Timeline …

Abundance London also organised the Chiswick Timeline: the panels on the walls of the railway bridge, with old maps of Chiswick and reproductions of work by famous artists connected with the area. It is fascinating to find where your house is and trace the development of the land on which it stands from 1593 to the present day.

It took four years to develop the timeline and cost £95,000, crowdfunded with donations from Hounslow and Ealing councils, local businesses and the public and was opened in February of 2018 with a big street party on Turnham Green Terrace.

Images above: Empire Theatre collage by Sir Peter Blake; Russian Cathedral by Jan Pienkowski

Two new works of art were commissioned especially for it. Sir Peter Blake, best known for the Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper album, used a similar design to create a collage of the music hall artists who played at the Empire Theatre in Chiswick in its heyday in the 1920s and ‘30s.

Jan Pienkowski, who illustrated children’s books Meg and Mog in the 1970s, created an image of the Russian Cathedral in Chiswick in his trademark bright colours.

READ ALSO: Chiswick Timeline

READ ALSO: Marthe Armitage profile

READ ALSO: Johann Zoffany in Chiswick

Other contemporary artists whose work is recreated in the mural include political cartoonist Martin Rowson and Marthe Armitage, who is famous for her hand-drawn lino blocks. Well-known artists of the past who are associated with Chiswick are represented by William Hogarth, William Turner, Eric Ravilious, Johann Zoffany, Julian Trevelyan and Camille Pissarro, amongst others.

Images above: Recreated on the Chiswick Timeline – 17th and 18th century art showing Chiswick: Chiswick from the River – Jacob Knyff 1676; A View of Chiswick House – Pieter Andreas;  Rysbrack 1729; The children of the fourth Duke of Devonshire in the gardens of Chiswick House – Johann Zoffany 1763-5 

Images above: 19th centure art showing Chiswick: The River Thames and Kew Bridge, with Brentford Eyot in the foreground and Strand-on-the-Green through the Arches: Low Tide – William Turner 1805; Village cricket Match, Turnham Green – unknown artist 1850s

Image above: Promotion for Bedford Park as ‘the healthiest place in the world’ – Hamilton Jackson 1882

Images above: Fuller’s Brewery trade card 1890s; The Train – Camille Pissarro 1897

Images above: 20th century art showing Chiswick: Voysey House – Charles Voysey 1902; Boat Race centenary – Richard T Cooper 1929; Chiswick Baths -Sir John Lavery 1929;

Image above: River Thames, Chiswick Eyot – Eric Ravilious 1933

Images above: Molly Typing – Anthea Craigmyle 1940; The Quiet River: The Thames at Chiswick – Victor Pasmore 1943-4

Images above: The Thames – Mary Fedden 1952; Low Tide – Julian Trevelyan 1974; Hogarth’s Roundabout – Martin Rowson 1997

Images above: 21st century pictures Chiswick House – Marthe Armitage 2005; The Boat Race – Alfred Daniels 2010

chiswicktimeline.org

Image above: Conrad Shawcross sculpture ‘Enwrought Light’ celebrating WB Yeats

Finishing with the Yeats sculpture …

The walk finishes at ‘Enwrought Light’, the sculpture designed by Conrad Shawcross to celebrate the Nobel prize winning poet WB Yeats, who spent much of his early life in Chiswick. Should you be so minded, you can tap your phone on the QR code beside it and follow another short walking trail around Bedford Park, telling you about his life.

READ ALSO: Interview with Conrad Shawcross, designer of Chiswick’s new sculpture Enwrought Light

READ ALSO: Chiswick’s new sculpture sparkles in the rain as Rowan Williams declares it “definitively there”

READ ALSO: Discover Bedford Park with the Irish poet WB Yeats

Or if you dedide that’s enough art for one day, you can repair to the pub where he used to drink, the Tabard, and enjoy a drink while you admire the Arts & Crafts tiles.

For more on this and the whole collection of arts and history trails around Chiswick, go tothe ‘Exploring Chiswick’ pages of the Chsiwick Book Festival.

chiswickbookfestival.net

Image above: Exploring Chiswick ’24: Arts trail poster; Chiswick Book Festival

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