Two Paintings

During our visit to the Courtauld Gallery the week before Christmas, two paintings particularly caught my attention. They were of a couple of my favourite buildings in north London.

The first was this painting of Hawksmoor’s Christ Church in Spitalfields by Leon Kossoff. It’s one of several paintings he created during the 1980’s and 90’s of this beautiful white church designed by the eccentric English Baroque architect.


Christ Church Spitalfields, Early Summer (1992) by Leon Kossof

It’s painted in his characteristic style, like that of his friend Frank Auerbach, with the paint applied very thickly and in a way so that the form of the building and details of the picture can only really be appreciated by standing back.

London is where Kossoff, the son of a Ukrainian immigrant, was born, grew up and worked in the capital, and scenes from the city are one of the main the main themes in his work.

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The second work was by Auerbach – born in Berlin of Jewish parentsin 1931 who fled to England in 1939. Although it only showed a small section of the building, again with thick impasto paint which meant it was difficult to perceive detail, I immediately recognised it as the Art Deco former Carreras Cigarette Factory on Mornington Crescent


Carreras Factory at Mornington Crescent (1961) by Frank Auerbach


Mornington Crescent


I finally made it! An ambition fulfilled


Over the past 3 years, on visits to London, we’ve frequently stayed at the Premier Inn at Belsize park, Hampstead. To get there after we arrive at Euston we take the Northern Line tube that takes us through Mornington Crescent station – the next stop after Euston. As the train arrives at the station we are always disappointed not to hear a raucous cheer. Fans of the BBC Radio 4 programme, “I’m sorry I haven’t a clue” will understand the reference and also why I was pleased that I finally managed to visit the station when I went to have a look at the Carreras cigarette factory last week. (Anyone baffled by what I’m wittering on about see here)


I was pleased to see that the pub across the road from the station has been re-named in honour of the sadly missed Humph (Humphry Lyttleton).