Doreen Fletcher


Since I was a teenager I have been committed to drawing and painting what might be termed, 'the almost gone'. I have always shown concern for my immediate external environment and the traces left by people on the surface of things, in city and landscape, urban and rural. Be it the changing use of buildings, the crumbling of dry stone walls, abandoned terraces and disused barns, faded shop signs, dilapidated street furniture or graffiti, they are all the stuff of my pictures, to be recorded before being swept away.


Doreen was born in North Staffordshire in 1952 and came to West London in the Seventies after finishing her art Foundation.  Taking a job as a model at local art colleges, she continued to paint in her spare time and in 1983 moved to the East End - immediately captivated by a very different landscape and one that was slowly disappearing. 


"I loved the light, it seemed so sharp and clear in the East End, and it reminded me of the working-class streets in the Midlands where I grew up,". "It disturbed me to see these shops and pubs closing and being boarded up, so I thought, 'I must make a record of this,' and it gave me a purpose."


Doreen spent three decades painstakingly documenting buildings, streets and everyday life, resulting in the most incredible collection of highly accomplished, atmospheric paintings and drawings of disappearing communities.  She would regularly submit the works to galleries and art prizes but received little in recognition and in 2004 decided to down tools.  Her works lay hidden away in her attic, until twenty years later, writer 'The Gentle Author' discovered them and persuaded her to let him photograph them for his popular blog 'Spitalfields Life'.  It sparked huge interest and led to exhibitions at The Townhouse Spitalfields, The Nunnery Gallery and The Royal Academy.  Her profile rocketed and demand for her work soared, finally giving her the recognition she so deserved.  Doreen's combination of incredible draughtsmanship, her use of colour and the ability to capture atmosphere so cleverly is a rare and a wonderful talent.  With many of her subjects now gone or about to disappear, it's no wonder these visually striking pieces resonate with people so much.  Doreen continues to paint and holds regular exhibitions at Townhouse Spitalfields.