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London Landscape by James Fitton, c. 1948. Street scene. Fitton wrote on the 17th August 1948: The setting of the painting is in Brixton. I passed it one day on my way into London and was fascinated by the window full of bills on the derelict shop front - it seemed to be blooming like a flower in such a drab setting. I came back the following morning about 6.30am and using the roof of my car as an easel, I worked on it until the place became too busy and finished it some time later from memory, which was refreshed by a number of visits. My last visit was an anti-climax, all the bills were gone and had given place to the usual vulgarity of a chromium plated shop front. Fitton (1899-1982) details a barrel-organ on the pavement, the overcoats of the pedestrians, the caps of the men, a placard-holding protester and a pram-pushing mother, all details which fix the work in a post-war London struggling to revive spirits amid shortages and poverty. It also hints at change to come with the Labour election poster reminding us of the political and social aftermath of the war and the creation of the welfare state.
© By permission of Judy and Tim Fitton