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My Town Reviews

My Town by David Gentleman

My Town: An Artist's Life in London

David Gentleman

Score pending

2 reviews

Imprint: Particular Books
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Publication date: 5 Mar 2020
ISBN: 9781846149757

David Gentleman has lived in London for almost seventy years, most of it on the same street. This book is a record of a lifetime spent observing, drawing and getting to know the city, bringing together work from across his whole career, from his earliest sketches to watercolours painted just a few months ago.

5 stars out of 5
Kathryn Hughes
5 Mar 2020

"There is a modesty about Gentleman’s work: it neither shouts, nor insists on being the centre of attention"

Alongside all these images, beautifully reproduced here on thick, creamy pages, Gentleman includes fascinating glimpses into his practice. He writes that watercolour remains his favourite medium, its washes perfectly suiting the light, fleeting feel of so much of his work. This is perfectly apparent in his image of Old Billingsgate Market and Custom House where the riverside outline is sketched in ink and then filled in with soft, smudgy blues and greys refracted from the Thames. What might in other hands have been overbearing and monumental – historic buildings always seem to trail their own offputting swagger – becomes instead fresh and even provisional, as if artist and viewer were together encountering the view for the first time.

Reviews

4 stars out of 5
5 Mar 2020

"David Gentleman’s pictorial memoir of London recalls a lost tradition of urban culture"

He stands in a 20th-century tradition of cultural engagement with the cityscape. From the muralist movement of 1930s Mexico City to the socialist mosaics of cold war Berlin, the collective experience could be found on the walls. Sadly, it is a custom that is disappearing. With his generous outlook, Gentleman emphasises that an artist can trace — and impact — the evolution of a city in a unique manner. In particular, he shows us that London might be a wobbly place, but it is still full of wonders.