The ancient coastal town of Deal has, perhaps, more in common with Central London’s literary enclave than you might at first think: a raffish air, bohemian sensibility, and deep-rooted LGBT-friendly history. (Take Carry On actor and longterm resident Charles Hawtrey, for example, who had a penchant for sailors, booze and setting fire to his bed – often all at the same time.)
And so it makes a quirky sort of sense that the inaugural show in the capital for its flagship contemporary art gallery, Linden Hall Studio, takes place within the boundaries of WC1.
Never been? It’s an 18th century former chapel whose restoration took four years to complete, with a rotating schedule of artists, mezzanine area and views over the leafy churchyard opposite. And it’s a couple of minutes’ walk from the shingle beach.
But how did the Bloomsbury collaboration come about? “When the Building Centre kindly invited us to curate an exhibition which showed a spread of the works and styles we had shown since we opened, we were thrilled to have such a wonderful opportunity,” says youthful gallery director Myles Corley. “It brings together an exciting mix of leading contemporary artists from London and Deal to create a unique show that compliments its surroundings perfectly.”
Called The London Deal – geddit? – it features an impressive rundown of artists who have exhibited work in the last four years, including beat photographer Harold Chapman (whose work is featured above), RA luminary Humphrey Ocean, Arthur Neal and leading abstract painter John Hoyland.
And if this has tickled your fancy to visit the seaside town itself – and its other galleries – check out our recent guide here.
Main image by Harold Chapman