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Camille Pissarro's Paintings of Forest Hill
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vipes


Posts: 145
Joined: Oct 2006
Post: #1
27-06-2008 02:13 PM

I might be wrong but I think the area of grass in the right foreground of Pissarro's painting of Lordship Lane Station is the Horniman Triangle.

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gingernuts


Posts: 505
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #2
27-06-2008 02:30 PM

I never thought of this picture in that way. Of course, the hill must be where the posh estate sits and the station would be Langton Rise / Moore Park Hotel ? Is that right?

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vipes


Posts: 145
Joined: Oct 2006
Post: #3
27-06-2008 02:57 PM

I'll defer to stevegrindlay but yes almost certain this is from the Sydenham Hill Estate looking towards the (now demolished) bridge over Lordship Lane and up the Horniman Nature Trail with the Horniman Gardens and Tewksbury Lodge Estate on the hill to the rear right.

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Triangle


Posts: 133
Joined: May 2007
Post: #4
27-06-2008 03:43 PM

I think Lordship Lane station is where the housing estate now is on London Road.

There's a good article about the Crystal Palace to Nunhead line with some modern photographs on:

http://www.abandonedstations.org.uk/

On the site just scroll down to "Disused London Overground Lines" and it's under "South London"

The station would have been located opposite Hornimans Gardens, positioned roughly between the gardens entrance and Wood Vale.

As a child I can recall the rail bridge crossing London Road at this point, the line ran parallel with Wood Vale between the back gardens of the houses and the park.

I've been looking hard at the painting to try and see if there is a bridge in the distance, but unfortunately can't see one.

The Moore Park Hotel and langton Rise would have been further along the line, nearer to Honor Oak Station.

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Triangle


Posts: 133
Joined: May 2007
Post: #5
27-06-2008 03:53 PM

Further to my last reply, the map in the linked article clearly shows the position of Lordship Lane Station. It would also suggest that the Triangle is actually in the background of the painting, more behind the station building, rather than in the forground.

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scipio


Posts: 49
Joined: May 2005
Post: #6
27-06-2008 05:46 PM

Vipes & Triangle - Re Pissarro's painting of Lordship Lane Railway Station & the linked 1930s map of the area, the green area to the right of the Railway Station is not the site of the Horniman Triangle Play Park which is hidden from view. Pissarro has painted the hedge that ran down Sydenham Hill to the Railway Station at the foot of he hill. The Horniman Triangle site is located further to the right of this hedge. Past the Railway Station to its right are some London Road houses which were still lived in when Frederick Horniman moved into the area. If you look at the Forest Hill & Sydenham book referred to in Local Books section, there are 2 old photos of the Horniman Triangle taken looking downhill from the Sydenham Hill & Sydenham Rise junction.

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SouthLondoner


Posts: 13
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #7
28-06-2008 12:06 AM

Those interested in the old Crystal Palace High Level line might be interested in these old photos of Lordship Lane Station:

http://www.subbrit.org.uk/sb-sites/stati...dex1.shtml

http://www.subbrit.org.uk/sb-sites/stati...dex2.shtml

http://www.subbrit.org.uk/sb-sites/stati...dex7.shtml

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vipes


Posts: 145
Joined: Oct 2006
Post: #8
13-12-2008 09:33 AM

Noticed this commentary on Pissaro's painting from last Staurday's Guardian as discussed in earlier posts:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Pissa...rdship.jpg

Julia Neuberger on Camille Pissarro's Lordship Lane Station, Dulwich (1871)

This painting reminds me of my time as rabbi at South London Liberal Synagogue. Though the station no longer exists - it was part of the old Crystal Place high-level railway, serving the crowds who went to see the Crystal Palace exhibition centre in Sydenham - there are many just like it stretching from Herne Hill to Honor Oak and all stations south-east. Pissarro has evoked brilliantly the spread of suburban London. There was huge demand in the 1870s and 80s for respectable housing for clerks who hurried into London every day on the railway. They wanted all mod cons - and they got them, in row after row of identical red-brick houses. The painting shows the houses sketchily, narrow and dark, with little differentiating one from another.

If you walk up and down those same streets of Sydenham and east Dulwich now, only the different names of the identical houses stand out - Mapledene and Ashhurst, Rose Cottage and Oak Lodge - as well as the subtle differences in the stained glass in the front doors. No doubt these "differences" were meant to make their owners and renters feel that they were getting something "unique", rather as all apartments are described as "luxury" these days. But the careful attention to detail in these touches contrasts surprisingly with the fact that many of these houses were poorly built - put up in a hurry in the face of demand and the developers' desire to get rich quick. So it is all too easy to "unbuild" great chunks of them even now, because the bricklaying left something to be desired, or, faced with plumbing problems, present-day owners often find they have no individual connections from their houses to the mains in the streets, with the sewers running in under one house and out under its neighbour, an economy on the developers' part that has caused owners a century or more later innumerable headaches.

Of course Pissarro did not paint this explicitly. But the spread of red-brick terraces, with a train puffing through them, displays no obvious painterly delight - the tone is somewhat dark, and the recognition that open land is going to disappear is already there in the lack of detail in the grass and scrub, apart from the trees to the left of the railway line. But why should Pissarro have wanted to live in an area of London that was even then distinctly unfashionable, though respectable? He had left Paris during the Franco-Prussian war (1870-71) for safety. He was a well-travelled man - born in Danish St Thomas in the West Indies, speaking French at home, English, and Spanish with the native population, and presumably some Danish as well. At the age of 12, he had been sent to a small boarding school in Paris, where his artistic talents were spotted, and when his parents would not give him permission to study painting properly, he ran away with the Danish painter Fritz Melbye, describing it as "bolting to Caracas" to get away from bourgeois life.

His parents were hardly figures of the haute bourgeoisie themselves. His father had arrived from France to sort out his uncle's widow's estate - and begun a liaison with her. She became pregnant; they wanted to marry, but the elders of the synagogue would not let them and did not recognise their marriage till eight years later. It put Pissarro senior off religion for life. And that would fit with Camille Pissarro's own rebellion and unwillingness to be bound by the rules. He had nothing to do with the salons of the French artistic establishment, and was the only artist to exhibit at all eight impressionist shows. An atheist, he married his Catholic wife in a civil ceremony.

So here is an anti-establishment figure, looking at the spread of London, home of the empire and capitalism, southwards and eastwards. For someone who hated the bourgeoisie, these suburbs epitomised it. He rebelled against the "development" he saw, painting it darkly, with the train rushing though. The impermanence and speed of life is here, as is his life of constant change, always on the move. I look at this painting and see a man shocked by the spread of London's tentacles, saddened at the loss of green spaces, seeing darkness envelope a district formerly filled with light. But when he became a grand old man in his 70s, finally recognised as a real master, he might have painted this differently, in glowing colours. So I am eternally grateful that he painted it early in his career, and we can see someone looking at London, an outsider, and expressing his doubts at "progress".

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Toffeejim


Posts: 84
Joined: Nov 2004
Post: #9
13-12-2008 11:00 AM

I think Julia Neuberger is guilty some some over-interpretation here. Firstly the picture is clearly painted in the autumn or winter which accounts for the lighting and the lack of foliage. It's important to remember that he painted the year round and for an impressionist living in London that means you're going to see a higher quotient of darkly lit pictures than somebody who was painting in the south of France - in fact I think it's a subtle and well-realised exercise on light and the composition very successfully blends, for instance, the steam from the engine with the cloud cover. As for the scrub, it's delightfully realised and in significantly more detail than most of Pisarro's other work executed locally in the same period.

The thing that's always confused me in this picture is the topography. Was he being a little free in his interpretation or can it be tied in to the lie of the land or housing today? Presumably the hill up to the right is the site of the current "gated estate" on the hill (what would this critic of the bourgeoisie have made of that by the way?) but can anybody identify the lie of the land in more detail or any individual houses that still stand?

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michael


Posts: 3,216
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #10
13-12-2008 11:28 AM

Inspired by Vipes post I have been doing a little research this morning and I found an article from the Independent, here:

Independent on Sunday - 13 July 2003 Wrote:
...the site of Pissarro's most famous London painting has altered beyond recognition. Lordship Lane Station was painted from a railway footbridge on Sydenham Hill. The bridge remains, but the tracks have gone, and the cutting has become a forest. In the painting, you can see for miles. Now you can barely see from one side of the footbridge to the other.


This would suggest that you can still stand where Pissarro stood on the footbridge in Sydenham Hill Woods, looking towards Dulwich.

I think Pissarro was as bourgeois as any other residents of the fashionable smart new suburbs of London. His big regret seems to have been that he did not have enough money to live in a bigger house in London.

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michael


Posts: 3,216
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #11
13-12-2008 11:38 AM

A little more from Steve Grindlay over on Sydenham Town Forum:

Steve Wrote:
The artist was standing on the Cox's Walk footbridge, looking north. The hill in the distance, on the right, is now Horniman Gardens. On the left, between the tree and the double-gabled red brick building, part of Wood Vale winds into the distance. I'm fairly sure that the double-gabled building, on Lordship Lane between Wood Vale and Underhill Road, is the only building in this picture that still survives.

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scipio


Posts: 49
Joined: May 2005
Post: #12
14-12-2008 01:15 PM

During his brief stay in South East London, Pissarro spend some time painting in our local area. Following one of his best known works popping up again on this thread, a small group of local people are developing the Pissarro Walking Route Guide. More details will be published later. Please PM me if you want to participate in this initiative.

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scipio


Posts: 49
Joined: May 2005
Post: #13
20-12-2008 11:04 AM

Newsflash for fans of Pissarro and local history enthusiasts. Tomorrow morning there is a guided walk around the local nature reserve adjacent to Sydenham Hill i.e. the area to the left of Pissarro?s painting of Lordship Lane Station. This has been organised by the London Wildlife Trust who manage the woodland. Meet at the Crescent Wood Road entrance for 10.30am set-off. The walk will be followed by a ?tree-dressing? Easy walking for all the family.

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roz


Posts: 1,793
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #14
20-12-2008 12:42 PM

Hi- I don't suppose this route is buggy friendly? I suspect not but thought I'd ask in any case! Thanks for posting about this.

I quite fancy buying a print of this scene. Anyone know where this can be purchased?

Cheers

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stevegrindlay


Posts: 104
Joined: Oct 2006
Post: #15
20-12-2008 03:24 PM

The original is on display at the Courtauld Institute Galleries in the Strand; I imagine you could buy a copy from them.


For a random selection of items on local history visit my blog at:
http://sydenhamforesthillhistory.blogspot.com/
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billham


Posts: 115
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #16
20-12-2008 03:59 PM
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scipio


Posts: 49
Joined: May 2005
Post: #17
21-12-2008 12:34 AM

A print costing only ?1.98 of Pissarro's painting of Lordship Lane Station could make a very good Christmas present for a local Forest Hiller if Roz doesn't buy it first. Sounds like a bargain.

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scipio


Posts: 49
Joined: May 2005
Post: #18
21-12-2008 01:47 AM

Yes the route is along the buggy friendly paths through Sydenham Hill Wood. Unfortunately though there is confusion over the correct meeting point. I quoted the start quoted in the Southwark News publicity for the event. But London Wildlife Trust?s own website gives the start as the bottom of Cox?s Walk i.e. opposite the Harvester at Dulwich Common. Maybe opt for going into the wood via its Crescent Wood Road entrance and look out for the other walkers as they head up the slope from Cox?s Walk to join in the tree-dressing?

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Albion71


Posts: 1
Joined: Dec 2008
Post: #19
31-12-2008 12:43 PM

This painting is a lovely bit of local history for Forest Hillers.

I have a particular interest as the location of my flat is on the left side of the picture in the foreground, and the footbridge where he painted it from is about 50 yards away.

Shame to have missed the walk on 21.12.08, but will keep an eye out for similar outings.

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scipio


Posts: 49
Joined: May 2005
Post: #20
16-09-2009 12:38 PM

There is an opportunity this Sunday to visit the exact spot from which Pissarro painted the view down to Lordship Lane Railway Station. See Beyond SE23/Green Chain Walking Festival.

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