When the Old Masters Are Taken to the Streets: Dulwich Outdoor Gallery

In 2013 street artists from all over the world were invited to Dulwich, an area in South London, for the Dulwich Festival. The artists visited the Dulwich Picture Gallery, one of the area’s main attractions, and were encouraged to recreate paintings from the Baroque period by the Old Masters on display in the gallery. This was the start of an entirely new art gallery, the Dulwich Outdoor Gallery. Most of these artworks are still out there. In fact, the collection of the street artworks is still growing.

After my earlier street art explorations in Camden, Brockley and Walthamstow, I made my way to yet another area in London I was previously unfamiliar with. At least the expanding London street art scene has made me discover new territories!
I went to Dulwich one late afternoon last December and I reached some locations in the dark so unfortunately couldn’t take good photos of all the artworks.

In this post you can see the street artworks next to the original paintings. Click on the images below to see bigger versions. To read more about the paintings that inspired the street artists, simply click on the images of the paintings.

I started my walking tour at East Dulwich station and finished 2.5 hours later at Herne Hill station. I used this online map to find the locations. The map also gives you a short description of all the street artworks. I found most of the works, but due to the darkness and cold, I couldn’t finish the entire art trail. That’s why I’ll try to re-visit the Dulwich Outdoor Gallery and join the guided street art walk on Saturday 14 May during this year’s edition of the Dulwich Festival. Hope to catch you there as well then!

1. Remi Rough and System (2013)

Where: Vale End, right opposite of East Dulwich station
What: Based on ‘A Girl at a Window’ by Rembrandt van Rijn (1645).

Artist link here.

2. Conor Harrington (2013)

This piece was my main reason for travelling to Dulwich. I’m a big fan of this fantastic artist and had seen many photos of this mural on social media over the last years. Seeing this artwork in real life was definitely worth the trip!

Where: Spurling Road, opposite the East Dulwich Tavern
What: This is quite an odd work in the outdoor gallery collection as it’s not based on a specific painting. There is a vague connection because it so happens to be that the characters that re-appear in all of Harrington’s works are from the Regency era (1811-1820), which is the same time as when the Dulwich Picture Gallery opened.

Artist link here.

Conor-Harrington-Dulwich-Outdoor-Gallery

3. Faith47 (2014)

This is another legendary artist. It was quite a detour to see this mural in an uninspiring and mostly residential neighbourhood, but obviously I couldn’t leave Dulwich without seeing this work!

Where: 197 Consort Road
What: Based on ‘Europa and the Bull’ by Guido Reni (c. 1640).

Artist link here.

4. Pablo Delgado

It always gives me a great feeling of accomplishment to find the tiny artworks by Pablo Delgado as it’s very easy to miss these. It’s very comical photographing his works in the streets as people just stare at me and wonder why I’m almost laying flat on the pavement. Unlike the (spray-)painted artworks, Delgado’s tiny paste-ups don’t last very long.

Where: On the corner of Grove Vale/Coppleston Road. Look out for a small paste-up at the base of the white wall and on the pavement!
What: Based on a mash-up of ‘The Nurture of Jupiter’ by Nicolas Poussin (c.1636-7) and ‘Princess Victoria aged Four’ by Stephen Poyntz Denning (1823).

More info on the artist here.

Where: Various locations
What: Small paste-ups at ground level. Mixture of details from Dulwich Picture Gallery paintings.

5. Stik (2012)

Where: Hansler Road on the side of Property Inn
What: Based on ‘A Couple in a Landscape’ by Thomas Gainsborough (c. 1753).

Artist link here.

Stik (2012)

Where: In Blackwater Court on Push Studios
What: Based on ‘The Guardian Angel’ by Marcantonio Franceschini (1716).

Stik (2012)

Where: 184 Court Lane, a residential home and difficult to access. By the time I reached this artwork it was dark and therefore I couldn’t take a very clear photo. There are more artworks on private buildings in this street. They aren’t very well lit so I recommend going there in daylight.
What: Based on ‘Elizabeth and Mary Linley’ (1772) by Thomas Gainsborough.

Stik

Where: Court Lane


What: After ‘Eliza and Mary Davidson’ by Tilly Kettle (c. 1784).

6. Phlegm (2013)

Phlegm is another artist I admire and I wrote about his works on my blog before. You can read the previous article here.

Where: On the corner of Barry Road and Goodrich Road
What: Based on ‘The Triumph of David’ by Nicholas Poussin (c. 1631-33). See RUN’s interpretation of the same painting above.

Artist link here.

Phlegm (2015)

Where: Herne Hill
What: Based on ‘Bond of Union’ by M.C. Escher (1956), part of the temporary exhibition at Dulwich Picture Gallery The Amazing World of M. C. Escher (closed 17 January).

7. Mad C (2015)

Where: In the car park of the Plough Inn
What: Based on ‘Venetia, Lady Digby, on her Deathbed’ by Sir Anthony van Dyck (1633). You can see that while the woman is painted in an abstract way, Mad C kept the roses realistic.

Artist link here.

8. Mear One (2013)

Where: Side of The Lordship Pub, corner of Lordship Lane and Pellet Road. Note that the online map mentions another name. That’s why it took me a few minutes to find this mural, despite its enormous size.
What: Based on ‘The Virgin on the Rosary’ by Bartolomé Estéban Murillo (c. 1765-1760).

Artist link here.

9. RUN (2014)

Where: On the hoardings in front of The Crown and Greyhound pub
What: Based on ‘The Triumph of David’ by Nicholas Poussin  (c. 1631-33).

Artist link here.

10. Beerens (2013)

Where: 150 Court Lane
What: Based on ‘Three Boys’ by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (c. 1670). It might be a bit difficult to immediately see the relationship between the street artworks and painting so here’s part of the description by Dulwich Outdoor Gallery. The three boys in the painting are represented by three sheep, painted on houses on 175, 177 and 150 Court Lane. The sheep on number 175 is black and hungry, looking longingly at the white sheep eating lush grass opposite him. The sheep on number 150 is sly. It has a fox’s tail.

 11. Various artists

Where: The shop Mrs Robinson, on the corner of Blackwater Street
What: A selection of famous street artists, but not all of them created works that are linked to the paintings in the Dulwich Picture Gallery. Right on top of the shop (far left on the photo) you can see one of Christiaan Nagel‘s mushrooms.

Christiaan-Nagel-Agent-Provocateur-Dulwich-street-art

The only artwork in this street that is based on a classical painting is Michael Beerens‘ work below which is based on ‘Saint Sebastian’ by Antonio Bellucci (1716-18).

Portrait of film director Alfred Hitchcock by Agent Provocateur.

Agent-Provocateur-Dulwich-street-art

Collaboration between Dscreet (the ‘owl man’) and Ghost Patrol.

Dscreet-Ghost-Patrol-Dulwich-street-art

12. Christiaan Nagel

Where: Above Franklins Farm Shop on 155 Lordship Lane.
What: I’ve been thinking about this for a while, but failed to find a relationship between the Nagel’s mushrooms and the Old Masters. Suggestions, anyone?

Christiaan-Nagel-Dulwich-street-art-Franklins