George's Plaice, Roman Rd - painted on location

Eleanor Crow’s Roman Road shopfront illustrations

Eleanor Crow’s East London shopfront illustrations capture the spirit of some of our most loved shopfronts in the Roman Road area.

Having worked as a graphic designer for years, Crow became fascinated with the shop fronts and buildings she would see everyday on her bus and cycle routes.

As much as possible, Crow paints in real-time, finding a place to perch outside the building. If there is too much traffic in the road or nowhere to sit, she will take a photograph and finish the painting at home.

Crow explains, ‘Sometimes, with photographs, it is so much harder to capture the image, so I use a slight bit of artistic license here and there, just to reflect the beauty of the colours and details that attracted me to the building in the first place.’

Crow prefers to arrive at the location early in the morning to catch the right light, before its gets busy. The tools of her trade? Windsor & Newton travel watercolours and Fabriano paper.

All of her work is done with brush strokes – Crow never uses pens or pencils. She doesn’t retouch her work, but instead finishes the lettering at her studio to avoid making mistakes.

The East End has always been an inspiration for Crow, she says ‘I find it captivation that there are so many small traders, independent businesses and people making something out of nothing in such an intense urban area.’

The detailing and lettering of old shop fronts and businesses are what appeals her to the most about these buildings in the East End. ‘They are unlike anywhere else,’ she explains.

Her favourite illustration so far? Pellicci’s in Bethnal Green. Head to her website to see why.

After a successful exhibition at the Walthamstow Village Window Gallery in October 2016 of 100 illustrations, we look forward to seeing more – maybe of our lovely shops on Roman Road. Watch this space.

Victoria Fish Bar, Roman Road – painted on location
Illustration of G Kelly's
G Kelly, Roman Road – painted from a photograph because of traffic


Illustration of George's Plaice
George’s Plaice, Roman Rd – painted on location
Illustration Billy Bunter's
Billy Bunters, Mile End Rd – painted on location


Illustration of the chemist on Vallance Road
Chemist, Vallance Road – painted on location


Daren Bread, Stepney Green – painted from a photograph as it is now someone’s house


Illustration of Downey Brothers
Downey Brothers, Globe Town – painted on location


Illustration of Rinkoffs, Valance Road
Rinkoffs, Vallance Road – painted on location


Illustration of The Fish Plaice
The Fish Plaice, Cambridge Heath Road – painted from a photograph because there was nowhere to sit


If you liked these, you may enjoy Colourful characters of Roman Road.


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